Finance Board / Selectboard Budget Meeting Minutes 03/25/2019

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Town of Otis

Finance Board/Selectboard Budget Meeting

March 25, 2019

Town Hall Conference Room


Present:           Don Hawley, Bill Hiller, Gary Thomas, Becky Stone, Terry Gould, Michael Ernst, Walt Engels via cell phone (remote participation)


Also Present:  Karen Fink, Sonia Morrison


Meeting called to order at 7:00 pm and is being recorded.

Purpose:          Review Budget proposals for Fiscal Year 2020


Karen Fink was in attendance to discuss borrowing money for various capital expense items.  Right now we have $1.5 Million for broadband that has to be converted to a bond this calendar year.  She has also borrowed for the backhoe and the truck.  These can either be paid down or rolled into the broadband bond.  This would leave two articles for the annual town warrant, one for long term debts and one for short term debts.  The roads list for this year is our main issue.  Karen suggested we get a separate BAN (bond anticipation note) to roll in the road work and the grader together.  We can pay this down during the period the BAN is in force.  Karen would like a list of what the two Boards are considering for borrowing so she can speak with the people that handle this and give us some figures back on the proposals.  This research will not lock us into anything.


MLP Budget:  Bill handed out his proposed MLP Budget.  PURMA is listed as the insurance carrier and will cover everything.  Bill explained that MIIA proposed $9,000 for the turbine and $15,000 for the broadband and PURMA proposed $8,400 per year for both with a lower deductible.  The Accounting is being done by Karen and Margaret through QuickBooks.  The last budget item of $1000 is for legal expenses and Scanlon does not audit MLPs, so we have to find another auditor.  Total expenses is $461,994 and anticipated net income is $185,000.  These figures are for both wind and fiber.  Solar is not part of the MLP budget.  Walter asked about the money we are supposed to put back in for refurbishing.  Once everyone understood what Walter was asking about, Terry and Michael noted that money had already been paid upfront and we don’t have to take care of that anymore.  The MLP budget was successfully reviewed.


Tasers and BodyCams:  Jeremia is okay with the tasers but not the bodycams.  He feels this can hurt us as well as help us, especially with FOIA requests and interpretations.


Pg 58  #610  Library:  The Library submitted a narrative from their technician and our Tech guy said the quote from Library’s technician is rather excessive, so our IT guy will review, price out and propose an alternate scope of work.


Bill noted he can’t be here for the Town Administrator discussion and the results of that affect the Board of Selectmen budget.  So all that’s left to discuss is Capital Expenses.

Becky noted Heather’s title is Administrative Assistant and has been that for the last five years.  It just has not been changed in SoftRight.


Capital Expenses:  Per Don, the bottom four payments have to be paid out of Free Cash this year.  That comes to $353,097 for this year and we should not bring Free Cash below $250,000.  That leaves us with about $380,657 left to spend, which isn’t enough to pay for a new grader.  Window shades for Town Hall, gutters for the Library, and the Police Evidence room downstairs will be taken out of this year’s budget.  We need a real number for Harmony Hall repairs so we can present this at the Town Meeting.  WWTP paving and Tyringham Road will be done this year.  Bill suggested we look at several items and present them to Karen to get prospective BAN numbers on approximately $750,000.  When we get the money back from the Clean Energy Grant that has to go into Stabilization because the money we already put into Stabilization was not worded correctly to recognize that the previous deposits were to pay back the Clean Energy Fund.  MLP can only be financed by their own borrowing or their own revenue – they cannot be financed by the town.  With the new Safety Complex coming down the road in the future, that could be about two million dollars that needs to be borrowed.  Don suggested we ask Derek if the new grader or the roads are more important to him.  Michael would like to have him come in on Wednesday to discuss.


Terry, Becky, and Bill noted that we are within reason from last year’s approved budget but the figures from the five remaining budgets may be a huge addition.  Paving for the Waste Water and Town Hall are not going to be done this year.  Tyringham Road, the new grader, and the Fire Alarms are on the “To Do” list.


Accounts still needing approval:


Pg 1    #122  Board of Selectmen:  SKIPPED – awaiting decision on Selectmen’s Secretary.

Pg 3    #123  Town Administrator:  SKIPPED – needs salary discussion.

Pg 26  #210  Police:  SKIPPED – waiting for clarification on Training.

Pg 58  #610  Library:  SKIPPED – need clarification on Technology line item.

Pg 60  #630  Recreation:  SKIPPED – will be reviewed further if cuts need to be made.


The boards still need to meet again with Jim, Keith, and Derek to continue discussion of the Safety Department.  Wednesday March 27, 2019 is the next posted meeting.


Meeting adjourned at 8:24 pm.


Respectfully Submitted,

Lisa D’Orazio

Selectmen’s Secretary

Town of Otis


List of Documents


  1. A copy of the presented MLP Budget will be filed with these meeting minutes.