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The Town of Washington, Connecticut

Minutes: Board of Finance
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Disclaimer: While we have attempted to reproduce them accurately, the electronic documents you see here are not the official public documents. Official copies may be obtained on paper from the Town Clerk. Also note that minutes of recent meetings are often not yet approved by the Board, and are subject to correction.


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Posted: January 1, 2014, 2013

December 16, 2013


Chairman Michael Jackson called the meeting to order at 5:00 p.m.

Present:
Members: Barbara Brown, Sally Cornell, Michael Jackson, Jack Boyer, Craig Schoon, Rex Swain
Alternates: Liddy Adams, Ted Bent, Keith Templeton
Selectmen: Mark Lyon, Richard Carey, Jay Hubelbank
Treasurer: Linda McGarr
Guests: Tony Bedini, Bldg. & Property Committee, Region 12 Board of Education

Minutes:
Rex Swain requested an amendment to the October minutes with regard to the Housing Down Payments Assistance Program, noting Liddy Adams, and not he, had reported noted this Program would provide a subsidy and not a loan to eligible homeowners. He also suggested the minutes note that new employees will be covered under a 401A Defined Contribution Plan, and not the Defined Benefit Plan that has covered current employees. Amendments to minutes approved.

Education:
Tony Bedini updated the Board of the most recent Region 12 meetings. He noted the firms of Fletcher Thompson and Arcadia had held meetings in the three towns to obtain input from the residents of all towns in Region 12 regarding the future of Shepaug buildings. Total attendance had been under 100 for all three towns; however, he felt Fletcher Thompson and Arcardia had gotten a good sampling of what is going on. These firms had also met with teachers and the administration, both of whom were in favor of a new school and provided some input. They have provided a schedule of what they will do and the next step will be to address a Plan that would be presented to the public at future meetings. The Plan recommended one elementary school for the three towns. The final decision on this must be approved by a majority of votes in all three of the towns. The Board noted their appreciation to Tony for his efforts.

Tax Collector’s Report:
Approved.

Assessor:
First Selectman Mark Lyon reported he had spent time with the new Town Assessor, who reported the revaluation of town properties is still in progress. A report will not be available until the end of December. Currently there has been a 12% decrease in residences and a 9% decrease in condos when comparing the different classes of real estate properties between 2012 and 2013. The information is very preliminary and numbers most likely will be revised. Once the revaluation company has completed their work, the Assessor may make adjustments if re-inspections are necessary. The Assessor has noted the importance of making a fair and accurate assessment. Property owner will be able to go “on line” to review the assessments. If the Grand List declines, the mill rate will have to change.

Income:
Investment income is currently at 20% of the estimated Town’s budget.

Expense:
The Winter Maintenance section of the Town’s Highway budget is estimated to cover approximately five months. Parks & Rec maintenance costs are currently high and will be reviewed before the Spring.

Old Business:
Tax Collectors:
First Selectman Mark Lyon reported the Board of Selecmen has met with the Town’s new tax collector Donna Alex, who has been working with retiring tax collector, Tanya Wescott. The list of the top 20 delinquent taxpayers has been reviewed and they are moving ahead on most of them. There was some discussion as to how this is handled by other towns and their tax collection rate; and it was noted there are written procedures in place if taxes have not been paid. If it becomes necessary to call on the Marshal to collect the taxes, the Marshal is paid only upon collection and an additional 15% is charged to the taxpayer to pay the marshal. The marshal is allowed to attach wages and the Town would be allowed to foreclose on the property if necessary. The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities analyzes the tax situations town by town and we are currently in good shape. The liability to the Town was discussed if properties were in poor or toxic shape or a hazard to the public.

The meeting was adjourned at 6:15 p.m..

Respectfully submitted,
Kathy Gollow, Secretary



Posted: December 14, 2013

November 18, 2013


Chairman Michael Jackson called the meeting to order at 5:00 p.m.

Present:
Members: Barbara Brown, Sally Cornell, Michael Jackson, Jack Boyer, Craig Schoon, Rex Swain
Alternates: Liddy Adams, Ted Bent, Keith Templeton
Selectmen: Mark Lyon, Richard Carey, Jay Hubelbank
Treasurer: Linda McGarr
Guests: Tony Bedini, Member of the Town’s Bldg. & Property Committee and Region 12 Board of Education

Welcome:
The Board welcomed Sally Cornell as a regular member and Keith Templeton as an alternate member to the Board. Both have served previously on the Board.

Education:
Tony Bedini reported he is prepared to make a recommendation to the Board of Education to spend $150,000 to obtain a project from the architectural firm of Fletcher Thompson. The three architects interviewed have all had a very big part in the pre-work; however, he suggested Fletcher Thompson has had a 95% score on getting things done the first time. The complete cost for the architectural work is anticipated at $26,000 and the project has been estimated at $1,003,000 for the work to be done to the high school building. This would include any work to be done on the high school. As project manager, Fletcher Thompson’s job would include choosing an architect, completing all the necessary paper work, obtaining all required permits and overseeing the project. They would serve as agents of the Board of Ed or by whomever is hired to oversee the project to insure the Region is getting its money’s worth. Fletcher Thompson was chosen because of their impressive employees. They would run the public forums and face the public, as well as work directly with the project manager to approve work.

Tony noted when a referendum is called the question presented would be to change the original plan and build a pre-school/elementary school on the Shepaug campus or to repair the high school, which would determine the costs of $10-20,000,000. Tony is also trying to move forward to begin the work and to allot $1 million per year specifically for repairs to the high school. The amount of time is questionable because of summer time and class time. To borrow $10-15 million dollars, he suggested the Region would be paying on something that should be able to be included in their annual budget.

Tony also reported the Superintendent of Schools has explored regionalization with New Milford, Brookfield and Litchfield; but at this time, there doesn’t appear to be interest. There is also no indication whether Bridgewater would consider a regional elementary school, unless it comes from the silent majority when a vote is taken. Michael suggested a vote should not be taken without knowing the full costs involved. Tony agreed the entire issue must be addressed. The Board agreed the Board of Ed members have put in a huge amount of time addressing the educational issues for which the Boards of Finance and Selectmen are extremely grateful. Liddy Adams also noted the Town is extremely grateful for the time and effort Tony Bedini has spent as a member of the Board of Selectmen on behalf of the Town. The members of the Finance Board wholeheartedly agreed.

Jack Boyer noted the total budget for rehab could still be reworked. There is no indication from Bridgewater that it will be approved, and the outcome will not be known until a vote is taken.

Town’s Purchasing Ordinance Requirements:
Tony Bedini suggested the Board consider amending the Town Purchasing Ordinance to increase the bid level from the current $6,000 to $10,0000 or $20-$25,000. As a member of the Building and Property Committee, he suggested there is much work to be done in the town hall; and while some of the jobs are small, compromising and raising the level required would really help to move projects along. All larger purchases and projects would continue to be put out to bid. A town meeting vote would be would be required for this approval.

