Wellfleet Board of Selectmen/Finance Committee
Minutes of Joint Budget Meeting
January 31, 2005
Library Meeting Room
Present: Board of Selectmen – Ira Wood, Chair; Dale Donovan, Michael May, Helen Miranda Wilson
Absent: Jerry Houk
Finance Committee – Berta Bruinooge, Chair; William Carlson, Arlene Kirsch, Patricia Foley, John Makely, Nancy Bone, Mac Hay, Sylvia Smith
Absent: Carl Caruso
Also attending: Tim Smith, Town Administrator; Marilyn Crary, Town Accountant
The meeting of the Board of Selectmen was called to order by Chair Ira Wood at 7:00 p.m. Town Moderator Daniel Silverman introduced William Carlson, the new member of FinCom to the assembly.
# 300 Wellfleet Elementary School – Superintendent Michael Gradone and Principal Teecia Kent presented a revised WES budget which complies to a 3% increase. An educational assistant has been hired for Special Needs, but a full time teaching position has been eliminated through attrition. In response to Arlene Kirsch’s question about the governor’s redistribution of Education money, Gradone said that the Lower Cape was not likely to benefit, but it would be a good idea to lobby Shirley Gomes and Rob O’Leary so that state aid is not reduced. John Makely asked why there was such a big jump in the per pupil Special Needs expenditure. Gradone explained that three WES students exceed $30,000 per pupil, but the state “Circuit Breaker” program provides relief. The current
year’s refund is $25,000. Makely also asked what the P.T.A. contributes in fund raising. Gradone said there are large contributions from the P.T.A. Their Wellfleetopoly and Wellfleet Trivia games were very successful ventures which provided money for field trips, the breakfast program, cultural events and a discretionary fund for family aid. However, Kent pointed out these funds do not pay for teachers’ salaries.
Chairman of the School Committee Janis Plaue stated that the School Committee is unhappy with the large classes this year; they don’t want to keep losing teachers by attrition. Helen Miranda Wilson stated appreciation that WES stayed under budget.
#301 Nauset Regional School System – Superintendent Gradone reviewed the operating budget. He pointed out that Wellfleet’s enrollment is up for the first time in six years even though Nauset Region’s overall enrollment is down. The operating budget increase on line 12 stands at 2.89%. He is committed to keeping it under 3%. Capital requests totaled $459,000. The slate roof of the middle school is in dire need of repair. With liability issues in mind, James Chudomel, Representative to the Nauset Regional School Committee, identified the Nauset Regional Middle School roof, the Nauset Regional High School gym tiles and exterior doors as the most critical items on the list.
When Berta Bruinooge asked Gradone if he saw the Operating Budget numbers changing, he replied that hopefully they would drop from 2.89% to below 2.5%. Mac Hay asked about projected enrollment beyond 2006. Superintendent Gradone felt that while there was a decline on the whole, Wellfleet’s enrollment was creeping up.
Gradone had a Warrant Article that needs approval to change the Ed Reform’s formula of contribution to the regional district. Wellfleet is at a disadvantage with the formula because the state perceives Wellfleet as a wealthier town. The warrant article Gradone proposed would make the contribution on a per pupil basis. He presented House 4648, a petition from Brockton, as a model for changing to a per pupil system. The Nauset Regional School Committee already agrees that this would be an improvement, but it would require an annual vote by the BOS. A majority of member towns’ approval would be needed each year by December. Gradone verified for Town Moderator Silverman that Town Meeting would have to approve this. Town Administrator Tim Smith said that the tech school would still use the
Reform Ed formula.
