Wellfleet Board of Selectmen/Finance Committee
Minutes of Joint Budget Meeting
February 14, 2005
Library Meeting Room
Present: Board of Selectmen – Ira Wood, Chair; Dale Donovan, Jerry Houk, Michael May, Helen Miranda Wilson
Finance Committee – Berta Bruinooge, Chair; Nancy Bone, William Carlson, Carl Caruso, Patricia Foley, Arlene Kirsch, Sylvia Smith
Also attending: Tim Smith, Town Administrator; Marilyn Crary, Town Accountant
Absent: Finance Committee – John Makely, Mac Hay
Chairman Ira Wood called the meeting to order at 7 p.m.
Wood said the first business of the meeting was for the Board of Selectmen to approve, amend and pass the Budget on to the Finance Committee.
In his introductory remarks, Town Administrator Tim Smith said that the fireworks are paid for through encumbered money from last year. He gave a $12,301 figure as Wellfleet’s portion to Nauset Regional Middle School and High School. This will be a separate stand-alone Article with a general override ballot question. He reviewed the Budget totals, including an additional $36,638 for Library, COA and the Accounting. He went over Article requests, correcting an amount for the Library extension to $50,000.
Wood asked about money left over from capping the Landfill. Smith said the actual amount won’t be known until the project is completed, but the money can be redesignated. That requires going to Town Meeting with a redesignation request.
FinCom Chair Berta Bruinooge posed some general questions for the Selectmen. She asked if they were comfortable going for a second override in two years. She also wondered what they envision for the next four or five years.
A lengthy discussion followed taking into consideration: avoiding overrides vs. funding them; expecting future overrides; making Budget cuts; doubling the override amount; avoiding depletion of the Reserve Fund; educating taxpayers about overrides; understanding individual override cost (about 25 cents per 41,000); anticipating expenses the Town cannot control (insurance and fuel, for example); estimating budgets more precisely; and not overburdening people who are struggling with increasing costs.
Dale Donovan made a motion to recommend the budget as presented with the additional $36,638 for Library, COA and Accounting. Mike May seconded the motion.
After the motion was made, there was more discussion concerning: separating items from the budget as individual ballot questions; redesignating surplus money from the Landfill capping; using a 24/7 Municipal Water person vs. Whitewater Services; understanding debt exclusion; procrastinating on upkeep of Town property; spotlighting new Warrant Articles; reviewing items in the Capital Improvement Plan (the packer truck came under particular scrutiny); and not asking for everything all at once.
Houk made a motion to amend the budget, making Library, COA and Accounting separate Articles. Wilson seconded the motion. The vote on the amendment carried 3-2.
The Board voted on the amended Budget motion which carried 5-0. The Budget was passed along to FinCom.
Next the BOS dealt with the ballot questions. Houk made a motion for the Fire acquisition of land. Wilson seconded the motion.
Donovan made a counter motion to have the Town Administrator prepare the ballot questions. May seconded the motion. Houk withdrew his motion, and the Board voted 5-0 in favor of the Town Administrator’s preparation of the ballot questions. The BOS will deal with the questions at its next meeting. Smith needed a commitment to the override. He said ballot questions, stated in the affirmative, need to have a 3-2 vote before they are passed on to FinCom.
Donovan made a motion to approve the Capital Budget of $1,484,128. May seconded the motion.
Wilson offered an amendment that the Capital Budget be approved with the exception of: the Library exterior lighting of $1,000; Town Hall windows at $38,000; a reduction from $20,000 to $10,000 for Recreation fields; and tennis courts at $19,000.
Recreation Director Rebecca Rosenberg explained the necessity of tennis court repair, and Wilson decided not to include the tennis court cut in her amendment.
Dawn Rickman called attention to the need of window repair in the 45-year old Town Hall. McIlroy spoke of the need of the exterior lighting at the Library. May attested to this and considered the Town’s liability if anything happened because of the lack of sufficient lighting. Wilson suggested talking to the Friends of the Library for help with the lighting.
Donovan spoke against Wilson’s Capital Budget amendment. He said it would only “prolong the agony,” not create a savings. He felt that when people pay more, they want to know what they got for it. They respond to improvements, he said.
Chairman Wood called the vote on the amendment to exclude the Library lighting and Town Hall windows, and reduce the amount for the Recreation fields. The amendment failed 1-4.
The vote on the Capital Budget as presented carried 5-0.
Capital Improvement Plan
Donovan moved to approve the Capital Improvement Plan; Wilson seconded. The vote to approve the CIP was unanimous 5-0.
Wilson announced that she had received a legal determination about approval of minutes of joint meetings. She said that the boards could approve separately and amend separately the same document.
Minutes of Feb. 7
Donovan made a motion to approve three sets of minutes from 1/10, 1/31 and 2/7. The motion was seconded, but when he realized that Jerry Houk had not attended all three meetings, he withdrew the motion. Houk moved to accept the minutes of 2/7/05 as amended. The motion did not carry.
Donovan made a motion to accept the minutes; May seconded, and the motion carried.
(Jerry Houk, not having attended the Jan. 10 or 31 meetings, left the meeting as had most of the Finance Committee.)
Minutes of January 10 and January 31
Donovan made a motion to approve the minutes of 1/10/05 and 1/31/05. May seconded.
Wilson made a motion to amend the minutes. There was no second.
Original motion to approve the minutes carried 3-1. (Wilson dissenting)
Carl Caruso FinCom’s liaison to the BOS remained to discuss the Shellfish Department’s purchase of a trailer with money left over from last year. Smith indicated that the purchase did not appear in the Capital Plan. He said sometimes needed items are bought that aren’t in the budget. The backhoe was another example of this.
Donovan made a motion to adjourn. May seconded the motion. The motion to adjourn carried 3-1. (Wilson dissenting) The meeting adjourned at 9:25 p.m.
Mary Rogers, Committee Secretary
Berta Bruinooge, Chair Ira Wood, Chair
Finance Committee Board of Selectmen
Helen Miranda Wilson