BOARD OF FINANCE
APRIL 22, 2013
Page 1 of 3
Attendance: Chairman Janet Brunwin, John Grabowski, Sally Huyser, Aileen Magda, Chip Spear, Robert Brinton Jr.
Chairman Brunwin called the Board of Finance Public Hearing to order at 7:05 pm. The Public Hearing was held in the Bethany Town Hall Gym. There were approximately 65 people in attendance.
The first presentation of the Public Hearing was given by Julie Reibold, President of Northeastern Communications, Inc. Julie explained that the technology presently being used for radio communication for the Bethany Fire Department is on a low band frequency. It is such old technology, radio parts are not easily obtained for repair of the radios. Communication is difficult when fire personnel are inside a burning building. To upgrade the system we must move to a high band frequency. At this time there is no space available according to the FCC on the high band frequency. Until this problem is worked out and resolved a price for this upgrade and the related equipment needed is not available. A question and answer period followed the presentation.
Anthony Garro of the Beta Group conducted a Road Study through SCRCOG of Bethany roads. Mr. Garro gave a power point presentation on how the study was conducted, and gave a report on the road repair that is needed in Bethany. The report suggests that with 64 miles of road in Bethany to maintain, that approximately $600,000 would be needed each year to bring all roads eventually into good condition. A program of maintenance would then have to be established. To bring Bethany’s roads up to perfect condition would cost approximately $9,000,000. Anthony then took questions from the audience.
Chairman Brunwin began with an abbreviated power point presentation showing the year ending surplus for fiscal year 2012-13 of $344,000 per the audit. It is estimated that this fiscal year will have a surplus of $285,710. She explained how the surplus from both years’ revenues and expenditures will increase the Fund Balance. The Chairman Brunwin then gave a detailed presentation of Revenues, Expenditures and Capital Expenditures for the budget for fiscal year 2013-14 as recommended by the Board of Finance. If accepted as presented without changes the mill rate will increase 2.2%. This would mean a $167 increase on the average household. The General Fund balance will be near 14% of expenditures. At completion of the presentation the residents present were allowed to ask questions.
Russell von Beren – Wooding Hill Road Russell questioned the mill rate calculation. He commented that he felt some of the numbers for projected revenue were too low.
Peter Chometa – Gaylord Mt. Road Peter wanted more money put in the education budget rather than filling pot holes in the roads.
Heidi Gianquinto – Keegan Drive Heidi felt that more importance should be put on education and the repair to the school and replacement of the annexes.
Sharon Huxley – Old Mill Road Sharon felt that the surplus from last year should be put toward road maintenance and not added to the General Fund.
Aileen Kelly – Schaffer Road Aileen commented she would like to see salaries separated from expenditures in each department. We need to know more details about the running of the town. We need to know how many employees we have.
Pat Martin – Cheshire Road Pat complimented Chairman Brunwin on the good job she and the Board of Finance had done putting this budget together. Now that we have a town news letter she would like to see the website updated.
Russell von Beren – Wooding Hill Road Russell would like to see the refurbishing of Highway Department equipment put back in the operating budget and not listed as Capital Expenditures.
Brian Fournier – Rainbow Road Brian questioned the used bus that the Park & Recreation Commission is requesting as a Capital Expenditure. What would a new one cost?
Russell von beren – Wooding Hill Road Russell questioned the Capital request for the roof replacement. He wanted to make sure that the front steps were replaced. He also suggested putting a railing on the steps in the back of Town Hall.
Alan Towbin – Oak Ridge Drive Alan suggested that since the interest rates are low perhaps the Town should consider bonding to repair roads.
William Brinton – Sperry Road Will suggested putting at least $300,000 in the budget for road repair. If we do not we will never keep up the repair of the roads. Our percentage of roads in good repair will go lower not higher.
David Forman – Downs Road David was in support of properly funding roads rather than allowing them to further deteriorate.
Anthony Apuzzo – Falls Road Anthony appreciated the Board of Finance trying to keep taxes down as much as possible. Anthony questioned the high increase in General Insurance. First Selectwoman Gorski explained that some of the increase is due to an assessment from (MIRMA )when they were the towns insurance carrier for Workmen’s Comp, and the overall experience rate was high.
Gordon LaVassor – Doolittle Drive Gordon supported doing more to maintain the education budget for quality education.
Karen Proto – High Road Karen also supported maintaining the education budget for a good quality of education.
Russell von Beren - Wooding Hill Road Russell felt that the town will be facing large expenses in future years including roads. We should do more planning for large expenses coming down.
Adjournment was called at 9:30 pm by Chairman Brunwin.
June G. Riley
Clerk, Board of Finance