Attending the meeting; Jon Trefry, Andrea Morgante, Ken Brown, Howard Russell, Jeanne Wilson, Missy Ross, John Lyman, Doug Olufsen, Al Barber, Alex Weinhagen, Chris Morrell, Fred Silber, Frank Koss, Brad Wainer, Marie Gardner, Frank Twarog, Rich Armstrong, Ed Waite, Stewart Pierson.
Meeting called to order at 7:00 p.m.
Missy Ross reviewed with the Board the Town Clerk / Treasurer proposed budget. Howard asked about the records restoration line. Missy explained that the State mandates $1.00 of each recording fee go toward restoration. The reserve fund currently has $24,200. All agreed to remove the $3500 request and enter $0.
The BCA proposed budget will be level funded.
Elections will decrease as it will be an off election year.
Delinquent Tax Collector budget was increased from $500 to $700 in the postage line.
Auditors – Jeanne discussed with the Board the idea of eliminating the elected auditor position and incorporating the audit costs into the Town Administrator budget.
Missy pointed out that we may still need to do a single audit, Jeanne agreed saying if the Rec path goes to construction in the spring it will trigger a single audit.
Will keep auditor budget separate for now.
Marie Gardner reviewed with the Board the Listers proposed budget.
Secretary salary is reduced to $16,640 which reflects the re-organization of staff, and retirement and health benefits are at zero as Marie does not qualify.
Professional Services are increased with the current contract.
Frank Twarog reviewed the Recreation Commission proposed budget with the Board.
Rec field maintenance is increased due to need for new soccer goals.
Jon asked about the level of participation in the youth programs as the school population decreases. Frank said they are not seeing any reduction.
Capital budget request for new field was increased from $5,000 to $10,000.
Police Dept proposed budget reviewed. Most significant change is request for full time equivalent officer. This is based on the MRI report, number of calls responded to per officer and the inability to schedule vacations and work around training and unplanned absences.
Jon asked if this would trigger increased transportation needs. Fred said it will not as there would not be more than 2 officers on duty at a given time. It could increase some patrol time and would fill the need for coverage to allow for vacation, comp time and training. Fred was asked if there are other options to making the time aspect manageable. Fred said he does not know how to lessen the burden as they are reacting to needed coverage.
Doug gave stats on number of calls per officer which are far above those recommended in the strategic plan.
Frank Koss said the Selectboard asked for the strategic plan. The benchmark of the plan has been met and surpassed and he feels if the request for the extra officer is not approved the plan becomes worthless. He believes the Board should support the request at Town Meeting based on the data and allow the residents to make the choice.
In the capital budget a request for $25,000 for in car cameras was discussed. Chris advised originally the legislature funded the cameras and he has no idea if the legislature will have money for this again. Currently the cameras are working and they could try to stretch the life for another year if they had to.
Added to the capital budget was $10,000 for mobile data terminals and $7,500 for new building planning.
Chris said Wayne Bisonette approached him about initiating a Citizen Hero Award for town people who in some way have put themselves out to help another person. Chris would like to see the award come from the Town and not just by the Police or Fire Departments. Jon agreed this could be done from the Town.
Alex reviewed with the Board the Planning and Zoning proposed budget. Alex highlighted the special projects they are looking at for the year. Howard asked if there are grants available for the Housing Needs Assessment project. Alex replied there are no available funding sources.
In personnel they initially planned to replace Holly’s 0.4 position with a 0.5 employee.
Revenue estimates have been lowered to reflect the current slow down in development. Howard asked if with the slow down there are things Alex can work on for catching up or perhaps work he can do that would otherwise be jobbed out?
Alex said he and Peter have discussed this and the Town is seeing value added time from staff on other than the development review process. Alex felt at some point the hours may be able to be scaled back, but they were not at that point yet.
Fire Warden – Ed removed the request for reimbursable as it had not been utilized for many years.
Fire – Brad updated the Board on Jonathan’s surgeries from injuries sustained fighting the Saputo fire. The Board was very glad to hear he is coming along well.
Al stated the department has run out of storage and new storage is not included in this proposed budget. The Selectboard asked that Al check with Rocky on his plans for the current shared storage space and return to the Board with any specific requests for this year’s and next year’s budget..
Al urged the Board to reconsider the time frame in the capital budget for the aerial truck.
John Lyman supports Al’s request as did Ed who said from a tactical view they could have attacked the Saputo fire in a better way.
Al also brought up combining all Town departments for fuel purchase to get better pricing.
Reviewed by the Board with Jeanne.
Animal Control – reduced salary and postage and removed mileage.
E911 – removed educational materials. Andrea asked about the possibility of inclusion of an E911 fee for a new building permit. Jeanne also asked if there is interest by the Board to include this in the Town Administrator budget.
Ken moved the Board vote to adjourn at 10:15 p.m., second by Howard and approved.
Valerie Spadaccini, secretary