January 21, 2020
Board Of Selectmen: B. Scott Kuhnly, First Selectman; Sally King, and Mark Neumann
Board Of Finance: Michael B. Guarco, Jr., Chairman; James Tsaptsinos, William Kennedy, Frederick Moffa, Kelly O. Rome, and Alfred Wilke
Board Of Education: Melissa Migliaccio, Chairman; Jenny P. Emery, Sarah Thrall, Rosemarie Weber, Brandon Webster and Dave Peling
ALSO PRESENT: Kimi Cheng, Administration Finance Officer; Anna Robbins, BOE Business Manager; Jordan Grossman, Superintendent of Schools, and Jillian Thrall, BOS Student Liaison
First Selectman Kuhnly opened the meeting by stating the Board of Selectmen is convening a meeting of the Board of Education, Board of Finance, and Board of Selectmen (Three Board Meeting). This is the beginning of the budgeting cycle for the Town of Granby. The budgets presented tonight are the budgets presented by the Town Manager and the Superintendent of Schools and are not the final budgets. The operating boards will review their Plus-One Budget requests for the 2020-2021 Fiscal Year.
Review of Plus-One Budget
(Board of Selectmen)
First Selectman Kuhnly presented the Town Manager’s budget. The town has an obligation to fund and maintain all departments and to meet all state mandates. They must also provide town services, as well as meet debt obligations. A Plus-One Budget was developed that shows requirements to do that.
Kuhnly reviewed the Plus-One Budget and reported the minimal requirements for existing operational needs in 2020-2021 are approximately$546,900 or 5.22 percent. It shows budget expectations for salary and wages for employees, preliminary cost estimates for employee benefits, and items of a contractual nature deemed important to adequately maintain operations. Two add-back items including IT Operations and a DPW Maintainer II (budgeted for half a year) are included in the Plus-One Budget at 5.22 percent, amounting to $536,900 above the present operating budget.
Some highlights include:
• A Health Benefits increase of 7.5 percent
• The insurance business package has a premium increase of $4,000 and the Insurance Workers Compensation has an increase 5 percent.
• Under Health Services, the Farmington Valley Health District is estimated to increase $5,250 but the final amount is unknown.
• Equipment Parts increased $4,200 due to demand and price increases.
• Tree Work increased due to aging and dead trees in town right-of-way.
• Solid Waste and Recycling collection increased $40,000 due to contractual obligation and new homes.
• Tipping fees for solid waste and recycling increased $63,000 due to contractual obligation and new homes. Final increases for miscellaneous contract services are unknown at this time but an estimate of $8,000 is included.
Open items of concern are Town Aid Funding ($256,644) and loCIP ($80,258) that have not yet been authorized by the legislature or Bond Commission for FY21. A special session of the legislature is set for January 2020 for this purpose, among others.
Some other items of concern are:
• Finance Department staffing needs.
• Loss of a full-time Human Resource Services staff person.
• Need for additional officers for the Police Department, as well as staffing for all departments in order to plan for the future.
• Monitoring future use of Kearns School. There is an RFP out and other things are developing.
• Review estimated cost of developing an IT department for ongoing future needs.
Kimi Cheng Finance Officer reported tipping fees for FY2021-22 will be $136/ton. Tipping fees for FY2021 is $101/ton.
Review of Plus-One Budget
(Board of Education)
Chairman Melissa Migliaccio introduced Jordan Grossman, new Superintendent of Schools, and complimented Grossman for putting a thoughtful budget together. She stated the Board of Education Plus-One Budget represents a 3.69 percent proposed increase over last fiscal year for the FY 2020-21 operating budget. A 3.23 percent increase is needed just to maintain services.
Assumptions for FY2020-21 include:
• The retirement of three certified employees with a savings of $85K.
• A health benefits rate increase of 7.5 percent.
• A 3 percent increase in the bus contract, which includes the replacement of four used buses. Increase in fuel prices and insurance costs have resulted in an increase of 6.5 percent ($55K).
• Negotiated salaries adjusted for anticipated retirements; 3.4 percent Administrators, 0.47 percent Teachers, and a placeholder of 2.5 percent for remaining employees.
• Utilities: Oil at $2.25/gallon. Electricity at 0.0960 cents/kwH for generation.
• Special Education increased $483K over the FY20 budget. Special Education represents 16.2 percent of the total budget and continues to increase each year.
• A 3 percent increase in pre-school tuition, as well as rental fees for facilities.
• FY21 PK-12 enrollment (1,783) reflects a decline of two students.
• Quality and Diversity: Maintain five-year positive balance and continue to transition kindergarten personnel into operating budget.
Unfunded personnel and programs items for FY21 include a Social Worker for the middle school, a Part-Time Custodian, and Part-Time Secretarial Support totaling $79,889.
Unfunded maintenance includes tree felling at $10,000.
There was a question about the sharing of I.T. and Human Resource (H.R.) services between the town and the Board of Education. It was noted that it was previously discussed at an Intra-Board Advisory Committee (IBAC) meeting. Going forward, the possible sharing of I.T. may begin as a pilot program. If that works out, then the additional sharing of Human Resource may be a possibility.
Enrollment projections from last year and next year have flattened. There are different ways to come up with these projections and they don’t always come up with the same answers. Some projections even show an increase.
Special Education costs are continuing to rise. It is a big issue for all the Farmington Valley towns. Transportation costs are a concern as well.
Board of Finance comments
Chairman Michael Guarco thanked the BOS and the BOE for their submissions. He recognizes the hard work the boards put into their budgets and the challenges they face every year. When setting a budget guideline, the BOF takes into account the needs of the BOS and the BOE, along with being sensitive to the taxpayers who fund the majority of the budget. This is just the first part of the process in looking at the needs and wants of the town. The BOF meets next week to discuss the tentative operating budget timeline. There are still some pieces of information they are waiting for. Jan. 31 is the last day for the filing of the Grand list numbers. In addition, on the first Wednesday of the month, the Governor proposes changes to the state budget so we will see if there is any impact on the towns. The BOF will take all that information into consideration and they will look to meet Feb. 10 and at that time, they will finalize the operating budget. The final budget will be ready to present to the public at the end of March before it goes to vote.
Discussion and Items of Interest Concerning the 2019-20 Budget and Consideration of Public Comment
Questions and Answers
Alfred Wilke commented we have to sharpen our pencils as always.
John D. Ward, Town Manager