Town of Chilmark Finance Advisory Committee January 13, 2010 Meeting Minutes
Committee Members Present: Marshall Carroll, Frank LoRusso, John Maloney, Bill Randol, Sarah Mayhew Shipway, Richard Williams, Frank Yeomans.
Others Present: Melanie Becker, John Brackenridge, Christina Brown, Tim Carroll, Todd Christy, Warren Doty, Frank Fenner, Mark Freedman, Nina Lombardi, Mark London, Susan Mercier, Chris Murphy, J.B. Riggs Parker, Stephen Nixon, Dan Seklecki, Susan Stevens, Amy Tierney, Jim Weiss.
Chairman Marshall Carroll called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m.
Superintendant of Schools Budget Hearing
Superintendant Dr. Jim Weiss presented the FY11 budget for the Superintendant of Schools office. Dr. Weiss provided an overview of the staff structure, clarifying employees who are located directly in the Superintendant’s office building, as compared to elsewhere in the school departments. Dr. Weiss stated that 69% of employees have a direct service connection to children in the school system, 18% are in leadership positions and 13% are in financial positions. In total, twenty-two employees have office space in the Superintendant’s current building. From the prior fiscal year budget there has been a 2.2% budget increase of $77,000, the vast majority of which accounts for benefits, contractual step increases and longevity. Dr. Weiss said the department worked diligently to
cut up to $10,000 from other areas of the budget where there were not contractual obligations. The school administrators are receiving a zero percent increase in salary. The total budget for the Superintendant’s Office, the Up-Island Regional School District and the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School is approximately $44 million, which includes all grant funding.
Dr. Weiss pointed out that, although the total budget has increased, the Up-Island assessment has gone down from FY10 by $9,236.55. Dr. Weiss said that cuts in grant funding from the State is anticipated, but the Vineyard is fortunate that only 10-12% of funding from the State contributes to the budget and the rest of funding comes from tax payers. Dr. Weiss explained that staffing changes included reducing half a position in the Superintendant’s office, as well adding a medical advisor and two special education assistants. A question was asked about the number of autistic students there are in the school system and Dan Seklecki, Director of Student Support Services, reported that out of twenty-one hundred total students, forty-five are identified as having autism. Dr. Weiss indicated
that negotiations are still ongoing with the teachers’ union and he cannot disclose specifics, but said that discussions are being held to remove employees from Blue Cross Master Medical to other health plans.
Up-Island Regional School District Budget Hearing
Dr. Weiss explained that the Up-Island Regional School District FY11 operating budget is down $98,000 or 1.18%, but due to significant losses in State revenues the total budget is up $277,000 or 3.54%. Assistant Superintendant for Financial Affairs, Amy Tierney, gave an overview of the breakdown of the budget with regard to operating expenses and revenue offset. Ms. Tierney explained that the Shared assessment and the School Committee assessment figures are based on the total enrollment per town divided by the total district enrollment. In addition, the Chilmark School and West Tisbury School operating budgets are based on the enrollment per town in each school divided by the total district enrollment of each school. With regard to debt service, the owning town pays at least 80% and the non-owning towns
pay the remaining 20% based on enrollment per town. Ms. Tierney reported that Excess and Deficiency revenue funds used to offset the budget in the past will not be available in FY11, due to mid year cuts in revenues from the State in FY10, the reserve funds were used to absorb the loss.
Although the total budget is up by 2.21% due to benefits and salary obligations, Up-Island will have a decrease in the budget assessment because enrollment is down. With regard to staffing cuts, Ms. Tierney reported that one elementary school Spanish teacher and a quarter of special education teacher had been cut, but that a quarter of special math teacher was added. Ms. Tierney explained that School Choice Receiving Tuition (tuition from students not from the Up-Island school district) must be spent from the School Choice Fund and is no longer budgeted to the General Fund. As a result, the General Fund is being offset in FY11 by paying the West Tisbury School teachers’ salary ($203,038) out of the School Choice Fund. Chilmark’s assessment for FY11 is $1.9 million dollars, which is an increase of
Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School Budget Hearing
Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School Principal Stephen Nixon presented the certified budget for FY11. Mr. Nixon explained that a 12.46% short fall in FY11 revenues are expected due to a projected $400,000 in State revenue cuts, in addition to a loss of $250,000 from the Excess and Deficiency revenue fund used to offset the budget in the past. Mr. Nixon said there has been a 3.91% increase in the budget; however, if State revenues were level funded to FY10 and $250,000 from the Excess and Deficiency revenue funds was used to offset the budget there would only be a 0.5% budget increase. Mr. Nixon attested that budget increases were solely due to benefits, insurance and other contractual obligations, but strict efforts were made to cut the budget elsewhere.