Tax Collectors Report:
Rex noted discussion had been held at the previous Board’s meeting with the Tax Collector whether to send Birch Hill Run to the State Marshal for collection. He requested an update on this and suggested while this is at the discretion of the Tax Collector, the Board might suggest some guidelines. These guidelines might include that if no attempt for payment is being made by the taxpayer, the tax collector may proceed to forward this to the Marshal as a matter of course. Jack Boyer suggested it would be prudent to recommend a specific amount or age of delinquency, and that the decision should not be at the tax collector’s discretion. The Board would strongly recommend that when this exceeds a certain amount that it be referred for collection. It was noted other towns do not seem to have a set policy either. It was suggested policies and procedures could be established; and the Town should check with the State to see what is allowed.

Tax Collector’s Retirement:
Tax Collector Tanya Wescott anticipates retiring December 1st. She has agreed to come back per diem to assist the new Tax Collector. An ad hoc committee will meet with her. She has indicated she will be available work with the new Tax Collector.

Treasurer’s Report:
Approved as submitted.

Financial Reports.
Income and expenses are where they are anticipated to be at this point in time. We have been very fortunate so far with the weather.

Minutes - Pension:
Rex Swain suggested the minutes of the October meeting be amended to report that new employees will be covered under a 401A Defined Benefit Plan, which has now been fully executed. The Pension Committee has reviewed the current Defined Benefit Plan, as well as the Fire Company and EMT Award Programs. The new 401A Plan would become effective as of June 1, 2013 for new employees. Rex noted while the paper work has been signed for the new Pension Plan, he is unsure when a contribution would be required for the new employees, as new employees will not qualify until they are here for a year. He noted the Town must budget for two additional employees the following year as the new 401A Plan will be a separate account. The Town will now have three plans: the existing defined benefit plan, the new defined contribution plan, and the firefighters/EMT plan. Legal fees are not to expected to exceed $10,000. An ex-budget appropriation will be required and funds would be transferred into the permanent budget line. It was noted investments for the current Pension Plan were up about 8% for the year.

The Board thanked the members of the Pension Committee for their efforts on behalf of the Town.

Nonrecurring:
Michael Jackson noted approximately $1,200,000 has been set aside since 2006 for bridge repairs in the Nonrecurring Account. Mark Lyon reported the Shinar Mountain Bridge is currently being repaired for $75,000, while the Walker Brook Road Bridge will be eligible for a 80% reimbursement from the State. The Town will be responsible for approximately $225,000. The Romford Road Bridge is estimated at $3,000,000, of which the Town will be responsible for 20%. Spring Hill Road Bridge will cost approximately $150,000. Mark suggested specific lines for anticipated bridge grant funds be designated in the Capital Fund budget for income from State grants. He was unsure if additional grants are available for property. These could be set aside for possible property purchases, but he is unsure if they will still be available.

Mark noted $600,000 in road construction is available, plus approximately $40-450,000 in other Capital Fund line items, much of which has been from previous capital budgeted. He noted Highway Director Kevin Smith has been working aggressively. The work that has been done is very thorough and a step above of what we have done in the past. We are still paying an escalation fees on asphalt.

Mark also noted the Town Hall basement is being redone. The Town is working with CHK architect on plans for the staff areas to be used as a conference room with a handicapped ramp. Site work may be needed. The will be proposed as the Land Use Meeting Room. There may be some exposure on the stage, but the trustees are willing to discuss this area. Negotiations with the insurance company have been positive and everything has been covered. We will be close on the budget; and if we run into a small overrun, the BMTH trustees may consider assisting the Town.

Revenue:
Ted Bent suggested the Board consider asking the private schools in Town for a more generous donation than what they currently offer to the Town. Rex also suggested donations from the Washington Community Housing Trust should also be discussed in detail, noting that all of these entities require Town services and are very integrated parts of the community.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:53 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Kathy Gollow, Secretary



Posted: October 14, 2013

September 16, 2013


Chairman Michael Jackson called the meeting to order at 5:00 p.m.

Present:
Members: Jack Boyer, Barbara Brown, Michael Jackson, Craig Schoon, Rex Swain
Alternates: Liddy Adams, Ted Bent, Sally Cornell
Selectmen: Mark Lyon, Richard Carey
Treasurer: Linda McGarr
Tax Collector: Tanya Wescott
Press: Loumarie Rodriguez – VOICES

Tax Collector - Real Estate Tax Delinquency:
Tax Collector Tanya Wescott presented a list of the top 23 property owners who are delinquent with their tax payments at a minimum of $9,000 in taxes, interest and lien fees. The current total due is $443,576.41. She noted while this is less than 1% of the taxes due the Town, they are substantial amounts. The delinquent list is sent to the State and a statement is also sent to the State Marshall for collection. These taxes will increase costs by 15%. Tanya noted most taxpayers in arrears work well with her in paying off their debt; however, if they refuse to work with her, she will proceed to the sale of their property. Currently, there is only one property owner in this situation. While the owner does not live on this site, tractors are disintegrating and impacting the wetlands on the property. Tanya noted there is no funding or anything to attach other than a tractor trailer located on the property, which condition would be a greater liability than an asset to the Town. If the Town were to foreclose on the property, the Town would become responsible for cleaning it up, and all DEEP issues would become those of the Town. While Tanya could proceed with foreclosure, she believes it would be extremely costly for the Town to do so. When she has tried to go after him, proving ownership of the equipment is difficult. At this point, the Town cannot prove anything and the marshal has done a lot of checking. While she has other property owners who are in arrears, they continue to pay as often as they can afford to do so. The Board noted their appreciation to Tanya for her diligence. Treasurer’s Report: Treasurer Linda McGarr presented her monthly report of all accounts. The reports were approved by the Board. She noted the long-range forecast for increasing interest rates on investments is not looking any better.

Town Employee Benefits - Accumulated Liability for the Town:
Rex Swain noted his concern regarding the current benefits the Town provides for full-time employees and the large liability to the Town. One of the benefits allows the accumulation of unused sick days annually, which are allowed to accumulate up to 100 days. Upon retirement, an employee is allowed compensation for the sick days remaining at the current rate of pay for the first 60 days, plus an additional 40 days at one-half the daily rate of pay. Rex noted this liability continues to increase and is audited as a liability to the Town.

Education Report:
Michael Jackson reported on the continuing dilemma facing the Regional School Board and the three towns with regard to the future of the Region. The decreasing enrollment is not unique to Region 12, but to the entire State. The latest recommendation is a $23,000,000 package. Rex Swain noted this would be result in an approximate 4% increase of $450,000 or another ½ mil per year. No date or decision has been set for a referendum on this matter. At the last B/E meeting, the first selectmen and finance chairs of the three towns were asked to meet as all three must agree. Jack Boyer suggested the Board of Education provide a statement for the townspeople to have something upon which to vote. The State Board of Ed has not given give them any guidance. He noted the current cost/student is over $30,000.


