Budget Committee | Meeting Summary | 10/15/20

The Litchfield Budget Committee met tonight (10/15/20) and all members were in attendance.

Mr. Cutter shared correspondence which included enrollment confirmation from the school district, 2021 draft warrant articles, edits and modifications to October 1 minutes. 

October 1st minutes and October 8th minutes were deferred pending review of edits until next week.   

Town Business Updates Included:

-The following accounts were presented by Mr. Brown and the department heads and discussion took place on various line items in those accounts with questions from members of the committee. 

            -Health Department – 4411.10
            -Ambulance – 4215.10
            -Fire Administration – 4220.10
            -Fire Hydrants – 4220.90
            -Code Enforcement – 4241.20
            -Emergency Management – 4290.10
            -Police Administration – 4210.10
            -Police Support Services – 4210.50
            -Animal Control – 4414.10
            -Personnel Administration – 4155.10

-The committee also reviewed the preliminary revenue estimates and preliminary default budget calculation.   

Member Input / New Business:

-Mrs. Douglas asked a question in regards to an overspend on staffing for GMS in the school budget, and Mrs. Harrison explained that was a manual entry error and the explanation would be forwarded to the committee.

The next Budget Committee meeting is scheduled for October 22 at 7:00pm, which continues the budget review process.  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 | 10/8/20

The Litchfield Budget Committee met tonight (10/8/20) and all members were in attendance, with the exception of Mr. Hodgkins.

Mr. Cutter shared correspondence which included zoning and planning board notices, MS4 reports, edits to minutes, questions for the town budget, and school district reports. 

September 24th minutes (as amended) were approved, and the October 1st minutes were deferred.  

Town Business Updates Included:

-The following accounts were presented by Mr. Brown and the department heads and discussion took place on various line items in those accounts with questions from members of the committee. 

            -Parks and Recreation – 4520.10
            -Library – 4550.20
            -Information Technology – 4150.20
            -Mosquito District – 4411.20
            -Health Agencies – 4415.10
            -Insurance – 4196.90
            -General Government Facilities – 4194.10

 -Chairman Cutter reviewed the remaining schedule for October, including items to review next week, and the schedule to vote on October 22nd and October 29th.

Member Input / New Business:

-Mrs. Fordey asked a question regarding school enrollment numbers that appear to calculating incorrectly on the spreadsheet presented.  Mrs. Harrison agreed to share and review with school leadership. 

-Mrs. Douglas asked a question regarding salary lines in the school budget line and what appears to be an overspend.  Mrs. Harrison confirmed this was a manual entry error and would be resolved.

-Mr. Leary shared updates from the BOS and warrant articles, including the recommendation to withdraw 6 due to budget concerns.

The next Budget Committee meeting is scheduled for October 15 at 6:30pm, which continues the budget review process.  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 | 10/1/20

Budget Committee | Meeting Summary | 10/1/20

The Litchfield Budget Committee met last night (10/1/20) and all members were in attendance.

Budget Committee Meeting – Oct 1, 2020

Mr. Cutter shared correspondence which included links to the draft budget, swearing in of Mr. Scott Taylor, and meeting agenda for this week. 

September 24th minutes (as amended) were deferred until next week for review and approval.   

Town Business Updates Included:

-Mr. Cutter turned it over to Mr. Brown to begin the budget review process…Mr. Brown took the first few minutes to provide a high-level overview of how the BOS put together the budget, the current spend against the Tax Cap, and their plans over the coming weeks to continue to review all accounts with department heads. 

-The following accounts were presented by Mr. Brown and the department heads and discussion took place on various line items in those accounts with questions from members of the committee. 

            -Town Meeting 4130.30
            -Town Clerk 4140.10
            -Tax Collection 4150.40
            -Sanitation Administration 4321.10
            -Road Agent 4311.10
            -Road Maintenance 4312.10
            -Street Lighting 4316.30
            -Accounting  4150.10
            -Revaluation of Property 4152.10
            -Board of Selectmen 4130.10
            -Legal Expenses 4153.10
            -Planning Board 4191.10
            -Zoning Board 4191.30
            -Cemeteries 4195.10
            -Advertising and Regional Associations 4197.10
            -Welfare Vendor Payments 4445.2
            -Patriotic Purposes 4583.10
            -Conservation 4611.20
            -Debt Service 4711.10

Member Input / New Business:

-None.

