Town of Holland, MA—Finance Board
February 26, 2014
Call To Order
The Chairman called to order a meeting of the Holland Finance Board at 7:32 PM on February 26, 2014 at the Holland Town Hall.
Finance Board Members present: Andrew Harhay, Ernest Fancy and John Phelps. Selectboard member present: Jim Wettlaufer.
Approval of Minutes
The draft minutes of the February 12, 2014 had been previously distributed for review; the minutes were unanimously approved as written.
Review of the Library Budget Proposal: Director Libby Westie and Trustees Janet Mullins, Peggy Lowell and Lynn Harhay.
Note: The Chairman excused himself from participation in the discussion, given that his wife is a library trustee. The minutes of the library budget review discussion were provided by Vice-Chair Ernie Fancy.
At the meeting, Librarian Libby Westie and the Trustees proposed a FY15 budget of $37,978. The budget request has a 4.1% overall increase, with the biggest area of increase being in Library services. It indicated that the wages for the Holland Library Director and the staff are at the low end when compared to other area towns of similar size. It was suggested that we go to the Massachusetts Library web-site to get the salaries of librarians in surrounding towns. The library received a $20,000 grant many years ago for help in determining how the Town wants to utilize and develop the Library; the available grant money was never used and will likely expire in the near future if not used. The first step is to survey library users and Town residents to determine what they would like to see
done with the Library. If two towns were to get together on a library, they would go to the top of the State list. Also discussed were the roofing bids that have been received for the necessary repairs and the qualification of those bids.
Review of the Police Dept. Budget Proposal: Chief Haughey could not attend; the Police Dept. review will be rescheduled.
Cell Phone Usage Costs: Brian Johnson was rescheduled to attend the March 3th meeting.
Remote Participation: The Finance Board is likely to periodically use remote participation in meetings, as it has been authorized by the MA Attorney General and the Holland BOS. For the benefit of all Board members, the Chairman provided a short guide on what would be required if employing remote participation.
Potential Articles for ATM: Finance Board members unanimously approved submitting six articles to the BOS for inclusion in the ATM warrant. Two of the articles were related to our follow-up on the Collector’s request to increase demand fees, three related to providing additional compensation for certified officials, and one to create a Capital Purchase Stabilization Fund.
General Discussion of FY15 Budget Items:
The Chairman noted that he corrected an error he made in transferring the levy limit figure from that worksheet to the budget spreadsheet… the Free Cash amount should have been subtracted to determine the available funding for the operating budget. As per DOR recommendations, we try to use Free Cash only for purposes of capital purchases and stabilization accounts, rather than using it for an annual operating expense. Using the Governor’s proposed Cherry Sheet Receipt amount, the current budget is ~ $35K in deficit, although there are currently ample opportunities to balance the operating budget with currently estimated revenue. The final revenue figures - employing the Legislature final aid numbers - should be available to MA towns by May 1st.
Vice-Chairman Fancy had created a spreadsheet from information in the ‘2012 Annual Town Report regarding delinquent taxes owed the Town and provided it to the Tax Collector on 2/14/14, also asking a number of questions about the data. The Vice-Chair indicated that he has not, as yet, received a response to the request.
March 3, 2014 – Review of the Fire Department Budget Proposal
The Chairman adjourned the meeting at 9:20 PM.
Minutes submitted by: Andrew Harhay, Chairman
cc: Board of Selectmen, Town Clerk, Treasurer, Collector, Assessors, Accountant