Old Business:
Town Pension Plans:
Rex Swain reported all parties have agreed to have the pension documents for the EMT and Firefighters Award Program restated. The Trust document will now be executed. The existing Employees’ Defined Benefit Plan has been updated, restated and modified. There will be no new entrants into the current Employee Plan, of which approximately 4-6 employees will begin collecting within the next few years. The Pension Committee plans to create a new Defined Contribution Plan for future Town employees. Rex noted his appreciation to the Union Savings Bank representatives, who have been very responsive and helpful with investments.
Nationwide 457 Plan:
Rex reported the Committee has also discussed an updated proposal on the Town Employees’ 457 Plan. Funding for this is provided from the employees’ wages at their discretion and is deposited with Nationwide on a bi-weekly basis by the Town. Employees choose their own accounts in which they wish to invest. Rex reported none of the employees are unhappy with this Plan. The Committee has requested a detailed proposal from Nationwide and that they “rough out” a planned document. This should be received shortly. Michael questioned the working of the proposed Plan and questioned the risk tolerance for the safety of the employees’ funds. It was noted the 457 Plan representative is a salaried employee and has no agenda nor motive. The Committee will compare the Plan with others to determine stability. It was also noted the Committee has had legal discussion regarding these possible changes at an estimated cost of approximately $6,000 thus far.

Rex Swain made a motion to approve an ex-budget appropriation in the amount of $10,000 in legal fees for the review of the old and new pension plans. Jack Boyer seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously. Rex also recommended looking at a 401A Plan.

Policies and Procedures Manual:
The Town’s auditor has recommended the Town consider revisions to the current Town’s Accounting Procedures Manual. This would include the policies and procedures to be followed for Requests for Proposals. It was suggested this cost most likely would exceed the current bidding $6,000 requirement and would have to be sent out to bid. To update the Policy and Procedures manual an estimated costs could be about $20,000. An invitation to bid must be extended for this project in accordance with the current Town policies. This was agreeable to the Board and a bid will be extended.


New Business:
Invitations to Bid:
The Board acknowledged that the cost of items and project completions has increased greatly. It was suggested the current Town Ordinance requirement that any project estimated to be in excess of $6,000 be put out to bid is both time-consuming, costly and needs to be updated. It was suggested this be increased to at least $12,000 or $25,000., which would lower the costs for advertising and enable the Town the ability to complete projects in a more timely manner. Tony Bedini offered to work on the requirements. The matter would require approval at a future town meeting. Jack Boyer suggested we also check with other towns.

The next meeting of the Board of Finance will be held on October 21 at 5 p.m.

The meeting was adjourned at 6:07 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, Kathy Gollow, Finance Secretary



Posted: October 14, 2013

July 15, 2013


5:00 P.M.

Present:
Regular Members: Jack Boyer, Barbara Brown, Michael Jackson, Rex Swain, Craig Schoon
Alternates: Liddy Adams,
Selectmen: Mark Lyon, Tony Bedini, Richard Carey
Treasurer: Linda McGarr
Guests: Sarah Cornell

Minutes:
Minutes of the Board were reviewed and amendments were made as follows:
Washington Community Housing Trust:
Jack Boyer noted a correction to the May 20th minutes that it had been the intention of the WCHT to purchase the existing house, restore it, and retain ownership of the remaining land. This land would then be leased, rather than purchased, by future home builders.
Rex Swain noted that it was he who had questioned the Board’s appointment policy for filling vacancies on the Board, not Rex Collum.
Minutes were approved as corrected. Apologies to both Jack and Rex.


Financials:
General Fund:
Mark Lyon reviewed 2012-13 General Fund year-end financials, noting specific areas:

* The Fire Department was over budget, mostly due to extra repair work on engine 6.

* The Private Duty Police line was over budget; however, this is reimbursed by income received for this work. The Resident Trooper line item was over budget due to the increase in the police pkg. with State that was approved after our budget was set.

* While the Building Department expenditures are over budget as they are annually; they are more than offset by income derived from this Department.

* The Tunxis Recycling Operating Committee for recycling costs for the 11/12 fiscal year had been included in the 12/13 year, thus the over-budget in this line item.

* MSW and Recycling:
Possible funding may be received from BRRFOC and TROC from the Town’s tipping fees over the past few years. It may be appropriate to set up a separate fund in order to use these funds for work needed at the transfer station, as well as to offset costs anticipated for new recycling bins to be purchased for town residents. The Town’s auditor will be consulted.

Nonrecurring Capital Fund:
Currently, funds are being spent mostly on road work. Bids received for the anticipated purchase of a new tractor were higher than those budgeted.

Town Garage Replacement:
Mark reported final engineering documents should be received in order to go out to bid.

Town Hall Refurbishment:
Replacement windows are being installed. The Selectmen have met with the architect regarding the stage area with regard to new code-compliance, lighting, a sound system and more exits. They are also looking into the stage area for use as a conference room, land use area and possible storage as opposed to the stage. Discussion has resulted in the conclusion that the town hall no longer needs a stage. The possibility of a kitchen in the stage area was also discussed;, and question was raised if a kitchen in that area is really needed if the town hall continues to be rented for outside parties.

Education:
Tony Bedini updated the Board on the status of the current school buildings and the possibility of considering other options for the Region. Until an actual referendum on the future of the Regional setup is held, nothing will change. A referendum question would be required and would have to be shaped by attorneys and sent to the Secretary of State for approval. If given the State’s approval, the proposal would again be submitted to the Board of Education and a Regional vote would be required to determine the outcome. Tony noted the Board has not gotten to the point of having a vote on the issue and it is currently an awkward situation. The Board of Finance recognized this problem of diminishing school populations throughout the regional school districts in the State; and it was suggested that consolidation in some form may be the only answer. The importance of solving this problem and allowing the School Board to function with regard to their regular business is vital. It was suggested if the three towns and the Region can’t come to some agreement, it may become necessary to get the State involved.

Former Texaco Station:
Mark Lyon reported a group of people have been working toward the purchase of property in the center of the Depot formerly known as Vinnie’s Texaco station. The current owner had excavated under the floor of the building and it had received a clean bill of health from the DEEP and continues to be monitored. It is understood the property would remain in its current ownership as a non-profit. While the Commission felt this project would be a worthwhile addition to the village and provide more clean space, it was noted that it does not meet the criteria to be considered as open space and would not be eligible for Open Space funding. It had been suggested that the Board of Finance might consider an ex-budget appropriation toward this project. Michael Jackson noted the matter must first be recommended by the Board of Selectmen prior to consideration. Concerns were raised if this is the type of project for which Town funds should be used, that it would take away from further business use, that contamination issues may still remain, and it is in a flood zone. It was noted contamination issues would stay with the previous owner. Question was raised if the Town did provide funding would it become a partner. It was noted the Town funding would be assumed as a gift. It was noted the seller would have to provide insurance. It was suggested there should be a town-wide request for funding by the non-profit and that the Selectmen should come to a consensus on the matter before proceeding.

