Litchfield Budget Committee | Meeting Summary | Dec 9th, 2021

The Litchfield Budget Committee held a meeting at Town Hall on December 9th at 7pm.  Members in attendance were Andrew Cutter (Chair), John David Son (Vice Chair), Keri Douglas, William Hayes, Derek Barka, Kate Stevens, Christina Harrison (School Board Representative), and Robert Leary (Selectmen Representative). Scott Taylor was absent for this meeting. Also in attendance were School Superintendent Michael Jette and School Business Administrator Cory Izbicki.

Public Input

There was no public input at this meeting.

School Warrant Article Review

The Budget Committee asked additional school budget questions and reviewed the School Board’s proposed warrant article. Details may be found in the meeting minutes here: https://litchfieldnh.gov/budget-committee-meeting-minutes/

The committee discussed the long-standing agreement between the School Board and the Budget Committee to return all funds not spent specifically from the special services budget to the tax payers. Once input from the School Board and legal counsel is obtained the committee will vote on whether to solidify that agreement in writing.

Residents are encouraged to attend Budget Committee meetings in person at Town Hall unless otherwise stated.  Public input is also invited before meetings via email to Chair Andrew Cutter at acutter@litchfieldnh.gov.  Emails must include the commenter’s first and last name and address. 

As a reminder, Budget Committee responses to posts on social media are limited.  Past meetings can be viewed on the LitchfieldTV Youtube channel.

Litchfield Budget Committee | Meeting Summary | Dec 2, 2021

The Litchfield Budget Committee held a meeting at Town Hall on December 2nd at 7pm.  Members in attendance were Andrew Cutter (Chair), John David Son (Vice Chair), Keri Douglas, William Hayes, Derek Barka, Scott Taylor, Kate Stevens, Christina Harrison (School Board Representative), and Robert Leary (Selectmen Representative). Also in attendance were School Superintendent Michael Jette and School Business Administrator Cory Izbicki.

Public Input

There was no public input at this meeting.

The following school budgets were voted on at this meeting:

  • Campbell High School
  • Litchfield Middle School
  • Griffin Memorial School
  • Curriculum
  • Technology
  • Special Services
  • Food Service
  • Facilities
  • Business Services
  • Transportation
  • SAU
  • School Board
  • Human Services
  • Salaries and Benefits
  • Food Service Salaries and Benefits

Overall the Budget Committee made $14, 257 in reductions to the school budget. Top level voting on the school budget will continue on Dec. 9th.

Residents are encouraged to attend Budget Committee meetings in person at Town Hall unless otherwise stated.  Public input is also invited before meetings via email to Chair Andrew Cutter at acutter@litchfieldnh.gov.  Emails must include the commenter’s first and last name and address. 

As a reminder, Budget Committee responses to posts on social media are limited.  Past meetings can be viewed on the LitchfieldTV Youtube channel.

Litchfield Budget Committee | Meeting Summary | Nov 18, 2021

The Litchfield Budget Committee held a meeting at Town Hall on November 18th at 7pm.  Members in attendance were Andrew Cutter (Chair), John David Son (Vice Chair), Keri Douglas, William Hayes, Derek Barka, Scott Taylor, Kate Stevens, Christina Harrison (School Board Representative), and Robert Leary (Selectmen Representative). Also in attendance were School Superintendent Michael Jette and School Business Administrator Cory Izbicki.

Public Input

There was no public input at this meeting.

School Budget Review

Superintendent Michael Jette and Business Administrator Cory Izbicki presented the School Board’s recommended budget for 2022-2023. The budget is organized by sections including Campbell High School, Litchfield Middle School, Griffin Memorial School, Curriculum, Technology, Special Services, Food Services, Facilities, Business Services, Transportation, School Administrative Unit, School Board, Human Resources, and Salary and Benefits. The Budget Committee took the opportunity to ask numerous questions. Details may be found in the meeting minutes here: https://litchfieldnh.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/BUDGET20211118.pdf

Residents are encouraged to attend Budget Committee meetings in person at Town Hall unless otherwise stated.  Public input is also invited before meetings via email to Chair Andrew Cutter at acutter@litchfieldnh.gov.  Emails must include the commenter’s first and last name and address. 

