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Welcome to the Town of Chilmark, MA
Finance Advisory Committee Minutes 01/24/2012
Chilmark FinCom & Selectmen Joint Board Meeting
                                  Budget Hearings FY2013 January 24, 2012
Present: Selectmen Frank Fenner, Warren Doty, Jonathan Mayhew,
FinCom Marshall Carroll, Frank Yeomans, Richard Williams, Sarah Mayhew Shipway,
John Maloney, Bruce Golden, Robert Chidsey, Others Tim Carroll, Emily Day, Melanie Becker,
Virginia Jones, Dennis Jason, Brian Cioffi, Leslie Clapp, Joyce Bowker, Diana DeBlase,
Remy Tumin.

7:00 pm Chairman Fenner called for a very short selectmen business to attend to before starting the budget hearing.
The first item is Tri Town Ambulance agreement to be signed, all three selectmen signed the Tri Town Agreement.
Mr. Fenner said the selectmen’s office received a request from police chief Cioffi to appoint Linden Karsner as a special police officer. Ms. Karsner has worked for the Chilmark police department and would be a welcome addition to help fill shifts. Mr. Doty moved to appoint Linden Karsner as a Chilmark special police officer. Mr. Mayhew seconded the motion.
SO VOTED: 3 Ayes

7:05 pm Chairman Carroll called FinCom Budget hearing to order.

Mr. Carroll said he was asked by police chief Cioffi to address his budget prior to his actual hearing. He asked that if there are questions to address please call him and ask, he would like to make the budget work well and have any difficulties worked out prior to the police hearing. Mr. Cioffi hopes this will aid in the flow of the budget hearing schedule.

Mr. Williams asked for more scenarios that are not listed as a savings option. Mr. Cioffi said he had worked out about 7 scenarios with Emily Day and to be clear no amount of shaving will create funds to hire the position needed for the department. Mr. Cioffi concluded that he is available at home or the station and to please contact him.

Mr. Carroll said he would like to address the budget books themselves. The books were available through the weekend for everyone to review. Mr. Carroll asked if anyone had corrections or additions. Mr. Carroll went on to say he was impressed with the work put into the books this year. This was the consensus of the folks attending.

Emily Day supplied papers to add to the books tonight. The MVRH school budget has yet to have official numbers in but the estimate is listed. Tim Carroll explained that Tax Rate has yet to be determined. Mrs. Bunker is heading to Boston January 30, 2012 to assist DOR in finalizing the rate.

Mr. Doty asked if the Middle Line Road rental revenues could start in FY2013 to be applied to the general budget. Mr. Carroll said that the Housing Trust must meet and agree to what the revenues will be applied to.

Mrs. Day said if the goal is to have only a 3.5 % increase, the budget would have to be cut $416,000.00. The proposed FY2013 budget with no articles or raise and appropriations has a 7.33% increase. That is an increase to tax payers of 16 cents per thousand of assessed value. Mrs. Day asked that the members come up with a figure that they think is possible and she would work the numbers through for comparison.

Mr. Doty said the Education department alone is up $281,000.00. Mr. Doty said the budget we have needs to be reduced. Mr. Yeomans asked to have the proposed budget up on the town web site. Mr. Carroll asked to specify what section and that he would do so. Mr. Carroll pointed out that this year there have been changes to the layout of the budget books and to please feel free to use the post-it notes to let us know any helpful suggestions.

Mr. Williams asked what was the main item driving the budget upward. Mr. Doty said that the Menemsha pier connector project cost 1.3 million, that will increase debt service principal $130,000.00 annually for ten years. The police budget up $60,000.00 as well.
Mr. Carroll said that the Middle Line Road Duplexes are also being financed.

Mr. Doty said there is about $246,000.00 in free cash that is an option. Mr. Doty also mentioned possibility of taking money out of the stabilization fund. Mr. Carroll mentioned that the bond rating we have is based partly on the fact that we have 18% in stabilization.

Mrs. Becker said it is prudent to put OPEB funding into the budget at a minimum of $100,000.00 and to not have it as a warrant article.

Council on Aging:
Marshall Carroll welcomed the Council on Aging director Joyce Bowker to the budget hearing.
Chilmark’s percentage came down from 34% of the bill to 31% due to the increase to West Tisbury residents. Operating expenses are shared equally to the up island towns. The maintenance cost is up due to the maintenance on the updated elevator system.

