Approved Minutes of the Budget Advisory Committee (BAC)
Temple Town Hall
September 24, 2003
Members present Others present
Steve Andersen (Chair) Ted Petro (Select Board)
Brian Kullgren (Vice-Chair)
Rae Barnhisel (Minute-Taker)
Meeting called to order at 7:06 pm.
September 10, 2003 meeting minutes approved as written.
B. Ongoing business
1. The BAC-SB draft Budget Timeline was discussed. Andersen reported that the Select Board (SB) liked the Timeline but requested that dates in October be revised (see attached updated Timeline). The SB agreed that Dept. heads will submit their budgets to the SB by 10/10/03 and that the SB would forward the proposed 2004 budget to the BAC after 10/14/03 and before 10/22/03 (BAC’s next meeting). Tim Fiske, Highway Dept. will present his budget first.
2. Members who attended the SB meeting on 9/23/03 reported their impressions of what had occurred at the meeting. Andersen reported that there was discussion of how high the tax rate would be set. SB member Petro stated he was unsure if this included federal mandated expenditure of funds to meet the current administration’s “No Child Left Behind” Act. Petro stated that he had asked the SB whether there would be any general recommendation regarding the 2004 budget. His own inclination was to see a reduction in spending.
There was discussion of how much fund balance would be available to reduce the tax rate when set by the DRA in fall. Estimates were that $70,000 might be available. Members noted that approximately $250,000 was available the previous year and discussed differences between funds that are discretionary or unrestricted and subject to dept. head spending (touchable, negotiable”) vs. funds that were nondiscretionary or restricted (non-touchable, non-negotiable), i.e., true liability such as bonds, notes, salaries, etc.
Barnhisel asked Petro whether the 3% salary increase budgeted each year for all salaried employees was negotiable. Petro provided the New Hampshire Municipal Association (NHMA) “Pay and Classification Study 2001” and Town of Temple Human Resource Manual (3/16/02) to Barnhisel. All agreed that an automatic 3% pay increase for employees year after year for an indefinite amount of time was not prudent. Petro pointed out that the current year’s 3% increase would most likely be offset by increased insurance costs. Members agreed to wait for insurance estimates before addressing automatic pay increases. Kullgren and Barnhisel stressed that any pay increase would need justification. Quinn thought the 3% should be based on merit review or a cost of living increase. Kullgren suggested the BAC evaluate that study before agreeing to its recommendation.
3. Eddy and Barnhisel reported on the NHMA Budget and Finance Workshop 9/16/03 and provided copies of materials that had been handed out (Andersen took Eddy’s copy of “Basic Law...”; Kullgren took Barnhisel’s copy). Andersen requested information on GASB 34 be copied. Barnhisel submitted a written report (attached here) and reviewed Capital Reserve Funds (CRFs). A CRF can be spent outside of a town meeting if an agent is named in a warrant article giving authority to that agent to spend the funds. CRFs and Town-Funded Trust Funds are identical. A town’s current surplus can go into a CRF for a specific purpose – to conserve land or to maintain roads and bridges, rather than be used to offset the future tax rate. Kullgren suggested that CRFs should be implemented next year to offset the major uncertainties.
Quinn asked Petro whether Dept. heads are in tune with the various grant opportunities and ever find themselves constrained from applying due to time. Eddy stated that she thought the BAC should be involved in grant writing – especially because grants often commit townspeople to future expenditures (without a town vote). She asked to what account such funds are deposited – the department that solicited the funds or the general fund, and whether the SB must approve to accept such funds.
Barnhisel asked Petro why Debra Harling had not attended the NHMA workshop as preregistered. He stated that although she had given directions and information to Kantner that morning, she told him she had been under the impression that the workshop was the next day and did drive to Bedford, NH, on 9/17/03. Barnhisel asked whether she returned to work on 9/17/03. Petro said he thought so.
4. Andersen provided Actual & Budgeted Expenses and Encumbrances [what is spent] dated 9/23/03 and Town of Temple Budget Worksheet 2004 (the working budget!) to all members and “Sources of Revenue.” He pointed out that revenue sources in Temple have steadily declined since 1998 and that total town expenses have increased from being approximately 50% of revenue to about 30% of revenue. He stressed the need to understand why expenses have increased while revenue has decreased.
Barnhisel suggested the BAC revisit the Economic Environment draft chapters of the proposed new Master Plan (Southwest Regional Planning Commission [SWRPC] 2002-2003) to more closely examine the table on municipal expenditure and revenues and see why general government has increased by 300 to 400 %. She asked that Andersen be ready to provide the source of the latest data – annual MS-6s, a state-required form. Quinn asked that Barnhisel also bring in the latest population data from the Population and Housing chapter of the SWRPC proposed master plan. There was general discussion of the reliability of town data and the degree to which responsibility and power has been shifted from the Select Board to the Admin. Asst. position.
Possible revenue sources were discussed including assessing for traffic, animal control, and zoning violations. Barnhisel will recirculate the 5/19/03 draft of the BAC’s comparison of a position’s pay and benefits compared to that position’s total department budget. Andersen reminded everyone to become familiar with the 2004 Budget Worksheet. Barnhisel requested that the BAC be able to make suggestions on improving the format of the Budget Worksheet.
Meeting adjourned at 9:20 pm.
Oct. 8, 2003