As a reminder, Budget Committee responses to posts on social media are limited.  Past meetings can be viewed on the LitchfieldTV Youtube channel.

Litchfield Budget Committee | Meeting Summary | Oct 21, 2021

The Litchfield Budget Committee held a meeting at Town Hall on October 21st at 7pm.  Members in attendance were Andrew Cutter (Chair), John David Son (Vice Chair), Keri Douglas, William Hayes, Derek Barka, Scott Taylor, Kate Stevens, Christina Harrison (School Board Representative), and Robert Leary (Selectmen Representative). Also in attendance were Town Administrator Troy Brown, Finance Manager Karen White, Captain Thomas Scotti.

Public Input

There was no public input at this meeting.

The following department budgets were voted on at this meeting:

  • 4130.10 – Board of Selectmen
  • 4130.30 – Town Meeting
  • 4140.10 – Town Clerk
  • 4150.10 – Accounting
  • 4150.20 – Information Technology
  • 4150.40 – Tax Collection
  • 4152.10 – Revaluation of Property
  • 4153.10 – Legal Expenses
  • 4155 – Personnel Administration
  • 4191.10 – Planning Board
  • 4191.30 – Zoning Board
  • 4194.10 – General Government Building
  • 4195 – Cemeteries
  • 4196.90 – Other Insurance
  • 4197.10 – Advertising & Regional Associations
  • 4210.10 – Police – Administration
  • 4210.50 – Police – Support
  • 4125.10 – Ambulance
  • 4220.10 – Fire
  • 4220.90 – Hydrants
  • 4241.20 – Code Enforcement
  • 4290.10 – Emergency Management
  • 4311.10 – Road Agent
  • 4312.10- Road Maintenance
  • 4316.30 -Street Lighting
  • 4321.10 – Sanitation Administration
  • 4411.10 – Health Department
  • 4411.20 – Mosquito
  • 4414.10 – Animal Control
  • 4415 – Health Agencies
  • 4445.20 – Welfare Vendor Payments
  • 4520.10 – Parks and Recreation
  • 4550 – Library
  • 4583.10 – Patriotic Purposes
  • 4611.20 – Conservation Commission
  • 4723.10 – Debt Services

Overall the Budget Committee made $16,448 in reductions to the budget. The committee will review the Town Budget again in December.

Residents are encouraged to attend Budget Committee meetings in person at Town Hall unless otherwise stated.  Public input is also invited before meetings via email to Chair Andrew Cutter at acutter@litchfieldnh.gov.  Emails must include the commenter’s first and last name and address. 

As a reminder, Budget Committee responses to posts on social media are limited.  Past meetings can be viewed on the LitchfieldTV Youtube channel.

Litchfield Budget Committee | Meeting Summary | Oct 14, 2021

The Litchfield Budget Committee held a meeting at Town Hall on October 14th at 7pm.  Members in attendance were Andrew Cutter (Chair), John David Son (Vice Chair), Keri Douglas, William Hayes, Derek Barka, Scott Taylor, Kate Stevens, Christina Harrison (School Board Representative), and Robert Leary (Selectmen Representative). Also in attendance were Town Administrator Troy Brown, Finance Manager Karen White, Fire Chief Frank Fraitzl, Deputy-Chief Doug Nicoli, Police Chief Ben Sargent, Captain Thomas Scotti, Conservation Committee Chair Matt Lepore.

Public Input

There was no public input at this meeting.

The following department budgets were reviewed at this meeting:

  • 4220.10 – Fire Department
  • 4290.10 – Emergency Management
  • 4220.90 – Fire Hydrants
  • 4215.10 – Ambulance
  • 4210.10 – Police Administration
  • 4210.50 – Police Support Services
  • 4414.14 – Animal Control
  • 4611.20 – Conservation Commission
  • 4196.90 – Insurance
  • 4155.10 – Personnel Administration
  • 4197.10 – Advertising and Regional Associations
  • 4414.10 – Health Agencies
  • 4191.10 – Planning Board

Tax Cap Discussion

The Operating Budget is currently at $7,442,795, a 3.21% increase over what was voter-approved last March. Mr. Cutter commented that the Town has gone from a $5.2 million budget to a $7.4 million budget over the last five years. The Town is only $24,946 underneath the annual Tax Cap. The Highway Block Grant, Revenue Sharing, and State Revenues will influence that amount. The budget will also be affected once the Committee reviews warrant articles that ask for taxation. The Committee must agree on which, if any, warrant articles it would support, and any new taxation can not go over the tax cap.

