FINANCE COMMITTEE MEETING
MARCH 3, 2015
Committee Chair Ms. Vaughn opened the meeting at approximately 6:00 p.m. Members of the Committee in attendance were Ms. Vaughn, and Mr. Licht. Ms. DePledge was absent and excused. Present from Council were Mr. Evers, Mrs. Quinn-Hopkins, Mr. Hoefle and Council President D’Ambrosio.
In attendance from the Administration were Mayor Morley, Finance Director Slocum, Law Director Klammer, Service Director Rubertino and CBO Menn.
Also in attendance were members of the public.
2015 BUDGET REVIEW: EXPENDITURES
Ms. Vaughn: The only things we will be discussing this evening are the budget expenses. To my best knowledge everyone has reviewed this line item by line item. Mr. Slocum will provide a brief synopsis and answer any issues.
Mr. Slocum: There are really no new spending initiatives compared to last year. There are things we are not covering in this budget – the roof, the police station – these are things we need to have done but we do not have the money to do it. We have closed the $10,000 to $15,000 gap. There was a misinterpretation on some of the new contract language with the Fire Department. It is now $15,000 positive. It is break even. We will probably spend $100,000 less than what we are actually budgeting. For example – equipment repair – I do not know whose equipment is going to break but I need to budget something. We do not budget a lot. I think you have had this for close to a month. I am open for questions.
Mr. Licht: I had questions but was going to do more review and defer it to when we go over this line item by line item. I was looking at the net differences from 2009 to 2014 and the expenses. Now I want to correlate that to 2015 to see what we are budgeting. I will defer my questions until we get into the line by line or I will call you.
Ms. Vaughn: We are not going to do line by line. The Directors are coming to the next meeting to discuss their needs and how they feel about their department and if they can manage on the money we gave them. We used to do line item by line item and the meetings were four and one half hours long so I decided if anyone had a line item question that they should ask Mr. Slocum to get an answer. If you prefer to have it at open meeting that is fine.
Mr. Licht: One of the ones I noticed that came up in a couple departments was building material and supplies. I know it is not a significant amount but last year it looked like there were some pretty significant increases - #101.190.5431.
Mr. Slocum: For example, when you look at household/institutional supplies – last year we tried to get everything paid out of #5431 – we combined everything - #5431 last year would have increased compared to previous years. If you would like I could provide you a comparison on the 5-6 years budget amount.
Mr. Licht: I see each different department has its own budget for it and I thought maybe it would be an opportunity to condense it to one central location where it is monitored a little bit closer than having 4 or 5 separate departments managing their own.
Mr. Slocum: Realistically when we look at these supplies they are all done pretty much by the Service Department. That is all central but we spread it out so items related to Fire are in #320 and Police in #310 and City Hall #190. The other one would be the Senior Center. We could put them together but I do not feel there is any opportunity for any significant savings. We had that same recommendation come out of the Citizens Task Force – toilet rolls and the like. I do not have the people to do it anymore – I do not have an accounts payable person anymore. I do not know who would do further monitoring.
Mr. Licht: The only other one I saw was an expense that stood out in 2014 for special projects - #101.820.5408. I don’t recall what that was.
Mr. Slocum: That is the salt bin. We got the money into the General Fund for the salt bin – that is what we are paying it out of.
Mrs. Quinn-Hopkins: It does not look like they are doing a thing with the salt bin.
Mayor Morley: We started damages against them.
Mrs. Quinn-Hopkins: What does that mean? They are going to pay us?
Mayor Morley: When the time comes – we will take liquidated damages every day that it has not been completed.
Mrs. Quinn-Hopkins: They are not doing anything.
Mayor Morley: C.T. Consultants is monitoring it. They said they had an issue with the steel coming. And, the weather has been a problem. They did pour the cement. We have sent the letters to their bonding company and are waiting for a response.
Mr. Rubertino: There were subzero temperatures the two weeks prior. They cannot work under those conditions.
Mrs. Quinn-Hopkins: They were supposed to be done in November.
Mayor Morley: That is the reason for the liquidated damages.
Mrs. Quinn-Hopkins: How has the current salt bin been standing up?
Mr. Rubertino: We are doing what we need to do. We either leave the salt outside and lose it and deal with EPA problems or cover it with a tarp at $6,000 per tarp – that is not feasible because we do not have the guys to uncover it. We are being as careful as we can be.
Mr. D’Ambrosio: What did you reduce fuel costs to from last year?
Mr. Slocum: It is about a 10% reduction. That is a guess.
Mr. D’Ambrosio: That is such variable from last year. Obviously it is going up now but a 10% reduction is a good guesstimate.
Mr. Slocum: It is such a volatile market.
Ms. Vaughn: Who is our electric supplier?
Mr. Slocum: NOPEC.
Ms. Vaughn: Mayor, I would appreciate it if you could ask the Directors to come to the next meeting in two weeks and be prepared to discuss any questions that may have arisen in their Departments.
Mr. Slocum: I will have a draft of the legislation for the next meeting which will be consistent with the budget. I have had to make a couple of shifts which deals with the clothing allowances. We are making it more of a personnel cost versus other costs – what the IRS forced us into early last year. Other than that there have not been changes to this.
Ms. Vaughn: We will give them an opportunity. Just caution them that we do not need a 45 minute explanation of what they need because we have heard it already but we would like to hear any significant comments.
Mr. Slocum: What you will hear is that they don’t think they have enough money.
Ms. Vaughn: I do not want to listen to an hour of whining. We know there is a problem but it is only fair to give them a chance to expound.
Mr. Slocum: What was a shame today is this letter we sent in an effort to update the resident information in the Flood Program. We all looked at it and said this is something the City should do. But, I prepared the letter which I think I would have done anyway. Mr. Menn and his people with the help of the Clerk of Council actually folded all the letters and stuffed the envelopes and I ended up stamping them. We are talking about clerical jobs that were being done by – and the Mayor was helping too – clerical jobs being done by the CBO, myself, the Mayor and the Council Clerk. The part that bothers me is what was not happening that I should have been doing had I had the proper clerical support.
Ms. Vaughn: Unfortunately there is no motion picture of this that we can show the residents so they know what we are going through. So we have to get the word out somehow.
There were no further questions or comments.
There were no questions or comments
REGOGNITION OF PUBLIC
There was no one else who wished to speak.
The meeting was adjourned at 6:13 p.m.