MARCH 7 MEETING
First Selectman Kuhnly opened the meeting and announced that if anyone from the audience had questions to please submit them in writing to the Town Manager or First Selectman.
He opened public session and town resident Susan Patricelli Regan said she appreciates the transparency.
Selectman Ohannessian commented he is unsure of the proposed increase. He is not clear as to why the teacher’s pension is a part of our budget when it hasn’t been approved in the state’s budget yet. Why is this expense in our budget which is 6.6 percent of the town budget? He doesn’t see any movement on IT consolidation and has concerns about the town side. He indicated we need to spend more time looking at our Capital budget.
Selectman Lofink has concerns about what we are changing to reflect our aging community. We need to make sure we maintain our infrastructure and community.
Town Manager Ward indicated it is prudent to put the teacher’s pension into the budget now rather than try to insert it at the last minute. The state has indicated it should be part of the town budget. A combined Capital budget with the Board of Education is part of the town budget as required. Town Manager Ward reviewed the significant changes in the health plan, pension, wage increases, and tipping fees. Additional funding for IT was cut. He is working with the Superintendent of Schools on this issue. He believes this is a conservative budget consistent with the guideline.
Public Works: Director Kirk Severance reported there are 16 FT employees and three PT employees, 7 transfer station attendants who rotate hours and summer help. They have been short one FT employee for 10 years and once again hope to fill the position. The department maintains all 23 town buildings or structures, grounds, trees throughout the town in decline, equipment used by the town, all town roads, sewers and bridges, and does repairs as needed. They are responsible for refuse recycling, done contractually through Paine’s. The Material Innovation and Recycling Authority (MIRA) has raised our rate significantly this year , the main reason for the increase in the solid waste account. Transfer station employees handle the disposal of bulky waste and recyclable materials. MS4 Storm Water Management continues. This is the required constantly monitored process of removing contaminants from drains that run off into creeks and streams, to stop them from reaching Long Island Sound. The Board voiced concern regarding the cut in General and Equipment Maintenance OT. Mr. Ward indicated that this is one area of concern but a cut was needed to meet the guideline.
The Sewer Utility Fund, used to maintain the town’s two pump stations and sewer lines. It is also used to pay fees for the transportation and treatment of town sewage at the Town of Simsbury Water Pollution Control Facility. A large portion of the Fund this past year went to the replacement of the pump station at Wolcott Road in Simsbury. Solid waste (fats, oil, and grease) that accumulates in the sewer tanks need to be cleaned out by DPW two times a year.
The Solid Waste Fund, a special revenue fund, is maintained outside of the town’s General Fund and receives revenue from certain drop off services that include bulky items, metal goods, brush, leaves, waste oil, electronics, and more.
Community Development: Director Abby Kenyon noted that the town’s Consulting Engineer and Wetlands Consultant are under the general direction her department. They provide technical services to the various town departments, boards, and commission including public works inland wetlands and watercourses. Inspections of approved subdivisions are billed out to cover the cost of engineering services, reducing the cost to the town. Activity has been high this year and additional hours of service will be required. An application fee schedule, to better cover the cost, is being developed. A significant change is a reduction of $3,000 for the IWWC Consultant. Revenue is $2,000 for applications. Community Development shows a slight increase in mileage and professional affiliations. A reduction of $365 is shown to meet the Board of Finance guideline.
Library Services: Director Amy McCue noted there are two libraries that serve the needs of the community with a strong collection of books, magazines, movies, music, eBooks, eAudio books, eMagazines, online databases, and programs for all ages. The combined libraries are open 65 hours per week. Cossitt Library hours are changing to better reflect usage, though one hour is being cut from the current total. New materials and programs are constantly being introduced. Residents who have a Town of Granby library card can access collections of all of the libraries in our Consortium. They have four FT employees and several part-time staff. Revenue is $14,000 from overdue fees, that may be reduced because of automatic digital reminders of book due dates. There is a 1.7 percent increase in the overall budget to maintain services but a $7,200 reduction was made to meet the Board of Finance guideline.