Request for Proposal:
Rex Swain suggested while a response had been received for writing Request for Proposal procedures from the Town’s auditor, this should be put out to bid as required by our Town Ordinance. He also requested a response from the auditor why the billing is now on an hourly basis rather than as a flat amount in the past. Rex felt there should be flat dollar amount.

Pension issues:
Fire/EMT Fund:
Rex Swain reported the trust document for the Firefighters/EMT account is being reviewed by the bank.

Town’s Defined Benefit Plan:
Rex Swain reported he had not heard back about closing the current Employee Defined Benefit Plan for new entrants. With regard to a Defined Contribution Plan, the Pension Committee has scheduled a meeting with the USB as to how it would work. The current idea is that this Plan and the current Employees’ 457 Plan could be handled by the same company, where the employees would choose their own investment accounts. The Pension Committee will continue their review.

Town Bidding:
Selectman Tony Bedini reported he felt the requirement to extend Invitations to Bid for projects estimated at $12,000 or more is inadequate at this point. A detailed description of work is now required, as well as hiring an architect. The scope of the work is beginning to cost as much as the project. It is difficult to get a local response because of the many requirements. He suggested $25,000. would be more realistic and would allow the use of local contractors for many smaller projects. Jack Boyer suggested contacting other communities for their requirements. This change to a Town Ordinance would require a vote at a town meeting. The Selectmen will continue addressing this issue.

The meeting was adjourned at 6:10 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Kathy Gollow, Finance Secretary



Posted: July 16, 2013

June 17, 2013


Corrected Minutes - Replaces minutes posted July 15


5:00 P.M.

Present:
Regular Members: Barbara Brown, A.J. DuBois, Michael Jackson and Craig Schoon, Rex Swain
Alternates: Liddy Adams
Selectmen: Mark Lyon, Richard Carey
Guests: Sally Cornell, Rex Collum

Appointment of Alternate:
Chairman Michael Jackson introduced Sally Cornell to the Board as a candidate for the position of Alternate. Sally noted her background for the Board members. The Board unanimously welcomed Sally as a new Alternate member of the Board.

Rex Swain noted he was unhappy with the appointment process followed and disagreed with the policy that the Board of Finance follows for filling vacancies. Michael Jackson noted the Board follows the State Statutes as required in CGS 7-343, which allows the Board of Finance to fill a vacancy on their Board until the next scheduled election

Suspense List:
The Board approved the Suspense List as provided by Tax Collector Tanya Wescott. The Suspense List includes those taxes that are no longer assets to the Town, but remain collectible.

Tax Collector - Retirement:
Tanya Wescott has indicated she plans to retire from the position of Tax Collector prior to the November elections and will be leaving office as of December 1. It was noted the newly-elected person may not have any experience in a position of this type, but Tanya has indicated she is willing to return to be of assistance for a while. She has outlined step-by-step procedures to be followed and a job description has been written. The Board noted their appreciation for Tanya’s excellent work.

Auditor:
It was noted the audit for the Town must be bid in accordance with Town Ordinances.

Treasurer’s Report:
Accepted as submitted.

Financials:
First Selectman Mark Lyon reported most expenditures for the 2012-2013 fiscal year are in line with the budget and he anticipates a small surplus for the year. He did note one area that may exceed the budget line item is in the Police area. Upon checking with the State, it was reported the State’s benefit package is more than they had originally anticipated prior to the current year’s budget deliberations. This will be reviewed with the auditor.

Assessor:
The position of Assessor will also become vacant at the end of June. Everyone wished our current Assessor Barbara Johnson well and noted their appreciation of the fine job she has done on behalf of the Town for many years. Barbara’s replacement will be Delisse Mocher, currently an assistant to the Assessor of Torrington. Her salary will be $43,000, she is well qualified, and the Town looks forward to a successful change in this position.

Education:
Members from each of the three Boards of Finance and Selectmen will join in reviewing the long-range planning options for the Region. All options in excess of $70,000,000 have been eliminated. Michael Jackson noted the impact on individual town’s balance sheets and the towns’ rating with regard to the $70 million dollar option. It was suggested that a consolidated school would be the best long-term investment but they did not feel the idea of floating a $70 million bond would be good at this time. It has been quite a process but they are further along than we have ever been. The Committee will proceed to the Board of Education with a basic recommendation that building a new Pre-K – 5 building at the Shepaug campus should be considered. They would then work on a schedule of funding and repairs on the Middle High School. Costs have been run out twenty years. Whether the Board of Education will consider their suggestions under advisement is uncertain. This option is in the $30-35,000,000 range, but it will be necessary to get the feeling of where the voters are on their suggestions. It was again noted any change must be agreeable to the three towns and approved at a referendum. While combining classes may help with class size, it does not help with enrollment in the district. Cost per pupil is anticipated to be $55-60,000. in twenty years at the current status. The main issue is what can be done about the demographics as a whole. The school administration has sent a survey to all realtors in the Region’s three towns as it was felt they are experienced with property values. One question was how integral is the choice of school. It was noted many residents already send their children to private schools by choice. Mark Lyon noted one of the most cost effective items that should be substantiated would be if the middle-high school were to be closed and how the students would be accommodated. A cost-wise analysis could be run and most likely a large savings could be realized, but this is probably not something the Board of Education would entertain at this point. It will be a very difficult decision for the Board to make. Regarding the Education budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year, it was noted there most likely be a modest surplus.

Pension:
Rex Swain reported the Pension Committee continues to consider several possibilities in the interest of cost, safety and the future of the Pension Plan: a new defined contribution plan, combining the current 457 Plan with the Town’s Pension Plan, as well as developing fund options that employees may choose, which would remove some of the responsibility from the Pension Committee. The Committee will continue to seek legal advice to insure the protection of the Town’s Pension Plan, as well as the Firefighters/EMTs Plan with Robinson & Cole. The Committee also has met with USB regarding investments. They are pleased with the job they are doing.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:45 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Kathy Gollow, Finance Secretary


Posted: july 4, 2013

May 20, 2013


Special Meeting
5:00 P.M.

PRESENT:
Regular Members: Jack Boyer, Barbara Brown, A.J. DuBois, Michael Jackson and Craig Schoon
Alternates: Liddy Adams and Ted Bent
Selectmen: Mark Lyon, Tony Bedini, Richard Carey
Treasurer: Linda McGarr
Guests: Washington Community Housing Trust: R.W. Fairbairn

Chairman Michael Jackson called the Special Meeting to order at the request of the Board of Selectmen to consider the Washington Community Housing Trust’s request for $250,000 from the Town to be used towards the purchase of the Vincent house and property on Mygatt Road. Finance member Jack Boyer recused himself as a member of the Washington Community Housing Trust and Alternate Liddy Adams recused herself as a member of the Town Housing Commission.

