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News/Events - Meeting Minutes
Advisory Committee, January 5, 2006
JANUARY 5, 2006
MEMBERS PRESENT: Wendy Ballinger, Chairman; Kathy Donahue; Constantine Constantinides; David Grace; Joe Armstrong; Lisa Fenton; Paul Lemieux; Tony Vegnani; Kevin Sparks.
1.CALL TO ORDER. Chairman Wendy Ballinger called the meeting to order at 7:05 P.M. in the Scituate Town Library.
2. ACCEPTANCE OF AGENDA. On a MOTION by Mr. Constantinides, SECONDED by Mr. Armstrong, the agenda was accepted as written by unanimous vote (9-0).
3. REVIEW OF MUNICIPAL DEPARTMENT BUDGETS. On a MOTION by Mr. Grace, SECONDED by Mr. Armstrong, the committee voted unanimously (9-0) to take the agenda out of order, and begin with Dept. 541 Council on Aging.
Dept. 541 Council on Aging. Ms. Fenton said that this budget is estimated to increase by 6 percent, taking into account anticipated increases in utility and fuel costs, and salary increases. Mr. Constantinides asked about line 5191 Other Salaries and about shuttle bus drivers. Mr. Armstrong asked about the requested reclassification of the program coordinator. Ms. Wright said that they work with 22 percent of the Town’s population. Ms. Ballinger reminded members and those attending the meeting that the committee has agreed to hold votes until after the Selectmen vote.
Dept. 543 Veterans. Mr. Agnew said that it is state law to have a veteran’s agent. There were no questions.
Dept. 549 Commission on Disabilities. This budget remains the same as last year. Ms. Tobin said that the Commission helps support the Council on Aging in running its vans. Mr. Agnew pointed out that in order to be eligible for grants the budget must remain the same from year to year. Ms. Tobin said that handicapped parking fines can be used by the Commission to make areas of Town more accessible. She also said that the Commission reviews plans submitted by the Planning Board and looks into citizen complaints.
Dept. 400 Department of Public Works. Mr. Sparks gave an overview of the DPW budget, which as proposed is 6 percent higher than the 2006 budget figure; due mostly to increases in the Regular Salary portion of the budget and increases in the natural gas and fuel budgets. He also noted that it is likely that the electricity budget has not been increased enough to reflect the current market conditions. Mr. Constantinides asked about line 5245 Vehicle Service, where are the vehicles serviced. Mr. Armstrong asked about line 5190 Seasonal Salaries. Mr. Grace asked about line 5389 interdepartmental charges; Mr. Agnew said that this is for police details. Ms. Donahue asked about line 5172 sick leave buyback. She asked if the DPW is doing anything to be more environmentally proactive. Mr. Antoniello said that storm water management is being increased. Ms. Fenton asked about line 5271 equipment rentals. She also asked about hazardous waste collection; Mr. Agnew said there is nothing in the budget for this in 2007; people take it elsewhere or to the transfer station where it is stored. There was a discussion about this matter. The Selectmen are looking at adding this to the Transfer Station Enterprise Fund budget.
Dept. 423 Snow and Ice. This budget has decreased by $1000 from FY06. Last year over $900,000 was expended. There were no questions.
Dept. 424 Street Lights and Beacons. This budget is level funded. Mr. Sparks noted that it is probably underfunded considering the recent increases in electricity rates. Mr. Agnew said he will take another look at this. Ms. Donahue asked that the Electric Company ensure that we are using the most cost effective bulbs possible.
Dept. 510 Health. The proposed budget increase is 1.7 percent. This department has again requested additional staff and space. They have requested 15 additional hours per week for clerical help and 15 hours for inspections. Ms. Donahue asked about the public buildings committee and whether recommendations might be available by May; Mr. Lane indicated that more people would be needed in order to meet that deadline. Mr. Vegnani asked about the 140 restaurant inspections that have to be done per year. He also asked about whether the cable fund could be used to purchase needed equipment. Ms. Sullivan spoke about hazardous waste disposal. Mr. Constantinides asked about who sets the permit fees. Ms. Fenton said data input to the GIS system is needed but there is no one available to do this at the moment; she said that perhaps an intern or student could be trained to do this. Mr. Grace said that high school students might be willing to do this for community service.
