Wednesday, April 22, 2009

APRIL 20, 2009
Page 1 of 2

Attendance Board of Finance: Chairman Janet Brunwin, Stephen Squinto, Richard Van Horn, Sally Huyser, Robert Brinton Jr.

There were 50 people present at this Public Hearing.

Chairman Brunwin called the preliminary Budget Hearing of the Board of Finance to order at 7:05 p.m. The hearing was held in the gym of the Bethany Town Hall.

Chairman Brunwin welcomed all to the Budget Hearing. She then began the presentation of the budget, showing the audited ending surplus for fiscal year 2007-08 of $141,774. A brief explanation of the auditor’s letter of recommendations was given by the Chairman. At this time it appears that there could be an $82,000 deficit in the budget for fiscal year 2008-09. Chairman Brunwin explained the budget procedure that had been followed this year. All departments were asked to keep budgets flat to keep taxes down, as 82% of the Town’s revenue is from property tax. It is estimated that grants to be received from the State of Connecticut will remain flat also. Seventy- three percent of the budget is for education. Twenty- two percent is Town Government. In the Town Government portion of the budget there were no salary increases for non union employees. There will be a $273,000, or a 3.3% increase to Bethany for the Amity budget. This increase is due to an increasing student population from Bethany. The cost to educate a student at Amity is $16,578. There was no increase to the Bethany Elementary School budget. The cost to educate a student at the Elementary School is $11,782. It is recommended by the auditors, in their letter of recommendation, that the Town hire a part time person as an assistant to the Tax Collector, to both learn his computer program in case of his absence, and to also segregate duties. It is also the recommendation of the Board of Finance, to increase the hours of the Fire Marshal to 30 hours a week, as in this position he is covering both Emergency Management and inspections to businesses. If safety inspections are not completed yearly it could become a liability issue to the Town. The Fire Marshal would also serve as a facilities manager for an additional 10 hours a week. Chairman Brunwin then explained that the Town likes to keep a Fund Balance of between 10% - 12% of its Expenditures . At the present time the Fund Balance is at $2,400,000 or 12.1%. It is proposed to take $47,000 of it, to balance the budget for fiscal year 2009-10. With revaluation we have seen a 14.7% increase in the Grand List. If the mill rate were to be set at 27 mills as calculated with this recommended budget, it would mean approximately an increase to the average tax payer of $108 or a 1.7% increase. Chairman Brunwin then opened the meeting to questions.

Daniel Duhame, Student at Amity – Coachman’s Lane - What does Amity spend the money given to them on? He was told that a detailed budget is available for him to look at in the Town Clerk’s Office.

Kenneth Martin – Sperry Road - Kenneth explained the increase in the budget of the Conservation Commission from $350 to $8,500. The reoccurring cost for the GIS System will now be in the operating budget, rather than as a Capital Expenditure, as this expense will be on going each year, after the program has been completed.

Anthony Minnelli – Amity Road – Are the investments of the Town in banks? He was told they are handled and watched by the Town Treasurer.

Brian Laubstein – Toll Gate Road – Are the accounts secured. Yes they are.

Kenneth Martin – Sperry Road – Is there going to be funding for the Land Acquisition Fund. Yes, $50,000 will be taken from the General Fund for approval at the Town Meeting.

Russell von Beren – Wooding Hill Road – Mr. von Beren would like to see the budget reduced by $150,000. He would like to see the proposed part time employees eliminated as they become full time employees eventually. He would like to see the Board of Education administrator’s raises taken out. Why are we starting an Enrichment Program in this economic climate?

Lucy Painter – North Humiston Drive – As a member of the Board of Education “we have seen a need to start such a program for a long time.

John Paul Garcia – When the addition was made to the Elementary School several years ago two administrators were added because of increasing enrollment. Why do we need two administrators when the enrollment is now going down.

Lucy Painter – North Humiston Drive – The administrators cover many bases. “Without a detailed explanation of their duties all I can say is we are fortunate to have such a great administration running our school”.

Randy Raddatz – Bethridge Road – Randy congratulated Chairman Brunwin for an excellent job on her presentation. He did however comment and question why the Local Capital Expenditure money was not being used for roads? Chairman Brunwin explained that part would be allocated for completion of the pavilion at Veteran’s Memorial Park. Since many roads are in need of repair, and the cost to do this would be considerable, it is the thought that in the future we may have to consider bonding for major road repair.

As the meeting had been legally advertised for 8:00 p.m. Chairman Brunwin officially called the Public Hearing to order. She again reviewed her power point presentation. There were no further questions. She adjourned the Public Hearing at 8:07 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

June G. Riley
Clerk, Board of Finance