#220 Fire – (Helen Miranda Wilson recused herself and moved away from the table.) Fire Chief Alan Hight distributed hand-outs for the Fire/EMS Department budget. Salaries for full time employees are up 3%; however, the call fire fighters are still in contract negotiations. His projected overtime figure of $132,864 was different from the Town Administrator’s figure. The overtime estimates were broken down on a separate hand-out. Holidays had increased by 3%. Stipend/call (line 519500) is level funded. Ambulance billing (line 530023) has a current rate of 5% of the funds collected. The anticipated figure is $20,000. Hight explained that this is an estimate, but the amount should be increasing. Marilyn Crary supplied a figure of $182,000 collected in the first six months of
Hight said he wants to fill three lieutenant slots in order to have one officer on each shift. Two full-time people will be going before the BOS for a promotion in January. One call fire fighter who passed the exams will also be promoted. Nancy Bone asked if this was included in the salary range. Hight said the figures were not included yet. Asked for a ball park figure, Hight estimated around $18,000.
Berta Bruinooge wanted to know what “Other Supplies” referred to and why it had an increase from $4,500 to $12,200 for FY06. Since Hight could not determine from his materials what this was, Chairman Wood asked that he get back to boards with an explanation of “Other Supplies.”
Wood asked why the Meals/lodging (line 571001) had increased. Hight indicated that a WEA contract clause provides for out of town training, and the staff receives reimbursement for mileage and meals.
Ira Wood asked what the percentage increase for Fire/EMS was. Tim Smith calculated 7%. Wood noted that there would be another $18,000 on top of this request when the lieutenant promotions were made.
# 241 Building– (Helen Miranda Wilson rejoined the meeting.) Building Commissioner Paul Murphy presented the Building Department budget. His requests match the Town Administrator’s recommendations. Salaries of full time personnel are by contract, but he proposes to increase part-time inspectors’ stipends. This can be achieved through higher permit fees. Tim Smith pointed out that the Building Department covers itself with revenue from permits.
# 510 Health and # 171 Conservation – When Conservation/Health Agent Emily Beebe came forward to present the budget, Arlene Kirsch thanked her for her service to the town amidst applause of great appreciation from everyone attending the meeting. Beebe said that both the Health and Conservation budgets were flat. She pointed out a decrease in contract services because the town no longer needs VNA since a local public health nurse is conducting the blood pressure and flu clinics in town.
Helen Miranda Wilson wanted to know what financial provisions were in place for the transition from Emily Beebe to a new Health Agent. Beebe and Smith explained that if no one had been hired before she leaves, Barnstable County will provide coverage and bill the town. Smith said he does not expect this to happen.
# 699 Beach – Suzanne Grout Thomas, Beach Administrator, presented the Beach budget. She said the additional week in June has paid for itself. She recommended at drop in the price of one-week stickers to $50 or $55. She also proposed a 3-day sticker at $30 offered at the lots. Motels already have these available to their clients. These are proposals she must bring to the BOS, but she was apprising the joint budget meeting of her ideas. Ira Wood wanted to know what “Tees for Resale” meant. The reference is to tee shirts which the department purchases and resells. It did not lose money on the Tees for Resale, according to Thomas.
Dale Donovan asked about charging a nominal fee for proof-of-stay forms. Thomas said that now that the beach sticker office is all computerized, they no longer need to keep the paper forms.
Snow Removal Figures
Tim Smith reported a deficit of $77,000 for snow removal. There will be some money from the state but that has not yet been allocated. Smith said the Town was essentially in the same position with snow removal as last year. Bruinooge remarked that it’s only February. Smith said there would be ways to handle the snow removal costs.
The Finance Committee separated from the BOS to hold its own meeting at 9:00 p.m.
Chairman Ira Wood decided to wait for approval of the minutes of the January 10, 2005 at another meeting.
Dale Donovan said that a new Cape Business magazine contained information of interest. He plans to make copies available to the rest of the Board.
Ira Wood asked for a motion to lift the state of emergency that had been in effect from the blizzard. Wilson made the motion to lift the snow emergency; Donovan seconded.
All voted in favor of lifting the state of emergency 4-0.
Wilson passed out two drafts to be considered at the next BOS meeting.
Wilson moved to adjourn; Donovan seconded: All voted to adjourn. The meeting of the Board of Selectmen adjourned at 9:10 p.m.
Mary Rogers, Committee Secretary
Berta Bruinooge, Chair Ira Wood, Chair
Finance Committee Board of Selectmen
Helen Miranda Wilson