JOINT BUDGET COMMITTEE AND SELECT BOARD MINUTES
November 16, 2017
Meeting called to order at 6:30 pm by Beth Downs.
Beth Downs, Chair; Michael James; Claire James; Chris Mock; John Pfeifle, Selectman; Jim Bibbo, Selectman; Karen Hambleton, Town Administrator
Kathy Rodgers; Dave Nunnally
Review Minutes from Last Meeting:
The minutes from the October 19, 2017 meeting were approved unanimously.
Use of Capital Reserve Funds to fund Capital Expenses:
Michael shared figures indicating what the Town will spend over the life of the various leases and bonds it currently has outstanding. He stated that continuing to purchase equipment etc with leases, bonds and loans will ultimately put the Town in the position of paying so much in interest, it will never be able to recover.
Michael segued into a presentation of the CIP which has been structured to begin to save money on interest costs while still making necessary capital improvements. There was discussion about equipment, interest rates and the impact of interest rates on residents’ tax bills.
3rd Quarter Expense Figures:
The Committee and Select Board reviewed the third quarter expense report. It was noted that the Rescue – Contract Services line will come in under budget as the invoice from Henniker is approximately $65,000. The Building Department expenses are running slightly ahead of expected, but expected to catch up as winter approaches. The Bridge line has gone over budget due to the Water Street Bridge work in March. The Street Lighting line is over budget. This is due to the installation of LED streetlights. The streetlights should save us 30-50% in the long run. Solid Waste Disposal is a strong positive number indicating the Town is sending less to landfill. Welfare Payments is also expected to over budget. This is beyond our control and may be further affected by the situation at 83 West Main Street. The line for Patriotic Purposes is over due to the expanded fireworks display we had this year. The Community Center line is slightly ahead, but should be OK. Overall, more than 20% remains in the Operation Budget.
The first draft of the budget was handed out. Most of the budgets have been submitted with the exception of the Executive Budget and a few small ones. There was a brief discussion about the upcoming budget cycle and the process this year. The question was asked as to how much payroll costs might increase. Numbers ranging from 1.8%-2.0% were discussed.
John discussed the action taken by the Select Board on Monday night to continue to proceed with work on Town Hall with the goal of making it usable. He indicated the Fire Marshal was willing to allow us to use the building for business use (which will limit the number of people allowed in the building at one time). He added that the Board is hopeful of receiving a figure in early December of what it will cost to move back into the building.
Lastly, Beth indicated that she and Kathy had worked on the Budget Committee’s report to the Town that was included in last year’s Town Report. She asked to hand that off to someone else. Michael expressed interest.
The next Budget Committee meeting will be a joint Budget Committee/Select Board meeting and is scheduled for Thursday, December 7, 2017 at 5:30pm at the Community Center. This meeting will be used to outline and plan the Budget Process.
A second joint Budget Committee/Select Board meeting and is scheduled for Monday, December 18, 2017 at 5:30pm at the Community Center. The process of reviewing budgets will department heads will begin at this meeting.
As there was no further business to come before the Committee, the meeting adjourned at 8:00.
Minutes submitted by Karen Hambleton.