Ms. Bowker said the budget reflects a 2.5% increase for COLA which is what West Tisbury Personal Board is recommending this year.
Ms. Bowker intends to continue writing grants to aid in the building needs.
Marshall Carroll thanked her for coming and continuing a wonderful program.

Center for Living:
Marshall Carroll welcomed Leslie Clapp the director of Martha’s Vineyard Center for Living.
The big change this year is the figure from the 2010 Government Census. The Census data reported a 54% increase of persons over 60 years old. Ms. Clapp said that the Center serves 28 families now and have 11 families on a waiting list. The program has outgrown the space that they are using. The Center is in the process of applying for a grant that would aid in building a space at the Airport. Ms. Clapp assured the Fin Com and BOS that the Center for Living would fundraise and not go to the towns for this.

Marshall thanked Leslie Clapp for coming and thanked her for her continued efforts for island families.

Harbor Master Dennis Jason and Assistant Virginia Jones are present for their proposed budget review.
Mr. Williams asked for an explanation about the issue with seasonal help collecting unemployment. Tim Carroll explained that the law requires a limit of 16 weeks and if employee works longer than that they are then eligible to collect unemployment.

Bruce Golden urged that the departments enforce the limit of 16 weeks. Mr. Carroll said that there needs to be change to the practice for departments individually.

Mr. Doty said the Harbor Department has a proposed 9.88 % increase of $15,000.00; Mr. Doty asked what can be cut.    
Starting from the top of the budget sheet the following are the amounts and line items to be shaved;
  • Electricity minus                $1,000.00
  • Water minus                       $3,000.00
  • Maintenance minus            $5,000.00
  • Oil removal minus             $1,000.00
  • Rubbish minus                     $ 500.00
  • Postage  minus                      $500.00
  • Mileage minus                       $200.00         
  • Credit Card acct. minus      $1,000.00
Total recommended to be shaved off budget tonight is $12,200.00
It was agreed that if have to remove oil that that could come from emergency reserve fund.
Mr. Doty said these cuts need to happen to try to reach a 5% increase to tax payer instead of 10%.
Mr. Fenner spoke of the need for the harbor department computer data from the harbor to have an automatic backup to the town hall.

Town Treasurer Melanie Becker is present for review of Treasurer’s budget. The line items were reviewed and Mr.Fenner suggested and Mrs. Becker agreed to reduce:
1.) Data Processing minus               $430.00
2) Postage minus                             $100.00
Total shaved off budget tonight is  $530.00

Employee Benefits:
Melanie Becker said there are big changes this year to Employee Benefits health insurance. The State mandated this change; it is essentially changing all employees to an equivalent of a Rate Saver Plan. This plan decreases the cost to the town and shifts cost to the employee. There are steps that will take place to transition to the change. Mrs. Becker explained that for the first year
The towns can decide how to spend up to 25% of the savings. Two committees must be formed to process this mandate.

Retirement of Debt:
Melanie Becker said that the Menemsha Pier connector repairs bond will be sold this January 31, 2012. The bond needs to be awarded by the Board of Selectmen to the lowest bidder. Then February 7, 2012 the selectmen will sign paperwork for the sale.

Mr. Doty asked if there was an updated retirement of debt schedule. Mrs. Becker said she will bring that to this group when she gets an update on some more of these numbers. Mrs. Becker said that page 50 of 54 should say interest on the top left instead of principal.

Accountant Emily Day was present to review accounting budget. Marshall Carroll asked if there were any items Emily thought could be reduced in her budget. Mrs. Day said possibly in the future a reduction of hours but not yet. Mrs. Mayhew Shipway said she would not recommend reduction of hours because she thinks the new layout is a clear Mrs. Day’s time is well spent.

Mrs. Day said that in FY2013 there will be an Auditor RFP. Mr. Yeomans said that West Tisbury has a firm that cost much less. Mrs. Becker said she heard from West Tisbury that they have to wait much longer for their report though.

Tim Carroll asked what people thought of the schedule for the budget hearings; if there were dates that would not work or times that might need changing.
Marshall Carroll said we will have a better idea after tomorrows meeting as this is the first year that the next meeting is the next day. Sarah Mayhew Shipway said she will not be attending February 8, 2012 meeting.

Mr. Williams moved to adjourn the meeting. Mrs. Mayhew Shipway seconded the motion.
Unanimous vote to adjourn. 9:40 pm

Minutes respectfully submitted by Diana DeBlase                   Minutes approved 1/26/12

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