The Town Housing Commission originally submitted a request to the Selectmen for $50,000 to be used toward repairs to the existing house on the property. The Selectmen felt this was fairly documented. After meeting with both the WCHT and the Town Housing Commission, the Selectmen felt it would be more successfully renovated with the sum of $75,000.

The Selectmen had originally felt it would be in the best interest of the WCHT to borrow $250,000 for the purchase of this house and property. This was done with a one-term note that the WCHT has owned for a year. At the end of the year, the WCHT was still unable to raise enough private funds for the project; but they felt they had made a commitment, had borrowed the money, and now needed assistance from the Town.

Michael Jackson questioned why the Trust still wanted the Town’s assistance if they were unable to raise enough private money for the project. The WCHT noted that in order to proceed with the project, remortgaging would be required; yet, they were not comfortable with the amount of the payments that would be required. Michael asked if the Town were to provide funding to remortgage when a return of these funds to the Town could be expected.

First Selectman Mark Lyon noted the Trust is in need of a $50-75,000 infusion of funds. This would allow them to sell the two lots and repair the house. He noted while the Town does not want to be a landlord, this would be a grant to get the project off the ground. He noted they would ask for an extension on this loan. Walter Whitney, Chairman of the WCHT, has secured short-term funding that would bridge the gap. The result would be that the Town would end up with the property as a potential agreement between the two entities.

Michael Jackson still had two concerns: That the Town was being put in a position that if the funds were was not raised by the Trust, there would be a financial issue with which to deal, and there could be an assessment of the Housing Trust’s decision-making. He noted limited equity housing is a real issue in the Town; and while the property looks like it might work, he is puzzled why no money has been exchanged.

Bill Fairbairn gave a brief synopsis back to 2001 on the Town Housing Study, including the establishment of the Town Housing Commission and the Washington Community Housing Fund, the understanding that the Town had to come up with a plan for a number of homes and the understanding that there would be an agreement between the Housing Trust and the Town Housing Commission. He noted if the WCHT is able to purchase the property at $245,000, the Trust would fix up the house and sell it. Funds from the sale of the house would be used to provide the infrastructure for the other two lots.

Michael was still concerned about the sequence of these things – that no one had come forward with funds or real estate information and would it be sold at an affordable price? Bill noted the Trust would continue to own the land and lease the property to the three home owners. He suggested the homes would sell at $160-$180,000, 80% of the areas’ median income, for a total of $480,000. Michael questioned if the Town put up $250,000, where would the proceeds go when they came in. Financial control of the process would need to be reviewed.

It was agreed to take the matter to a town meeting for a decision to be reached. The Board agreed to endorse this proposal and proceed to a town meeting.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:55 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Kathy Gollow, Finance Secretary



Posted: May 20, 2013

May 16, 2013


Special Meeting
7:30 P.M.

Chairman Michael Jackson called the meeting to order immediately following the Town Meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to set the mill rate for the 2013-14 fiscal year.

PRESENT:
Regular Members: Jack Boyer, A. J. DuBois, Michael Jackson, Craig Schoon
Alternate Member: Ted Bent

MILL RATE:
Following discussion of Town reserves, past and future income and expenses, and next year’s revaluation, Jack Boyer made a motion to increase the mill rate by ¼ mill from 11.5 to 11.75 mills for the 2013-2014 fiscal year. Michael Jackson seconded the motion. The motion was unanimously passed.

Washington Community Housing Trust Proposal:
A request for funding in the amount of $285,000 from the Town’s Affordable Housing Fund towards the purchase of the Vincent Farm property on Mygatt Road was received from the Washington Community Housing Trust. This matter will be discussed at a Special Board of Finance meeting scheduled for May 20th at 5:00 p.m.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:45 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Kathy Gollow
Finance Secretary



Posted: July 4, 2013

May 2, 2013


Budget Hearing

Present:
Members: A. J. DuBois, Craig Schoon, Jack Boyer,
Alternates: Ted Bent, Liddy Adams
Selectmen: Mark Lyon, Tony Bedini, Richard Carey
Guests: Peter Tagley Liddy Adams and Ted Bent were seated for the Budget Hearing. Liddy Adams served as Chair for the Hearing. The Budget Hearing was called to order at 7:30 p.m.

General Fund Budget Proposal:
Mark Lyon noted the General Fund budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year was proposed at $4,228,752, an increase of .5%. A proposed 2% wage increase was included. He noted the Selectmen had been able to maintain health insurance at a flat rate due to a change in the Plan and decreasing the deductible.

Public Safety:
Mark reported Public Safety is the largest increase in the budget, with increases in the Fire Marshal, Fire Company and Police budget requests. He noted the Fire Marshal’s is a catch-up more than anything else, and Fire Marshal Tom Osborne has made great strides with keeping up with the increased number of required inspections. Hours have been increased to complete the necessary work to comply with State regulations.

Highways:
Peter Tagley requested review of the the Highway area line items. He did not feel the additional appropriation of $600,000 proposed for road repair seemed enough to take care of Highway expenses. It was explained that over the past two years the First Selectman and Highway Director have provided a long-range plan to address the Highway needs. A re-do of the entire town roads was originally estimated at $5,000,000. Last year, through discussions between the Boards of Selectmen and Finance, it had been agreed to endorse a long-range plan of $600,000 per year over a 5-year period for Highway Department expenses. Much discussion had revolved around whether to bond the expenses or to pay expenses on a cash basis. It was agreed that the proposed $600,000/year would be voted on each year over the five-years anticipated. During the past year, $294,000 of these funds had been spent on replacing trucks due to the fire in the town garage. The use of these funds had been approved at a town meeting. A used roller will be purchased for $15,545 and the body of a small dump truck that had been received from the Town of Bolton after the fire will be refurbished. Proposed roads for rehab are: Baldwin Hill Road, Hinckley Road, New Preston Hill, the New Preston Firehouse parking area, Calhoun Street, Findley Road and Fenn Hill Road. The long-range plan will continue into its second year through 2014/15. Peter felt the Town does a good job on the roads.

Probate:
Nicholas Solley questioned why Probate costs have increased from $4,448 to $6,549. Mark noted the costs are based on the grand lists of the member towns in the Probate District in accordance with State mandate. Additional expenses had been requested for shelving that is required in the Probate Office vault.

Car Tax:
Peter Tagley questioned the Governor’s proposal regarding the removal of car tax receipts from the towns and given directly to the State. Mark noted the effect on the Town, if any, would be shown on the revenue side of the budget; however, he felt it does not look as if the Governor’s proposal will be approved by the legislature.