Recreation and Leisure Services: Director Kristine Vincent noted that in addition to her position, there is one 35 hr/week employee and a 25 hr/week employee that will increase to 35hr/week to meet the demands of increased programming. With the exception of the Director’s salary funded by the General Fund, the remaining payroll expenses are covered through collected program fees. The staff plans, organizes, directs, supervises, publicizes and evaluates a wide variety of leisure programs and activities. A new combined programming guide will be coming out soon that includes information on the Department of Recreation and Leisure Services, Library Services, and Social/Senior/Youth Services.
MARCH 11 MEETING
First Selectman Kuhnly opened the meeting and reminded everyone of the changed process for reviewing the budget indicating it is a better opportunity to understand the budget.
Building Inspection: Building Official/Zoning Enforcement Officer William Volovski reviewed the Building Inspection section of Personal and Property Protection. The department has two full-time employees, himself and the Administrative Assistant who also assists Community Development, Fire Marshal and the land use commissions. A part-time floater position has been reduced by 25 percent ($500). He expects a busy year in construction ahead. There are still 400 open roofing permits from last May’s hailstorm. Granby also provides services to the Town of East Hartland. There is an overall -0.3 percent reduction in the proposed budget.
Fire Prevention: Fire Marshall Harold Holmes reviewed Fire Prevention. His responsibilities include plan review, inspection, fire investigation, liquor permits, fuel tank inspections, hazardous materials inspections and others. He works closely with the building official for commercial construction. Significant changes are a $5,000 reduction to Temp/ Part-Time payroll and an overall -0.5 percent reduction in the proposed budget.
Emergency Management: Director of Community Development Abby Kenyon stepped in for Eric Vincent, Emergency Management Director. This five-hour per week position is responsible for plan that enables response to local and regional emergencies declared by the state or the town. The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), created in 2010, is made up of volunteers from Granby and organized under the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) guidelines. Vincent would oversee an emergency center and manage CERT volunteers. He assists schools with emergency reports required by the state. The town contributes $6,000 to the Emergency Management Fund, which matches FEMA’s contribution.
Health Services: Town Manager Ward reported on Health Services. It provides a comprehensive program of home health care, hospice services, and illness prevention programs for Granby residents. Services are available through the Farmington Valley Visiting Nurses Association, Inc. (VNA). The VNA works closely with the Department of Human Services and Senior Center personnel and Farmington Valley Health District in coordinating these services. Increased funding for the Farmington Valley Health District is due to state mandates and will increase for the next four years. The CMED and EMD programs are needed for 911 calls and communication between ambulances and hospitals. Through a recently approved contract, the town contributes $15,000 to Granby Ambulance Association and the town is obligated to pay for workers compensation insurance for volunteers.
Police: Chief of Police Carl Rosensweig reported on Police Department administration and operations and communications. Administration shows a 100 percent reduction ($18,500) in Temp/Part-Time to meet the Board of Finance guideline. This is a total elimination of the records department part-time position.
Operations and communications has 18 on regular payroll. There are 14 patrol officers, detective, and sergeants and four dispatchers. Contract and maintenance service shows increases for contribution to the dog fund, records management, and training totaling $2,800. A $700 reduction was taken to meet the BOF guideline leaving an overall increase of 0.6 percent. Rosensweig reported a dispatcher is retiring and possibly a police officer in the next year.
First Selectman Kuhnly inquired about consolidating dispatch services. Chief Rosensweig responded it really doesn’t save money and services are actually lost when this is done. Granby provides dispatch services to East Granby and Hartland. Rosensweig reported the department of police services would receive the accreditation this May. There was discussion about the dog fund in the police department budget. the animal control officer is paid through the dog fund and is under contract and not on the payroll.
Social Services: Director of Human Services Sandy Yost provided information on social services, senior services and youth services. Yost said the center is almost at capacity and it is increasingly challenged to schedule events and programs. Social services is working with the recreation department and the library to put together a new combined information and program guide. Using Kearns School to help with needed space was discussed. Town Manager Ward said it would be very costly to bring it up to today’s standards and code compliance. It would just be a higher operating cost for the town to support.