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Selectboard Budget Meeting

October 17, 2023

DRAFT Page 1

Present:

Selectboard-

Fred Blanchard, Sheila Duranleau/Chair, AJ Galfetti

Town Officials-

Josh Bell/Tree Warden, Scott Blanchard /Treasurer & Collector of Delinquent Taxes, Peter Carbee/Planning, Lois Deberville/Town Clerk, Harry Roush/Assistant Town Clerk/Lister

Visitor-

Chad Hewitt from Sullivan Powers & Co

Zoom-

Cheri’s iPad, Sarah Teel

  1. Chair called the meeting to order at 6:38 p.m.
  2. Adjustments to agenda: none
  3. FY25 budget build exercise with Chad Hewitt:

Chad explained the budget work sheets that included the FY23 budget, FY23 budget, FY 23 variance, FY 24 budget and FY25 budget. He wants to use historical trends, and currently known facts by the selectboard.

The town officers were discussed, with some of the FY25 columns altered for anticipated pay. Numbers will be inserted even as place holders as this is the first iteration of the budget.

The town clerk’s office FY25 budget: the town clerk position was separated from the treasurer position as line items as they are now separate positions. Deleted were recording fees and the admin assistant (there is assistant town clerk already as line item). The office cleaning payroll was discussed, Lois had made an error when submitting his pay and will contact him to clarify and rectify. Scott believes he’ll eventually be able to cut his time to ten hours per week, and does have authority to hire an assistant should he need to. Chad will calculate the FICA/Medicare. Chad believes the accounting will go down considerably now that Scott is taking much of it over. 

Remove bank fees/service charges. Building maintenance should be under the selectboard budget per Harry, and Chad said for this purpose (of first go at FY 25 budget) he’ll keep it under town clerk’s office. Fred said Sno-flyers are to pay the electricity at the rec building. Tax sales notices to be deleted as tax sales will pay for their own expenses. Scanner option was discussed for depositing checks, would be another monthly expense, and not budgeted. Chad can add other line items if needed. $2000 for office supplies, reduced as new computers were already purchased, and the land records are to come out of the records and restoration fund. Postage will be higher as Sheila wants to mail the town reports. Harry explained the bulk mailing permit, the town’s old one has lapsed and we would need to purchase another one. Training set at $250. Unifirst was deleted, as Lois had cancelled the service, purchased own mats.

Page 2  DRAFT

Listers’ office: Salaries in total increased in hope of gaining a third lister.  Postage and equipment/supplies deleted as the offices share those. Drop tax maps to $100 just to keep it there, but

there is no one who could touch doing those even at the previous budget. Fred asked if there’s extra at the end of the year, can it be used for tax maps, Chad said yes.

Planning/Zoning: Secretary deleted as no one puts in request for pay. Will leave notices at $200.

Insurance: It can be broken down when bill is known. Will keep the same, although a 5th quarter had been paid in error. VFD was removed.

Other: Animal control increased as he’s being now paid through payroll and town needs to allow for the payroll taxes. Country tax removed as it was paid 2x in FY23, so won’t need to pay in FY25. Hands Mill Dam annual fee reduced to $700 as town doesn’t need to keep money in the reserve, as grant should cover other expenses. Deleted stormwater management. Law enforcement upped to $20,000 in hopes we can get more hours/coverage. Legal fees-tax sales deleted. Deleted miscellaneous repairs, doesn’t need to be budgeted. Barre Town Ambulance/First Branch Ambulance are per capita.

Service agencies: each has to submit request to the selectboard by November 30, 2023.

Articles Warned: discussed and adjusted accordingly. Operating budgets to be submitted to selectboard by November 30, 2023.

Personnel costs: (Highway) AJ wants to budget for 3 full time road crew, no part time, adjusted for pay increases.  Overtime estimates with flex time discussed. Health insurance will be determined by plan chosen.  

Garage: Internet will be added as line item.

Vehicle expense & road materials/maintenance based on projections. Mileage deleted as they use a town truck now.

Debt: 2011 dump truck will be paid off in FY24. 2021 dump truck didn’t get paid in FY23 so FY24 will have two years’ worth payment. 2024 dump truck has been ordered, hope to have it here FY25. The $25000 line item will be/go towards the down payment.

Equipment reserve fund: Chad would like to put money into this so can budget towards other equipment. Discussion on having a 3-man crew do more work, less hiring out.

Sheila shared paperwork for a Class 2 road grant, includes the 2nd part of the grant.

Chad will work on building the next worksheet for the next budget meeting.

PAGE 3 DRAFT

Chad noticed that the tax rate didn’t match what was needed for the town budget. Town will have a shortfall of about $165,000, which is about 20% under-billing. Taxes would have to go up 20% to make up budget plus possibly another 30%. We need to make up $167,00 that would include the under taxed veteran’s exemption. Question is how to fix it. One way is to consider doing a re-billing, or borrow from town and have a tax drop in FY26.

Scott mentioned doing one billing payment in the future, Chad mentioned other towns that do so. At least, bill 6 months apart. A community this size, Chad says makes sense to do one payment per year.  Re-billing this year would cause a lot of chaos ie: state payments already configured.

Chad will send out an updated worksheet with notes.

Public comment: Cheri thanked everyone for their time and on-going work.

Fred made motion to adjourn at 8:57 p.m., 2nd by AJ, ayes carried.

Respectfully submitted, Lois Deberville

This is a draft subject to amending/accepting at the next scheduled meeting, November 1, 2023.

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