Region #12 School Budget:
Washington’s percentage of the Regional School District budget will decrease from 45.21% to 44.48% due to a decline in student population. This budget will be voted on separately from the Town’s at a Referendum scheduled for May 7, 2013.

2013-2014 Proposed Capital Fund Budget:
First Selectman Mark Lyon presented the initial Capital Fund budget at $1,246,000. He requested an additional $3,500 be added to the Computer Upgrade line item as a new server had been purchased the previous year and a number of computer upgrades are required that are compatible with the new system. This was agreeable to the Board and the proposed Capital request for the 2013-14 fiscal year was amended from $1,246,000 to $1,249,500.

ASAP:
With regard to the ASAP program, Mark noted the original request for $5,000 that had been removed from the budget had been replaced in this line item for $2,500. This amount was based on the amount the Town donates to regional youth sports programs. Rachel D. of ASAP represented Joann Torti, Director of ASAP. She thanked the Selectmen for the fund replacement of $2,500; however, she also noted they still wish to request the $5,000 be returned to the budget again.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:10 p.m. The Town Meeting to vote on the proposed budget is scheduled for May 16th at 7:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Kathy Gollow, Selectmen’s Assistant



Posted: May 2, 2013

April 22, 2013


Budget Work Session

Present:
Members: Jack Boyer, Barbara Brown, A. J. DuBois, Michael Jackson, Craig Schoon, Rex Swain
Alternates: Liddy Adams, Ted Bent
Selectmen: Mark Lyon, Tony Bedini, Richard Carey
Treasurer: Linda McGarr
Guests: 2013-14 Budget: Gunn Library/Museum – Tyler Smith, ASAP - John Millington, Joanna Torti

Board of Finance Chairman Michael Jackson called the meeting to order at 5:00 p.m.


2013-2014 Proposed General Fund Budget Discussion:

ASAP:
John Millington requested the Board of Selectmen reconsider the After School Arts Program for funding in the amount of $5,000 in the proposed General Fund Budget for 2013-14. He suggested this program is of great benefit to the Town and noted there are hundreds of people involved with their programs.

Joanne Torti, Director of the Program, also noted her concern that the line item remained removed from the proposed budget. She noted the importance of Washington’s support and reported she had received 150 signatures on a petition to that effect. She also noted that students of Region 12 receive a discount of 27% for programs, plus transportation; and the ASAP is more than an educational program for the schools - it is community-minded and an enormous benefit to the town. Their total budget is $600,000, with $15,000 requested from Region 12 and an additional $5,000 from each town. (It was noted the Town also pays approximately 50% of the Regional School budget, which would equate to another $7,500 that is being provided by the Town.) Ms. Torti reported ASAP provides $100,000 worth of programs for the children of Region 12; and that although Washington did not provide funding for the current year, the students from Washington were treated the same as other students from the Region.

First Selectman Lyon reported he has explained the budget process to Ms. Torti in that the Selectmen receive many requests and have tried to maintain a level in the taxes as much as possible for the taxpayers. Chairman Jackson noted that amending line items in the Selectmen’s budget is not in the purview of the Board of Finance, but rather that of the Selectmen. Jack Boyer suggested Washington is the only town of the three Regional towns not supporting this program and suggested “Let us not be cheap.” The Selectmen will address this issue at a future budget work session.


Gunn Memorial Library and Museum:
Tyler Smith, financial advisor for the Gunn Library and Museum, updated the Board and described in detail their financial situation, noting they have maintained an austerity budget in an effort to keep costs down. In addition to revenue received from the Town and their endowment, they rely on funding from the Antique Show, their Annual Appeal and the Library Luminaries. Prior to 2008, they had done well with their fundraising and investment income had been higher. Since then the fund-raising has been essentially flat. While the Antique Show indicated that younger people may not be buying antiques as in the past, thanks to the generosity of the Washington Primary School for the use of their space, the previous year’s show had been bigger, presented better, and a huge success in every way, except the bottom line. Previously in 2008, the capital campaign had raised $2.5 million; currently they are only seeing a 2-3% growth. He noted endowment has come back surprisingly well.

Mr. Smith suggested that money is not saved by cutting services. Instead, they are now doing their own investing and now have co-managers for the Antique Show instead of paying a professional show manager. They again have permission to use the Washington Primary School. The members of the Board recognized the Library/Museum in maintaining their fiscal responsibilities and appreciated their efforts.


Taxes:
The certified list of uncollectible taxes for transfer to the suspense tax book was approved by the Board pursuant to CGS 12-165 in the amount of $10,368.91. Approximately $25,000 in taxes has been collected on newly-finished buildings. (attached)


Treasurer:
Treasurer Linda McGarr reported she has been seeking higher interest income for the Town accounts; however, she noted there is not a lot out there. Thus far, general income has been received in excess of the amount budgeted. Property tax receipts are below the budgeted line item but Linda anticipates tax collections will meet the budget by the end of the year. Most expenses are in line at the end of the 3rd fiscal quarter.


Education:
The future of the area regional school districts was discussed and it was agreed the shrinking population in all the districts is a huge problem. Candidates for the four Board of Education positions representing Washington on the Region #12 Board will meet on April 23rd at 7:30 p.m. to answer questions and introduce themselves to the public. Linda McGarr questioned if closing the school and/or consolidating with another Region would be considered.


Proposed Town Budget:
With regard to the proposed 2013-14 General Fund budget, it is hoped that a 0 to 1/4 mil rate increase could be attained. The decision to include $600,000 for Road Repair/Reconstruction will be considered on an annual basis. Rex Collum suggested the collection forecasts are very conservative at 98%. Discussion was held as to how the proposed revaluation could affect the tax issue, but it was felt if the Grand List is down, the mil rate could be adjusted. Per pupil expenditures is approximating $29,000/pupil.


Nonrecurring Capital Projects:
Craig Schoon made a motion to return $92,863 from the Nonrecurring Capital Fund to the General Fund for projects that have been completed. Barbara Brown seconded the motion. Motion unanimously passed. (See attachment to minutes.)


Taxes:
The Tax Collector’s list of certified uncollectible taxes for transfer to the suspense tax book was reviewed and approved by the Board pursuant to CGS 12-165 in the amount of $10,368.91. Liddy Adams acknowledged she had reviewed this recommendation with the Tax Collector and approved the proposal.


Senior Center:
Discussion was held on the condition of the Senior Center. It was noted there is little space for programs/projects other than the Senior Center Office. The building has been shared with the Legion for many years and it has been suggested it would be more pleasant if the Seniors had a place of their own. The options will be examined in depth and considered a long-range project.


Town Pension Plan & Fire/EMT Award Program:
Barbara Brown noted the need for review of the trust agreements for the Town Pension Plan, as well as the Fire and EMT programs. Concern had been raised that these funds could be attached by a creditor. The Pension Committee acknowledged the concern and agrees. These programs will be reviewed for their safety. It was noted that the Fire and EMT Award Programs do not fall under the same requirements as the Town Employee Pension Plan and is an unprotected fund.