Residents are encouraged to attend Budget Committee meetings in person at Town Hall unless otherwise stated.  Public input is also invited before meetings via email to Chair Andrew Cutter at acutter@litchfieldnh.gov.  Emails must include the commenter’s first and last name and address. 

As a reminder, Budget Committee responses to posts on social media are limited.  Past meetings can be viewed on the LitchfieldTV Youtube channel.

Litchfield Budget Committee | Meeting Summary | Oct 7, 2021

The Litchfield Budget Committee held a meeting at Town Hall on October 7th at 7pm.  Members in attendance were Andrew Cutter (Chair), John David Son (Vice Chair), Keri Douglas, William Hayes, Derek Barka, Scott Taylor, Christina Harrison (School Board Representative), and Robert Leary (Selectmen Representative). Absent member was Kate Stevens. Also in attendance were Town Administrator Troy Brown, Chair of ZBA Laura Gandia, Director of Technology John Brunelle, Library Trustee Chairperson Donna Ferguson, Library Director Vicki Varick.

Public Input

There was no public input at this meeting.

Town Business Report provided by Town Administrator Brown

The Town has been working with the Capital Improvement Plan, the School District, and the Library. Impact Fees will be reviewed. The Town planned to use $65,000 of impact fees toward the 2022 Fire Station bond payment. This will be reflected as a reduction in the bond payment budget line, not revenue or an additional principal payment. The bond does not allow for additional principal payments or refinancing for ten years.

The following department budgets were reviewed at this meeting:

  • 4241.20 – Code Enforcement
  • 4411.10 – Health Department
  • 4520.10 – Parks and Recreation
  • 4191.30 – Zoning Board
  • 4550.20 – Library
  • 4195.10 – Cemetaries
  • 4411.20 – Mosquito District
  • 4194.10 – General Governmental Facilities
  • 4150.20 – Information Technology
  • 4140.10 – Town Clerk

Residents are encouraged to attend Budget Committee meetings in person at Town Hall unless otherwise stated.  Public input is also invited before meetings via email to Chair Andrew Cutter at acutter@litchfieldnh.gov.  Emails must include the commenter’s first and last name and address. 

As a reminder, Budget Committee responses to posts on social media are limited.  Past meetings can be viewed on the LitchfieldTV Youtube channel.

Litchfield Budget Committee | Meeting Summary | Sept 30, 2021

The Litchfield Budget Committee held a meeting at Town Hall on September 30 at 7pm.  Members in attendance were Andrew Cutter (Chair), John David Son (Vice Chair), Keri Douglas, William Hayes, Derek Barka, Scott Taylor, Kate Stevens, Christina Harrison (School Board Representative), and Robert Leary (Selectmen Representative). Also in attendance were Town Administrator Troy Brown, Town Financial Manager Karen White, Town Clerk and Tax Collector Theresa Briand, Facility Manager Dave Mellen (virtual), Road Agent Kevin Brown.

Public Input

Thomas Schofield commented that the residents of Litchfield count on the Budget Committee. He criticized the Select Board for treating the tax cap as a starting point for the next year’s spending and using current year funds to purchase a police vehicle and fire vehicle that were not planned for this year. He commented that instead of spending excess money at the end of a year the Town should return the money to the tax payers. Mr. Schofield asked that the Budget Committee scrutinize the Select Board as much as they scrutinize the School Board. He compared the $200,000 encumbered by the School Board from their transportation budget to the excess money spent by the Select Board. Mr. Schofield mentioned the aging fire truck fleet, and that he expects the committee members will be watching his money, as he will be watching further Budget Committee meetings.

