Approved Minutes of the Budget Advisory Committee (BAC)
Temple Town Hall
November 12, 2003
Members present Others present
Steve Andersen (Chair) Ted Petro (Select Board)
Brian Kullgren (Vice-Chair) Sherry Fiske (Select Board)
Rae Barnhisel (Minute-Taker) Sydney Thomas (Library Trustee)
Paul Quinn David Holt
Meeting called to order at 7:05 pm.
October 22, 2003 meeting minutes approved as amended. In regards to the suggestion of an Edwards lawsuit, Kullgren stated that Temple select board members are indemnified, insured against criminal charges. Quinn asked whether all town officials had similar insurance coverage. T. Petro said he would look into it.
There was discussion of what J. McTague had said in his interview regarding whether to sign a contract with the town or not and whether he had ever been offered a contract. Members requested that Barnhisel provide a copy of Police Chief McTague’s budget interview to J. McTague for feedback before accepting the interview as written.
B. Ongoing business
1. Sydney Thomas (Library Trustee) answered questions about the Library budget and provided information on specific needs. Currently, the Library is expecting that the cable company, Adelphia is providing free Internet access to the Library. If not the case, the Library would need to increase its telephone budget by $500. This would include various phone repairs not specified.
There was discussion about why the Library Heating line item was over by $1790 and the Electric line item was over by $93. Andersen verified that Energy North had been paid $1300. Barnhisel asked whether the propane was prepaid and at what rate the town was paying. There was discussion of whether to increase the budget for Library utilities given the overage.
The age and condition of the Library roof was discussed. Kullgren estimated the age to be around 25 years. While there is no current problem, it was agreed that the issue of whether to replace the roof in the next few years be considered.
There was discussion of why the repairs and maintenance line item was over by $703 and supplies line item was over by $140. S. Thomas had no specific information. She reported that no town matching funds had been used to build the current addition and that all costs had been met through private donations and the sell of books, baked goods, etc. Fiske noted that the Library’s accounts are organized much like the Fire Department’s: separate accounts, one to hold public funds, the other, a checking account, to hold private funds. Barnhisel questioned whether it was prudent to put the proceeds from the sale of books bought through public funds ($5500 budgeted each year) into the private account rather than back into the public account or general fund.
Barnhisel asked that the job description difference between the Library Assistant and the Library Aide be clarified. The proposed budget shows that the Library Assistant (Kathy Fedorka, Joanne Kuepper) is slated to receive a 3% raise and that the Library Aide (?) (and the Janitor (?)) are not.
2. The Tax Collector’s budget was not discussed. Andersen reported that Jeannie Whitcomb, Tax Collector, could not make the meeting.
3. Andersen and Eddy reported that they had reviewed certain portions of the budget with the select board and administrative assistant the previous night, Nov. 11, 2003, per the Budget Timeline.
§ Town Administration: The Part Time Office Assistant (Diane Nielsen) line item will decrease from $13,240 to $10,000 based on an hourly rate of $12.73 and an estimated 15 hours per week need.
§ Town Meeting: General supplies will be $100, down from $500.
§ Tax Collecting: Abatements and Refunds line item needs to be increased to accommodate the ongoing court-mandated tax abatement to the Lucas Foundation ($35,000 per year for the next 15 years; $33,000 for any new building). Fiske stated the agreement would end if the properties were sold.
§ Legal Expenses: S. Fiske suggested that $15,000 be budgeted for the Town Attorney line item, down from $20,000 and $1000 be budgeted for Other Legal Expenses, no change from last year, to cover cable consortium costs.
Also in regards to the select board’s meeting, T. Petro stated that Administrative Assistant, Debra Harling, would provide a written policy on what mail she opens.
4. The Government Buildings (Municipal Building and Town Hall) budget was discussed.
Under Maintenance and Repairs, Barnhisel pointed out that the Custodial line items for the Municipal Building (Kathy Nolte) and Town Hall (Danny Cournoyer) had no 3% salary increase. Andersen stressed the need for the select board to formulate a policy. S. Fiske asked members to comment on the cleanliness of the Town Hall. Barnhisel suggested that a job description for the custodian might help clarify what that person is to do.
T. Petro reported that the Town Hall telephone is in a locked area of the Town Hall and is used by the Town Moderator during elections. It was agreed to reduce the $600 line item to $400 and investigate a lower cost option such as the use of a cell phone.
The Electricity line item was reduced from $4200 to $3000; the Heating Oil line item was increased from $3000 to $3500. Fiske stated the oil is purchased through a collective bargaining agreement and that she would look into it to whether other government buildings such as Library and the Highway sheds are included in the agreement. There was discussion of how utilities are accounted for across all town-owned buildings.
The Municipal Building Repairs and Maintenance was unchanged from $2500 to address the leak in the Fire Department Bay roof, south side. For the Town Hall, the Repairs and Maintenance line item was reduced from $2500 to $1500 to more realistically reflect the amount that would be typically spent each year.
The Supplies line items for both buildings were changed in name to Fixtures to encompass items that are fixed to the building such as lamp fixtures but not classified as Furniture. Custodial Supplies increased from $100 to $150 for the Town Hall and remained unchanged at $500 for the Municipal Building.
The Improvements to Grounds line item for the Municipal Building remained unchanged at $200; for the Town Hall, it was reduced from $1000 to $200. It was noted that the Library spends $600 on landscaping each year. The Improvements to Buildings and Other Improvements line items for both buildings were deleted.
Under Other Public Facilities, the Town Forester position was discussed. S. Fiske suggested that the position be paid whenever services are rendered rather than paid for being available. Barnhisel asked whether a 3% yearly salary increase was appropriate for a position created by the select board for a fellow select board member. T. Petro suggested that the position be moved to another category called Other Town Services, a category that could umbrella the Health Officer and Welfare Administration.
The Ballfield Repairs and Maintenance line item and the Other Property Miscellaneous line item were deleted. The Other Property Repairs and Maintenance line item was changed in name to the Property Repairs and Maintenance line item and remained unchanged at $6000. Barnhisel asked that the Common be specifically listed as a property.
4. It was agreed that the next meeting should include an interview with the Animal Control Department head, Peter Clegg, to discuss on-call time. T. Petro requested Barnhisel to provide last year’s BAC interview with P. Clegg. Andersen requested that a meeting with the Fire Engineers also be scheduled.
Meeting adjourned at 9:50 pm.
Dec. 10, 2003