The next Budget Committee meeting is scheduled for October 8 at 6:30pm, which continues the budget review process.  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. 

Litchfield Budget Committee | Meeting Summary | 9/24/20

The Litchfield Budget Committee met tonight (9/24/20) and all members were in attendance.

Mr. Cutter shared correspondence which included reports from the town and school, draft budget for 2021, and interest from community members in the open seat on the committee. 

August 27th minutes (as amended) were accepted by the committee and passed 7-0-1. 

Mr. Cutter shared the resignation of Mrs. Burke from the Budget Committee and thanked her for her years of service. 

Mr. Cutter introduced three candidates to replace Mrs. Burke until March 2021.  Mr. Scott Taylor, Mr. Jeff Towne, and Mr. Derek Barka. Each candidate had an opportunity to introduce themselves, share their backgrounds, and why they want to be a member of the budget committee.  Committee members asked questions to each candidate. 

After interviews and nominations were complete, Mr. Scott Taylor was nominated and voted to fill the vacant position until March 2021. 

Town Business Updates Included:

-Mr. Leary shared that 2021 budget was shared by Mr. Brown to the budget committee.  He also provided an update on the Tax Cap that will be reviewed later this evening.

-Mr. Cutter provided an overview of the budget process, including the draft budget from the Board of Selectmen.  The committee reviewed, at a high level, the current proposed budget against the Tax Cap, as well as current spending year-to-date.  Discussions around state and federal aid, as well as cost savings through the end of the year took place.

School Business Updates Included:

-Mrs. Harrison shared the opening of school, and the special meeting from 9/16 that approved the one-time funds for the Capital Expense Fund.  She also provided updates on various projects in the district, include HVAC work at CHS, electrical work / repair at GMS, and the canopy work at LMS. 

Capital Improvement Planning Committee:

-Mr. Cutter provided an update on the public hearing yesterday for the CIP, and the presentation to the Board of Selectmen next week.  Discussions on the process for the CIP took place, including how the Board of Selectmen utilizes the plan to inform their decisions and help determine what, if any items, to put forward for warrant articles.

Member Input / New Business:

-Mr. Cutter gave an overview of the budget process through the end of the year, including upcoming weekly meetings and departments and line item review of budgets.   

The next Budget Committee meeting is scheduled for October 1 at 6:30pm, which begins the budget review process.  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 | 8/27/20

Budget Committee | Meeting Summary | 8/27/20

The Litchfield Budget Committee met tonight (8/27/20) and all members were in attendance.

Mr. Cutter shared correspondence which included draft minutes from June, school district financial reports, revised audited financial records, NHMA workshop, school district expense reports for end of year and July 2020. 

June 25th minutes (as amended) were accepted by the committee.

Town Business Updates Included:

-Mr. Leary shared that budget season is underway at the various departments.  More are planned for the next meeting, and those will be shared with the Budget Committee.  Re-opening of Town Hall will be presented at the next meeting.  Mr. Leary gave a high-level overview of the town audit.

School Business Updates Included:

-Mr. Myers gave an overview of the school business update, which included the LMS project. HVAC work is underway and final expenditures are being put together.  All 3 buildings are expected to be good by back to school.  Around $708,000 in the unassigned fund balance will be returned.

-Discussion around Special Election format on September 16th, in person vote of people in attendance to appropriate money from the state for Capital Reserve that is earmarked for infrastructure as one-time monies.  Dr. Jette, Mr. Myers, and Cory provided updates and answered questions from budget committee members. 

-Mr. Son asked a question on school district end of year expenses…

-Dr. Jette provided an overview of the HVAC work at all 3 buildings, answered questions from committee members and discussed the impact of the vote and the use of the funds for this work.

Capital Improvement Planning Committee:

-Mr. Cutter provided an update from the planning committee which included reports from all town departments.  A survey to be sent to the town at the end of the month, presentation to the Planning Board, Town Meeting, and presentation to Board of Selection, with all meetings taking place in September. 

Member Input / New Business:

-None at this time. 

The next Budget Committee meeting is scheduled for Thursday, September 24th  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 | 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.