March 11, 2009
The Board of Finance held a special meeting on this date at the Wequetequock Fire Department meeting room. Members present were Glenn Frishman, Chairman; Andrew Rines, Secretary; Dudley Wheeler; John O’Brien; Bryan Bentz and Kevin Burns. Also present Maryanna Stevens, Director of Finance; First Selectman Edward Haberek; Superintendent Michael McKee; Board of Education and Town of Stonington staff and residents.
Mr. Frishman called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.
At this time Mr. Frishman addressed the audience with a general answer to calls and emails he and the other Board members have received regarding questions and suggestions with regard to the Board of Education budget. He stated that the Board of Finance does not have authority to address particular line items of the BOE budget.
Board of Education - Chairman John Bolduc made an opening statement. The FY 2009-2010 budget increase is 2.81% over the 08/09 fiscal year with the major increases being contractual in nature or are not controllable through the Board’s action, it does not include new programming. He added that the First Student bus contract was extended with a zero percent increase and they anticipate savings of $105,495 in renegotiated contracts for electrical and fuel purchases.
The following items were discussed: West Vine Street school principal elimination, projected student to teacher ratio, World Culture and Chinese programs, positions and programs cut at High School. Mr. Frishman asked for clarification on the School psychologist and Social worker positions and the possibility of contracting these services out. Mr. McKee replied that this has been addressed in the past and it is more beneficial and efficient to staff these positions. Several school staff present spoke to the benefits and services provided by the psychologists and social workers. Also discussed, Guidance counselors, coaches and eliminated sports.
Mr. Burns made a motion to accept the minutes of the February 18 meeting. …. Mr. Wheeler seconded the motion and voting was unanimous.
Members received copy of letter to Town Attorney Tom Londregan with regard to the Emergency Signal Pre-emption system replacement.
Members received October 1, 2008 Net Grand List information from Assessor Marsha Standish. Mr. Frishman made note and Mrs. Standish confirmed that the Motor Vehicle taxes are down statewide.
Mrs. Stevens provided for the members Revenue assumptions/ projections for FY 09/10. She added that she did not include Debt Service as it was used last year. Mr. Frishman stated that to get to a zero increase $1,779,938 would need to be cut from the proposed budget. Members discussed the Fund balance then Mr. Frishman asked the members where they feel adjustments are possible or necessary and how much. Messrs. Wheeler, O’Brien, Rines, Bentz and Burns agreed that cuts would need to be made to personnel, debt service and CIP. Mr. Frishman stated that Outside agencies might have to be reduced as well. Messrs. Wheeler, Rines and Frishman felt a zero increase was best, Messrs. Bentz and Burns felt a zero was best but wanted to be specific and Mr. O’Brien suggested a ½-mil increase or .29. Budget deliberations will begin Wednesday, March 18 at the Pawcatuck Middle School. Members also received a proposed schedule of dates for Town meetings and referendums.
Mr. O’Brien reported that the Certificate of Occupation is complete. Mr. Sartor, Building Committee chair was present and stated that he would provide this for the Board of Education.
Mr. Wheeler reported that the WPCA operational review is underway.
There being no further business to come before the Board, Mr. Wheeler made a motion to adjourn. Mr. Rines seconded the motion and the meeting was unanimously adjourned at 8.43 p.m.
Andrew W. Rines