With regard to the Town Employees’ Pension Plan, the Pension Committee of Barbara Brown, Rex Swain and Craig Schoon reported they have been in discussion regarding the future of the current defined benefit plan that covers the Town employees. Noting concern for future Town expenses, they suggested a Defined Contribution Plan be considered for new employees hired in the future as an improvement for the Town in estimating future costs. Current municipal employees would continue under the Defined Benefit Plan. Rex noted it is the Pension Committee’s suggestion that we need to make an improvement in that direction. 1. To save money. 2. To better predict future costs. Currently, it is difficult to budget this item for the future of the Plan. A defined contribution plan would allow the Town to know what the future pension cost would be. He suggested it is very complicated as it now stands.


The meeting was adjourned at 6:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Kathy Gollow, Board of Finance Secretary



Posted: May 10, 2013

April 8, 2013


BUDGET WORK SESSION

The meeting was called to order at 5 p.m.

Present:
Finance: Michael Jackson, A.J. DuBois, Liddy Adams (alt.).
Selectmen: Mark Lyons, Tony Bedini, Richard Carey
Guests: Jack Field, Mark Showalter, Kevin Smith

Fire Co:
Fire Chief Mark Showalter described the WFVD’s request for the 2013-2014 General Fund budget. He noted the officers review current and proposed projects and expenditures with regard to equipment replacement, anticipated repairs, testing, and general maintenance. The number of firefighters has increased and more personal protective gear was required during the current fiscal year.

The following line items were discussed:
#1 Utilities: $32,000. Increased electric and heating costs.

#2 Facilities Maintenance: $18,000. Bi-weekly cleaning. An increase was requested to assist in maintaining cleanliness in the firehouses, which has been done by the firefighters in the past. Due to the increased use of the buildings and training required for both fire and ambulance personnel, etc., Mark feels it is difficult to ask volunteers to also clean the building. Mark noted the EMT’s have agreed to cover one-third of the costs and will reimburse the Fire Co. or the Town for their share of the expenditure.

#3 Vehicle & Eqpt. Maintenance: $50,000. More repairs are anticipated as the trucks, chassis and pumps are getting older.

3A Diesel Fuel: $5,800.

#4 Equipment Replacement: $13,500. Replacement of small items (hose, pagers, radios, pumps) that become damaged due to use.

#5 SCBA Maintenance and Repairs: $7,000. Annual testing and quarterly air sample testing of the 25 packs is required to maintain the SCBA program. Also, costs to cover repairs, if necessary.

#6 Physical Exams and Hepaititis B Inoculations: $15,000. This line item includes physicals that are required for new firefighters and to provide flu shots if necessary for medical respondents. Costs are budgeted at $200/firefighter @ $60/firefighter. Flu shots would also be provided for medical respondents.

#7 Award Program: $15,000 requested, based on $500/person. 23 have qualified = $11,500 budgeted.

#8 Training: $7,200.

#9 Medical Supplies: $2,000.

Total General Fund Fire: $162,000

Capital Fund: (Fire)

Engine 5 Replacement. $300,000.

Personal Protective Gear (6 sets). $20,000.

Hose Replacement: $5,000.

Extrication Tool: $25,000.

Thermal Imaging Camera: $15,000.

Total Fire Company Capital Expense Approved: $365,000.

Respectfully submitted,
Kathy Gollow, Selectman’s Ass’t.



Posted: May 10, 2013

April 1, 2013


Budget Work Session

Present: Members: Jack Boyer, Barbara Brown, A. J. DuBois, Michael Jackson, Craig Schoon, Rex Swain
Alternates: Liddy Adams, Ted Bent
Selectmen: Mark Lyon, Tony Bedini, Richard Carey
Treasurer: Linda McGarr

Board of Finance Chairman Michael Jackson called the Budget Work Session to order at 5:00 p.m.

Pension Funds:
Craig Schoon reported the Pension Committee had met with the USB representatives regarding the Town’s Pension investment guidelines. These were discussed and it was agreed to follow the recommendations as set forth.

The Board addressed the auditor’s concern regarding the possibility that Fire/EMT Award Program Funds might be attached in the event the Town was sued. The trustee will be asked to provide a statement for the auditor concerning this and a legal opinion will be obtained to address the matter. It was noted these plans are separate and exempt from the Town Employee’s Pension Funds, which is protected. $500/firefighter/EMT is provided.

Budget:
The Selectmen updated the Finance Board on the work on the proposed 2013-2014 budget. Mark Lyon noted the biggest increase will be in the Public Safety area in the Fire Marshal’s and Fire Company’s budgets. It is anticipated the Fire Marshal’s duties will be extended from 8 to 16 hours/week, which the Selectmen felt was legitimate. More than 300 inspections are required in town annually. In addition, new construction for public buildings and schools is also required. Plans must be approved for final inspections for a certificate of occupancy.

Fire Department:
Increases in the Fire Co. utilities are expected. Facility maintenance and environmental testing were increased as were vehicle and equipment maintenance and repair.

Police:
Resident Trooper Steven Sordi has recommended that Town officer Scott Flaton’s excellent performanceover the past five years be recognized and his salary be increased to the same level commensurate with the other police officer.

Assessor:
Currently, this position is a 4-day/week position, which will be increased to five days/week. Fewer hours will be budgeted for a clerk.

Treasurer:
Increase suggested due to more responsibility and more accounts.

Fire Department:
Increase in maintenance of building.
The Board requested representatives from the Fire Co., Fire Marshal, Highway Department, and Library, be asked to leave as trimmed down. It is not ours to overrule. They have significant portion of what money and private money. No one has questioned the value of their program. What do you do for others that provide services.

Rex: P&R: The bottom line?

Probate Court:
Based on size of the Grand List from the Regional Probate Office in Southbury. Increased shelving is required in their vault.

BAA Increase in time for their clerk due to reval year.

Police – No union. Increase in salary to make comparable salary level for both officers. Performed well. Two town police officers. To bring into line with other officer. Fullly-trained – risk that he might leave for another department.

Michael Jackson suggested contract be signed to guarantee they will continue for a specific amount of time to alleviate the risk of losing them to other departments. Trooper Sordi feels Officer Flaton is a very valuable commodity to other police eparmtents. Contract obligation suggested for at least two years. We like what you have done. We rely on our Resident Trooper. Writing a contract is tricky. . :

Adjournment: The work session was adjourned at 6:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Kathy Gollow
Board of Finance Secretary



Posted: March 8, 2013

February 25, 2013


Present:
Members: Jack Boyer, Barbara Brown, Michael Jackson,Rex Swain
Alternates: Liddy Adams, Arthur DuBois
Selectmen: Tony Bedini, Richard Carey
Treasurer: Linda McGarr

Board of Finance Chairman Michael Jackson called the meeting to order at 5:00 p.m.