Dept. 610 Library. This budget shows an increase of 3.7 percent over the FY06 budget. Ms. Meeker said line 5241 office machine maintenance includes a three hour per week IT contract at $65 per hour; this person gave around 100 hours of volunteer service before that. She said the PCs are not on a server, there are 25 of them and are dealt with one unit at a time. She said most of the equipment works on the same operating system now. Regarding sharing an IT person with Town Hall, she said that this would be nice but that they have done fairly well keeping their equipment up and running with the contract person they are using. She said that state funding for telecommunications was cut from millions to about $30,000 but it appears that some funding is being reinstated. She said they get about $19,000 in state aid, and they try to spend it on books; they have to show they have spent 15 percent of their money on books and materials. Mr. Armstrong asked about if they have any requests for the cable fund, which is going to be renegotiated shortly; she said her written request has been lost but that they have made a request.
Dept. 630 Recreation. The proposed budget is 2.2 percent over the FY06 appropriation. Ms. Vitelli said full time IT support is very much needed in Town. There was a brief discussion about this.
Dept. 650 Beautification. This budget is increased by 1.8 percent over last year’s budget; expenditures are for equipment and supplies, all staff is volunteer. Ms. Donahue asked about Harbor window boxes; the response was that they are offered to all businesses; she suggested that this be better publicized. Mr. Constantinides asked whether they would be involved with the Scituate Marine Park.
Dept. 691 Historical. Mr. Armstrong said that MBTA remediation and CPC funds are available, which is why the Town Administrator has reduced the budget. Ms. Ballinger gave an overview of the result of the Selectmen’s meeting during which the budget was actually reduced to $3000, with the remainder of funds to come from MBTA remediation. There was a discussion about the cost of the doors for the lighthouse. Ms. Donahue asked for backup for such expenditures. She also asked about the rent on the Mann House, and said the tenant was conducting business from there; and she asked to see a five year plan. Mr. Grace said that an Eagle Scout project is being done on the Mann House.
Dept. 720 Debt and Interest. Mr. Lemieux gave an overview. Line 5910 Long Term Principal the $527,649 increase is primarily from the $10 million School Construction Bond that was placed in September 2005. Line 5915 Long Term Interest The increase of $123,564 also stems primarily from the interest due on the $10 million School Construction Bond. Line 5935 Short Term Interest: the interest of $140,000 represents short term borrowing for the balance of the FY06 Capital Plan at a rate of 4.5 percent. Short term interest includes a reduction of $309,568, which represented encumbrances from previous years’ debt exclusions for the school construction. Mr. Lemieux said that in spring 2007 the Treasurer and Town Accountant will make an evaluation to convert all of the existing debt for the 2006 and 2007 capital plans to long-term financing by the end of FY07. This has been delayed a year because administrative cost will run between $70-80,000 per bond placement. Mr. Donlan said that Scituate is in the top 18 percent of all towns with a rating from Moody’s of Aa3. He said that some of the Enterprise Funds are coming offline. Mr. Vegnani asked if rates might go up considerably in a year. Mr. Donlan said that they have been stable so far, and explained the reasoning for waiting a year. Mr. Grace asked for details about the items coming offline referred to previously.
4. OLD BUSINESS. There was no old business to conduct at this time.
5. NEW BUSINESS. Ms. Ballinger went over the proposed list of articles and who will be writing them up for the Town Meeting book. Ms. Donahue said that she would like to hear about revenues without having to ask every time. She also said that credit should be given when grants are applied for and received. Mr. Constantinides said that grant money is available from the state to the Historical Society and they should apply for grants to supplement CPC money. Ms. Donahue said the Town could have applied for grants for the SMP but missed the November deadline.
6. A MOTION to adjourn the meeting was made by Mr. Vegnani, the motion was SECONDED by Mr. Constantinides, all were in favor and the meeting was ADJOURNED at 9:10 P.M.
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