HOLDEN BOARD OF SELECTMEN
SEPTEMBER 11, 2006
7:00 PM Selectmens Meeting Room
Present: Chairman David J. White, James M. Jumonville (arrived 7:10PM), Kenneth OBrien, Joseph G. Sullivan, Kimberly N. Ferguson
Others Present: Brian J. Bullock, Town Manager, Jacquie Kelly, Assistant Town Manager, Elizabeth Helder, Recording Secretary
Chairman White opened the meeting at 7:05 PM.
Moment of Silence
The Board participated in a moment of silence to honor those affected by the events of September 11, 2001.
Discussion of FY08 Budget Goals
Chairman White asked each Board member to discuss their municipal goals for the upcoming FY08 budget.
Sel. Ferguson discussed: (1) The ongoing need to monitor street resurfacing and the sidewalk expansion program; (2) The need to provide adequate funding for the IT Department; (3) Staffing at the Fire Department; (4) The FY08 budget; (5) A conclusion to the Rice School property; (6) Possible program funding for the Holden Tomorrow (Comprehensive Planning Committee); and (7) A resolution for the Public Safety Building.
Sel. Jumonville discussed: (1) Funding the FY08 Budget under the limits of Prop. 2 ½; (2) Solid Waste Recycling Program; (3) Sewer Transport Rate; (4) The disposition of Rice School; and (5) possible costs for the Memorial Day Parade.
Sel. OBrien discussed: (1) Increasing road paving (possibly offsetting costs with Ch. 90 money); (2) Sidewalk expansion plan; (3) Bridge work; (4) Money to update/upgrade out-of-date equipment at the Fire Department (possible creation of a Fire Department Depreciation Fund); (5) Hiring a full-time grant writer; (6) The addition of an Engineering headcount at the DPW; (7) Establishment of a program to get away from short-term power contracts; (8) Completion of Rice School project; (9) Installation of signs to the entrances into Holden; (10) Monitoring and cutting costs of the legal budget; (11) Staffing at the Fire Department; (12) Taking ambulance service in-house; (13) Increasing Senior Tax Abatements; (14) Evaluation of a long-range plan for State and Federal priorities; (15) Development of a plan to stave off water/sewer increases; (16).
Involvement of the administration with the School District/Superintendent in a cooperative manner; (17) The addition of an affordable housing element in new subdivisions; (18) An increase in funding at the Library to increase operating hours; and (19) A resolution of the Public Safety Building.
Sel. Sullivan discussed: (1) The level funding of the FY08 budget with a stable and repeatable split between the towns and the school district; (2) Creating flexibility within the tax levy (must be a unanimous vote of the Board); (3) Increased use and implementation of the IT department; (4) Health insurance and GASB #45 challenge; (5) Development of a fun money program (use of one-time revenues); and (6) Clarification of the public utility monthly billing process. Sel. Sullivan also suggested hiring a Grant Writer on a contract or commission basis.
Chairman White discussed: (1) A plan for the use of one-time revenues; (2) Implementation of a town wide newsletter (solicit a committee through light department billing); (3) Funding the budget within or below the tax levy; (4) Succession plans for all major departments; (5) Conducting exit interviews with employees (either receiving feedback or participating in the process); and (6) The formation of a new Public Safety Facility Committee.
The Chairman said he felt that the budget should be developed on less than 2 ½%. Sel. Sullivan suggested that a certain amount of new growth be set aside and placed in reserve. Sel. OBrien said that the town needed to catch up on basic road paving and library staffing and did not see how the town could not tax to the full levy limit without cutting programs. Sel. White suggested that the Manager should be directed to set aside a specific percentage of excess levy capacity when planning the budget. Sel. Ferguson commented that the Manager should develop the budget based on their budget goals and then return to the Board to say what can and cant be accomplished under 2½%.
Motion by Sel. Sullivan, seconded by Sel. Ferguson, it was UNANIMOUSLY VOTED TO DIRECT THE MANAGER TO DEVELOP A FY 08 BUDGET THAT ALLOWS FOR EXCESS LEVY CAPACITY IN AN UNDEFINED AMOUNT.
The Board discussed a long-term plan in the event that the Rice School development deal with the RFP contractor fails and the town needs to dispose of the building. The Manager said that costs to raze the building and landscape it into green space would come above the limits of Prop. 2 ½. The Board agreed to revisit a fallback plan developed by the Manager in December.
The Manager said that the new Fire Chief would address Fire Department staffing issues and long-term strategic planning. The Board discussed the need for creative staffing and a development plan for On-Call Firefighters. The Manager commented that while there might be a need, a depreciation fund for the Fire Department would be difficult to jumpstart.
The Board discussed a budget for a new Public Safety Committee. This budget would allow for architectural and design fees.
The Board discussed the implementation of a town newsletter. They directed the Manager to form a charge to allow the Board to seek volunteers to serve on a committee. This action would be solicited through a mailing at the Light Department. The newsletter would include factual Depart-mental Town information, Save the Date information, and Committee openings. It would not be used for residents to write personal articles. Chairman White suggested the possibility that the town seek to hire an intern from a local college to write the newsletter. The Board discussed the distribution of the newsletter. Assistant Town Manager Kelly informed the Board that when the new town website is up and running, residents will have the ability to sign-up for minutes, news releases updates, and information respective to town activities through a confidential
Motion by Sel. Sullivan, seconded by Sel. Ferguson, it was UNANIMOUSLY VOTED TO ADJOURN THE SEPTEMBER 11, 2006 MEETING AT 8:50 PM.
Approved: Sept. 18, 2006 as amended