Minutes:
Minutes of the February meeting were accepted as submitted.

Meeting Dates for 2013:
It was noted the proposed Board of Finance meeting dates had been amended for April from April 15th to April 22nd.

Tax Collector’s Report:
The Tax Collector’s Report through January 31st indicated 94.93% of anticipated taxes for the current year have been collected. The Report was unanimously accepted. The possibility that taxes on vehicles may be eliminated by the State for the next fiscal year was discussed. The difference in income to the Town would currently equate to approximately $478,000 +/-.

Treasurer’s Report:
The Treasurer’s monthly report was approved. Linda McGarr reported she had moved interest that had accumulated in the Bond Account into the General Fund. The interest had accumulated from funds derived from driveway bonds and land use commission bonds. The Treasurer’s Report was accepted as submitted.

Town Accounts:
The Town accounts were reviewed and unanimously accepted.

Proposed 2013-2014 Budget:
The Selectmen have begun budget work sessions and will meet with various departments, etc. over the coming months to prepared the General Fund and Capital Budgets for the coming fiscal year.

Education - Budget:
Liddy Adams reported she had attended a recent IT presentation for the three primary schools. She noted this was the first time we have been involved with the Education line-by-line budget discussion and there are certain State mandates for which the towns are responsible. She felt the Superintendent is addressing the many problems and is making the effort which she recognized as productive. The Region has done the lion’s share of the work in creating their budget. The biggest proposal for the Region will be the revamping of technology. The Business Manager had reported on the opportunity to obtain last year’s prices for the coming school year. Things that are obsolete will be removed; and teachers, freshmen and sophomore students will receive laptop computers. There will be sharing among the three schools. A large item in the WPS budget will be the one-time expense to replace climbing ropes. The big increases will be in both Booth and Burnham, while the WPS costs will increase by less than 2%.

Education - Long-Range Planning:
Michael reported the Long-Range Planning Committee continues to study available options for the future of the Region. He had noted his concern that he did not feel the School Board should come to a decision to go to referendum without previously going to the three Boards of Finance, to which the Chairman agreed. He also does not feel the towns are interested in spending more money or making changes at high speed with a declining enrollment before options are fully studied and test score reviewed.

2011-2012 Audit:
Michael Jackson made a motion to approve the 2011-2012 fiscal year Town audit as provided by Charles Heaven & Co., Inc. of Waterbury, CT. Barbara Brown seconded the motion. Motion approved unanimously.

Documentation of Accounting Procedures:
Discussion regarding the formal documenting of procedures was addressed. It was felt this would be a more costly matter than initially perceived and an invitation to bid would be required. Jack Boyer made a motion that an Invitation to Bid be extended for a formal written documentation of the financial/accounting procedures and policies for the Town. Michael Jackson seconded the motion. The motion was unanimously passed. It was also suggested financial management with regard to the pension fund should also be included; however, it was also noted financial matters regarding pensions are completed by Pension Consultants as well as the financial institution holding the pension funds.

Pension Committee:
Rex Swain reported the Pension Committee had met with the Town’s representatives from the Union Savings Bank and reviewed the investments for the Town, Fire and EMT Pension funds. Concern had been raised that the assets could be attached as part of the Town. It was suggested that the three funds are considered separate and apart from Town funds and are in trust for town employees and volunteer fire and emt personnel. A representative from the bank will be asked to contact the Town’s attorney for his opinion on this matter.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:35 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Kathy Gollow, Secretary



Posted: February 20, 2013

January 28, 2013


Chairman Michael Jackson called the meeting to order at 4:57 p.m.

Present:
Regular Members: Jack Boyer, Rex Swain, Gary Fitzherbert, Michael Jackson, Craig Schoon
Alternate Members: A. J. DuBois, Ted Bent
Selectmen: Mark Lyon, Richard Carey
Treasurer: Linda McGarr

Minutes:
Jack Boyer suggested an amendment to the minutes of the December, 2012 meeting to add that Chairman Michael Jackson had noted his concern that the Board would need some resolution of the Regional School issues before considering an expense of the scope suggested for moving the town garage site, etc. that had been discussed at the previous Finance meeting. This amendment was approved and is shown in bold lettering of the December minutes on the website. Thank you, Jack!


Tax Collector’s Report:
The Tax Collector’s report for the period ending 12/31/2012 was accepted as submitted.


Treasurer’s Report:
The Treasurer’s Report for the period ending 12/31/2012 was accepted as submitted.


Audit:
Mr. Enrico Melaragno of Charles Heaven & Co., Inc. presented the audited financial statements and supplemental financial data for the year ending June 30, 2012. He described in detail the audit findings for each Fund and the requirements relating to each, noting the audit had been completed according to GAAP and GASB 34 standards.

The General Fund Balance for the year ending June 30, 2012 approximated 20% of the year’s budget. The previous year ending June 30, 2011 had been 19%. Mr. Melaragno noted a balance of 7-15% should be maintained. He noted a well-prepared Management Discussion & Analysis had been prepared by Dennis Dix of Dixworks on behalf of the Town. The report on compliance indicated no reportable instances of noncompliance.

The audit suggested the Town does not have a formal Accounting Procedure Manual. It is recommended this be developed and implemented to define systems and procedures to be followed for each of the fund types for the General Ledger, Cash Receipts Journal, Cash Disbursements Journal, Journal Entry Register with sample accounting entries, budgetary procedures, supporting data required, internal controls, required internal management reports, required external reports and procedures for updating the manual. Mr. Melaragno suggested the manual would facilitate accounting procedures used by various personnel to continue accounting for ongoing programs. The Board agreed and will contract a vendor to assist in the preparation of the manual.

The Board discussed the Town’s Affordable Housing Fund. It was noted the Town’s Housing Commission may make recommendations for expenditures of thed funds for the specific purchased of land and related cost used to provide affordable housing. It was noted the Town’s n Affordable Housing Fund is a separate entity from the Washington Community Housing Trust.

The extraordinary occurrences of the town garage fire and town hall explosion during the past year were discussed, noting the Town’s insurance coverage and assistance through CIRMA has been positive.

The Town Employee Pension Plan and the Volunteer Fire and EMT Award Plans were also discussed. These do not affect the budget but will be reviewed with Counsel to insure their safety. It was noted 46 slots in the fire company are filled and the Town is extremely appreciative for the volunteer services of both the Fire Company and the EMT’s.

The Board accepted the Audit Report for the 2011-2012 fiscal year as provided by Charles Heaven & Co. They noted their sincere appreciation to Mr. Melaragno for his informative discussion on the Town’s responsibilities and financial standing.

Legal Litigation Fund:
Michael Jackson made a motion to transfer $5,000 to the Legal Litigation Fund. The motion was seconded by Jack Boyer and unanimously passed.


The meeting was adjourned at 6:18 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Kathy Gollow
Finance Secretary



Meetings in 2012