The following department budgets were reviewed at this meeting:

  • 4130.30 – Town Meeting
  • 4140.10 – Town Clerk
  • 4150.40 – Tax Collection
  • 4321.10 – Sanitation Administration
  • 4311.10 – Road Agent
  • 4312.10- Road Maintenance
  • 4316.30 -Street Lighting
  • 4150.10 – Accounting
  • 4152.10 – Revaluation of Property
  • 4130.10 – Board of Selectmen
  • 4153.10 – Legal Expenses
  • 4445.20 – Welfare Vendor Payments
  • 4583.10 – Patriotic Purposes
  • 4723.10 – Debt Services

Residents are encouraged to attend Budget Committee meetings in person at Town Hall unless otherwise stated.  Public input is also invited before meetings via email to Chair Andrew Cutter at acutter@litchfieldnh.gov.  Emails must include the commenter’s first and last name and address. 

As a reminder, Budget Committee responses to posts on social media are limited.  Past meetings can be viewed on the LitchfieldTV Youtube channel.

Litchfield Budget Committee | Meeting Summary | Sept 23, 2021

The Litchfield Budget Committee held a meeting at Town Hall on September 23 at 7pm.  The current members are Andrew Cutter (Chair), John David Son (Vice Chair), Keri Douglas, William Hayes, Derek Barka (absent), Scott Taylor, Kate Stevens, Christina Harrison (School Board Representative), and Robert Leary (Selectmen Representative).

Cory Izbicki, School Business Administrator, was also in attendance.

Public Input

There was no public input at this meeting.

Committee Business

The committee reviewed virtual meeting attendance laws and agreed that at the start of each meeting, a motion should be made to allow remote participation at the start of each meeting as needed.  The committee will vote on a case-by-case basis.

The committee discussed handshake agreements versus memorandums of understanding for how unused budget funds are handled.  Depending on need, the Board of Selectmen or School Board may encumber unused funds for necessary projects before returning funds to taxpayers. A handshake agreement made 13+ years ago has been called into question by new members and staff of both the School Board and Budget Committee that specifically any leftover funds in the Special Education Transportation budget should be returned directly to taxpayers.  Members discussed whether a written agreement will make a difference.  Chairman Cutter suggested any agreements be added to the Budget Committee by-laws to be annually reviewed by the committee and school board members.

Business Reports

Updates on town business were provided by Mr. Leary.  The Board of Selectmen have completed the town budget except for insurance information which will be updated in the coming weeks.  The transfer station has begun chipping yard waste instead of burning it which is friendlier to close neighbors and the environment.  The BOS is considering converting the town’s street lights to LED.  The return on investment would be less than 3 years.

Mrs. Harrison provided a school business summary including current enrollment numbers, staff shortages, and the completion of Phase-1A of the LMS construction and energy efficiency project.  Phase-1B, LMS roof replacement, should begin next week.  Phase 2, retrofitting light fixtures and new HVAC systems, will being summer of 2022.  This project was identified as Urgent and accepted into the Litchfield Capital Improvement Plan for 2021.  An LMS kitchen renovation was identified as Desirable in the CIP and planned for 2022.  The district hired a kitchen designer and found that a layout adjustment could be sufficient, and the project likely will not cost the anticipated $300,000.

Mr. Izbicki expects to meet with First Student Bus Company to discuss fuel savings after combining the middle school and high school bus runs, which reduced the daily runs from three to two.

Mr. Son and Mr. Izbicki updated the committee on meetings with the GMS Architect and conversations have begun on costs of renovating vs. a new build.  It is unlikely that Litchfield would receive state building aid because there are other districts with more urgent build needs, but would apply regardless.  Community forums will be conducted to gather input from all taxpayers and school community members.  Impact fees may be visited with the Planning Board to help raise funds.

Town Budget Presentations to the committee begin Thursday, Sept 30, at 7pm, and continue Oct. 7th and Oct. 14th.  

Budget Committee voting on Town Budget is Thursday, Oct. 21 at 7pm.

Residents are encouraged to attend Budget Committee meetings in person at Town Hall unless otherwise stated.  Public input is also invited before meetings via email to Andrew Cutter at acutter@litchfieldnh.gov.  Emails must include the commenter’s first and last name and address. 

As a reminder, Budget Committee responses to posts on social media are limited.  Past meetings can be viewed on the LitchfieldTV Youtube channel.