Martha’s Vineyard Commission
Clerk/Treasurer for the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, John Brackenridge presented the FY11 budget. Mr. Brackenridge reported that the towns’ assessment for FY11 is $794,125, a 0.3% decrease over the FY10 assessment of $796,497. The payroll expenses and administration costs had an increase of $6,128 or 0.5% over the previous fiscal year, but no COLA was given. The Commission modified the split of health insurance contributions to be 75% employer, 25% employee from 90% employer, 10% employee. The budget reflects a shift of $25,700 from Health and Disability Insurance to Salary to make up for employees contributing a higher percentage to their health care cost; approximately $2,500 per employee in FY11. There was a lot of discussion regarding whether the employees would be
compensated in the future to offset their health care costs. MVC elected Chilmark representative, Chris Murphy argued that health care costs are raising faster than employee salaries and the MVC does not want to penalize employees for making this change. In FY10 the MVC eliminated the more costly Master Medical Indemnity plan and is now providing only the Blue Care Select (PPO) for all staff, which contributed to approximately $13,000 in annual savings.
Richard Williams reported that the All-Island Finance Advisory Committee has discussed forming a COLA that would be applied to all municipal organizations on the Vineyard.
Moderator (114) Budget Hearing
The Moderator FY11 budget was level funded.
Selectmen (122) Budget Hearing
Executive Secretary Tim Carroll stated that the Selectmen’s FY11 budget has been level funded with the exception of salary step increases for the Receptionist/Administrative Assistant to the Office of the Selectmen (5103) and the Coordinator of Administrative Support (5176).
Finance Advisory Committee (131) Budget Hearing
The Finance Advisory Committee FY11 budget increased due to the cost of the materials used to create the budget books. The FINCOM members were encouraged to recycle the budget book binders next year.
Town Accountant (135) Budget Hearing
Mr. Carroll reported that Emily Day had been hired as the new Town Accountant and that the Salary (5104) which has been budgeted for a step three may decrease depending on what step Ms. Day is hired at. Mr. Carroll also increased Professional Development (5303) and In-State Travel (5710) to accommodate training Ms. Day will need to work towards municipal certification. Overall the budget saw a decrease because Ms. Day will be at a lower step than the former accountant.
Auditing Expense (5304) Budget Hearing
$18,000 has been budgeted for the Town’s annual Auditing Expense (5304), which reflects the new three year contract of $18,000 in year one, $19,000 year two and $21,000 in the third year.
Legal Counsel (151) Budget Hearing
The FY11 budget for Legal Counsel and other associate legal fees is $55,000.
Town Offices (192) Budget Hearing
The budget for the Town Offices (192) had increases that included a salary step increase for the Custodian (5115), a $2,500 increase to Building/Grounds Maintenance (5241) due to painting and repairs, as well as an increase in Software Maintenance (5248). Mr. Carroll explained that the estimate from Educomp to maintain the twenty-three computers in Town offices is estimated to be $18,000, but he is working to keep the yearly maintenance costs at $13,000 as it has been in the past. Mr. Carroll also informed the FINCOM that the company that served as the email host for the Town unexpectedly closed, which resulted in an upgrade to the email server.
Community Center (194) Budget Hearing
The FY11 budget for the Community Center has a 0% increase due to level funding. Mr. Carroll stated that Custodian Rodney Bunker has been utilizing a warrant article to replace the windows at the Center.
Selectmen’s Maintenance (196) Budget Hearing
Mr. Carroll reduced the Selectmen’s Maintenance budget by $4,000. The Selectmen’s Maintenance account is a reserve fund used for emergency Town Hall maintenance or expenses and serves as discretionary money for the Selectmen to appropriate if the need arises.
Comfort Station (199) Budget Hearing
The Comfort Station (199) budget for FY11 has increased in Other Purchased Services (5399) to accommodate extending rubbish collection at the Town beaches and harbor into the fall. There was discussion about options to reduce the sanitation flow from the Comfort Station into the septic.
Emergency Management (291) Budget Hearing
There was an increase in dues for the Dukes County Emergency Management Association for FY11 as reflected in the budget (5730).
Dog Officer (292) Budget Hearing
The Dog Officer’s FY11 budget increased due to a salary step increase (5128).
Animal Inspector (296) Budget Hearing
The FY11 budget for the Animal Inspector has been level funded.
A motion was made and seconded to adjourn the meeting at 8:30 p.m. Meeting adjourned.
Respectfully submitted by Nina M. Lombardi.