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Finance Board Minutes 01/15/2015

Town of Holland, MA—Finance Board      
                               Meeting Minutes

                                            January 15, 2014  

Call To Order
The Chairman called to order a meeting of the Holland Finance Board at 7:30 PM on January 15, 2014 in the Holland Town Hall.
Roll Call
Finance Board Members present:  Andrew Harhay, Ernest Fancy, John Phelps and Mike Brady.  Also attending were Collector Steve Anderstrom, Assistant Assessor JoAnne Higgins, Assessors Board Chairman Christian Peterson and Assessor Cynthia Porier.

Approval of Minutes                                                                                                                                                         
The draft minutes of the January 8, 2014 had been previously distributed for review. The minutes were unanimously approved, as written, by those attending that meeting.

New Business
Review of the Tax Collector Budget Proposal:  At the meeting, Collector Anderstrom proposed a FY15 budget of $51,492.90, after adding $2,000 to cover the cost of the upcoming increase in postage. The $4,000 (23%) overall increase in expenses for FY15 generated a number of questions by the Board members. In addition to the postage costs, the Collector indicated that the initial $2,000 (of the $4,000 total) was to cover printing materials, as he planned on generating his own bills rather than using a vendor. The Collector was asked to provide information on those vendor costs, as that amount should be subtracted from his expense calculations.
[Update: Around 1/21/14 the Collector put a copy of a revised proposal in the Finance Board mailbox; expenses were reduced by $2,000, which made for an 11.5% proposed increase in expenses over FY14.]

Review of the Assessors Budget Proposal: Assessors Christian Petersen and Cynthia Porier provided thoughts on why their proposed salary adjustment (~ 25%) for the Assistant Assessor should be given serious consideration. They felt that Mrs. Higgins has assumed much greater professional responsibility for the various dealing of the Assessors Office than when first hired and her MMA certification has enabled her to assume work previously requiring contracted services. With the assessors proposing that much of the salary increase come from a reduction in Reval/Maintenance costs for FY15, questions from Board members focused on whether the reduction was sustainable or just a one-time adjustment. The assessors agreed to provide the Board with additional information on the long-term savings anticipated by the Assistant Assessor performing work that was previously done by Vision Appraisal.

Open Issues
General Discussion of FY15 Budget Items:
Ernie Fancy had attended a Tantasqua School Committee meeting focused on developing a budget. His feeling was that the Tantasqua budget to be proposed will likely show an increase of approximately 3%, although the level of Chapter 70 funding for FY15 will obviously have a major impact on the final percentage. Mr. Fancy also informed us that the financial audit of Tantasqua showed an estimated OPEB liability of ~ $240M for the five member towns.
Andy Harhay indicated that Holland’s Free Cash has been certified as $108,319, which is significantly lower than last year but in line with our long-term average annual amount.

Next Meeting
The next meeting is planned for January 22, 2014. The primary item will be review of the Police Department budget proposal for FY15.

The Chairman adjourned the meeting at 9:30 PM.

Minutes submitted by:  Andrew Harhay, Chairman

cc:  Board of Selectmen, Town Clerk, Treasurer, Collector, Assessors, Accountant

Town of Holland 27 Sturbridge Road, Holland, MA 01521
Phone: 413-245-7108 Fax: 413-245-7037
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