The Board met on January 18th to finalize its own board budget for the upcoming 2017-2018 fiscal year. The Board’s first order of business was to hear a request from the Board of Selectmen to transfer $53,899 from the Capital & Nonrecurring account to the Capital & Nonrecurring account for Police Cars & Equipment.
First Selectman Susan Chapman explained that the funds were a surplus left over from the purchase of two public works vehicles. The Board of Selectmen moved those extra funds into the Capital & Nonrecurring account at its meeting on the 12th. The funds were originally earmarked for the purchase of two police cars. One was purchased and now the Board is looking to purchase the second. The funds would provide for a fully outfitted car. The BOF unanimously approved the appropriation of $53,899 to be moved to the Capital & Nonrecurring account for Police Cars & Equipment go pending approval at a town meeting to be held at 7:00 pm on January 26.
BOF Chairman Wes Marsh reported that after a discussion with the Town’s auditor, PKF O’Connor Davies, LLP, they have agreed to keep their fee at the same amount as the previous three years ($52,000). Since their work has been very satisfactory to the Board, it unanimously approved the retention of O’Connor Davies for fiscal year 2016-17.
A discussion of the Board’s own budget for 2017-2018 followed. The four elements of the budget are Salaries, Town Auditor, Materials & Supplies, and the Contingency Fund. Discussion began with the Contingency Fund. Chairman Marsh distributed information on contingency funds in other Connecticut towns as a frame of reference. The Town’s $33,000 contingency fund is the lowest of any of the towns listed. Amounts other towns have in their funds varies widely as policies differ from town to town as do various departments funded by them (such as paid fire departments).
Chairman Marsh suggested building the contingency up to $100,000 over several years. Member Jane Landers pointed out that the Town has never had to dip into the Contingency Fund and did not see the need to increase it. This thought was echoed my Board Member John Hodge. Board Member Cheryl Reedy observed that there is flexibility within the budget to transfer any surplus funds wherever they are needed and the BOS does a good job managing that.
Mr. Hodge noted that the Town is realistic in its budget projections and that when there is a crisis, the previous few administrations have instituted budget freezes until a crisis situation is over. The contingency fund is only used when all other options have been exhausted. In the end, it was determined that the Contingency Fund remain at $33,000 for the coming year.
Following the discussion, the Board voted unanimously to approve the Board of Finance budget for fiscal year 2017-18 as follows: Recording Secretary Salary $2,323; Town Auditor $52,000; Materials & Supplies $3,000; Town Contingency Fund $33,000.
The Board reviewed the updated invoice from the current insurance consultant, Gallagher Benefit Services, Inc. The firm provided better detailed itemization. The total owed was $7,200.54. After some discussion a motion was made to pay it and the motion was approved.
Chairman Marsh indicated that the RFP period for an insurance consultant ended January 17. The Town received bids from Gallagher, USI, and Lockton. The next step is to review the bids, which selected Board members will do over the coming month. The next step will be to have each company present and answer Board questions.
By Greg Slomba