Budget Committee | Meeting Summary | 6/25/20

Budget Committee | Meeting Summary | 6/25/20

The Litchfield Budget Committee met tonight (6/25/20) and all members were in attendance.

Mr. Cutter shared correspondence which includes school board reports, minutes from May, town budget updates, and budget committee calendar for 20-21. 

5/28 Minutes (as amended) were accepted by the committee.

Town Business Updates Included:

-Mr. Leary shared updates from the town, which included assessments for the town.  A representative from Avitar Associates will attend the next selectmen meeting.  Town Hall is slowly opening this month. 

-Ms. Fordey shared questions that were raised regarding the town weekly budget expenditures.  Those questions were around funds for ballots that were low, which will be offset by state funds.  Also, a new line item was created for Covid-19, which is used to track expenses for Covid-19 and expect 100% reimbursement for items in this account. 

School Business Updates Included:

-Ms. Harrison provided updates from the School Board, which included the re-opening task force that begins meeting next month to determine opening for the fall.  Surveys will be going out to parents, students, and staff to continue to collect feedback.  An estimate of $734,00 is to be refunded to the town. 

-Ms. Harrison also provided an update of the year-end expenditures which included approximately $363,000 in expenses for projects that includes LMS Canopy, CHS Mobile Bleachers, GMS Chromebook Expansion at 3rd Grade, and a new locker room floor at LMS. 

-Mr. Son asked a question around CARES funds from the federal government and how those funds can support end of year expenses for remote learning.  Ms. Harrison said the school board is still awaiting guidance on how those funds can be spent, but they will be receiving $75,000. 

Member Input / New Business:

-Mr. Cutter shared the newest version of the BC Meeting Calendar for 2020-2021 and asked for member feedback and input.  The calendar as presented was agreed upon by the committee.

-Mr. Son asked a question around providing support during town meetings, especially if we have to continue in a virtual environment.  He suggested we ensure we have the tools and infrastructure to allow citizens to join remotely for discussions and provide input as we move through the budget process. 

-Mr. Cutter shared updates on the By-Laws adoption, which was presented at the last budget committee meeting. A vote took place to approve new bylaws around social media and communication and passed 7-1-0. 

-Mr. Cutter shard updates from the Capital Improvement Planning Committee, which included potential land acquisition, replacement of fire pumper truck and fire engine, and a potential new police station.  All of these items would have to be presented to the board of selectmen for review prior to review of the budget committee.  Next month will include discussions around a new school, the police station, and additional department and committee updates.

The next Budget Committee meeting is scheduled for Thursday, August 27th at 7pm.  A formal agenda will be provided as soon as it is finalized.

As a reminder, Budget Committee responses to posts on social media are not permitted. 

Budget Committee | Meeting Summary | 5/28/20

Budget Committee | Meeting Summary | 5/28/20

The Litchfield Budget Committee met tonight (5/28/20) and all members were in attendance.

4/23 Minutes (as amended) were accepted by the committee.

Town Business Updates Included:
-Mr. Leary provided an update on Board of Selectmen meeting, which included updates on the A/C at Town Hall, including repair work to be determined and Hazard Pay in the amount of $200k for the town of Litchfield.

School Business Updates Included:
-Mrs. Harrison provided an update from the school board. She provided updates on end of year expenditures, facility and maintenance summer work. No votes have been taken on those items, however discussions have taken place regarding opening of facilities in the fall and potential increased costs including PPE supplies, sanitation items. The board will be putting together a task force after the end of the school year to determine the plan for the fall, including remote, hybrid, and full opening options. The school district is anticipating approximately $75k from the CARES funds, however no decisions have been made as to how those funds will be spent, as guidelines have not been provided.

-A vote was approved 9-0-0 to have the school board provide a monthly line item report to the budget committee which includes detailed expenditures.

-Mr. Hodgins asked about revenue being returned to the tax payers, and Mrs. Harrison said the board is anticipating returning approximately $750k to set the tax rate for next year.

-Mrs. Harrison provided an update on enrollment, and said the board is monitoring Grade 1 and options for next year, should the school need an additional position to support enrollment.

Member Input / New Business:
-The committee reviewed the draft calendar for 2020-2021 year as presented by Mr. Cutter. Highlights included monthly meetings through September 2020, and then weekly budget reviews for the town and school in October and November.  Discussion took place between committee members on days of the week, timing of voting and review sessions. 

-Mr. Son provided an update on the communication / social media plan, that includes utilizing the town website as a means to provide high-level updates to the community.  Currently, the town website is setup to publish to the town social media platforms. 

-Mr. Son provided an update on the recommended bylaw changes pertaining to communication and social media that will be shared with the committee via email and voted on during the June meeting. 

-Mr. Cutter provided an update from the Town Capital Planning Committee that met in May, that included an update on the needs from the police department, including a potential new police station.  Proposals were reviewed and share with the planning committee. 

-Mrs. Fordey provided an update from the School Planning Committee that met on May 27, and updates included collaboration between the school & town, infrastructure funds that are allocated for capital projects from the state, and priorities that included a potential new PreK-5 school building, lighting and HVAC needs at LMS, and CHS stadium field lighting.