Litchfield Budget Committee | Meeting Summary | August 26, 2021

The Litchfield Budget Committee held a meeting at Town Hall on August 26 at 7pm.  The current members are Andrew Cutter (Chair), John David Son (Vice Chair), Keri Douglas, William Hayes, Derek Barka, Scott Taylor, Kate Stevens, Christina Harrison (School Board Representative), and Robert Leary (Selectmen Representative).

Public Input

There was no public input at this meeting.

Business Reports

Updates on town business was provided by Mr. Leary.  Town departments have begun their budget presentations to the Board of Selectmen.  The budget committee expects a preliminary 2022 draft town budget in September.

Mrs. Harrison sent a school business summary to the chair as she could not make the meeting in order to conduct interviews for a new middle school principal.  The school district has already begun contract negotiations with the both the teachers and support staff unions.

There are multiple open positions at each school listed at https://sau27.tedk12.com/hire/index.aspx.  If interested please do not hesitate to apply.  

A memorandum of understanding detailing the expectations between budget committee and school board will be discussed at the next committee meeting.  The school district bus contract and potential cost reduction from combining the middle school and high school regular service is also expected to be discussed.

Next regular Budget Committee meeting is Thursday, Sept 23, 2021 at 7pm.  

Town Budget Presentations to the committee begin Thursday, Sept 30, at 7pm.

Residents are encouraged to attend Budget Committee meetings in person at Town Hall.  Public input is also invited before meetings via email to Andrew Cutter at acutter@litchfieldnh.gov.  Emails must include the commenter’s first and last name and address. 

As a reminder, Budget Committee responses to posts on social media are limited.  Past meetings can be viewed on the LitchfieldTV Youtube channel.

Litchfield Budget Committee | Meeting Summary | May 27, 2021

The Litchfield Budget Committee held a meeting at Town Hall on May 27, 2021 at 7pm.  The members in attendance were Andrew Cutter (Chair), John David Son (Vice Chair), Keri Douglas, William Hayes, Kate Stevens, Christina Harrison (School Board Representative), and Robert Leary (Selectmen Representative).

Public Input
There was no public input submitted to the committee.

Committee Updates

Michelle Flynn submitted her resignation as recording secretary for the committee. Matthew Sullivan was confirmed by the Board of Selectmen as the committee’s minute recorder going forward.

Scott Taylor was sworn in to a one-year term on the Budget Committee.

Regular town and school budget updates were submitted by the town bookkeeper and school business administrator.

A request by Mr. Tyler Stefano to extend the bike path to Weatherstone Drive was received and forwarded to the Town Administrator

  • Town Business Report provided by Mr. Leary
    • Baron’s Appliances is proposing a warehouse facility in the northern commercial district to be accessed off of St. Francis Way. In order to build, a variance must be approved by the Zoning Board of Adjustment at the July 19, 2021 meeting.
    • PFOA and Pennichuck water issues are still ongoing
    • Memorial Day Parade is planned
    • Page Road and Town Hall paving are complete
  • School Business Report provided by Mrs. Harrison
    • LMS canopy is complete except for landscaping
    • LMS energy efficiency project is moving on to window replacements to be completed this summer
    • Portables still on track to be removed by July 1st
    • LMS roof project slated to begin in the fall due to material backorder
    • $56.5k CARES funds have been spent
    • SR2 funds are being applied for to close academic gaps and for roof funding
    • SR3 funds are to be applied for once applications are open
    • Support staffing issues are being addressed by introducing a referral and hiring bonus program
    • All building projects are planned to include maintenance contracts
    • Business Administrator report to be available for the next meeting to answer committee questions
  • Capital Improvement Committee Update provided by Mr. Cutter
    • Next CIP meeting is July 19, 2021
  • Facilities Improvement update provided by Mr. Son
    • No new updates aside from those provided by Mrs. Harrison

Public Input Member Input / New Business –
The Budget Committee Bylaws were updated to include language on how the Communication Archivist shall respond to social media comments and questions and to clarify the appointment of new members to vacant positions on the committee.

Next Budget Committee meeting is Thursday, June 24, 2021 at 7pm.

Residents are encouraged to attend Budget Committee meetings in the Town Hall meeting room. Public input is also invited via email to Chair Andrew Cutter at acutter@litchfieldnh.gov. Emails must include the commenter’s first and last name and address. 

Past meetings can be viewed on the LitchfieldTV Youtube channel.