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Selectmen’s Meeting Minutes — January 7, 2008

Present: Laura Sandvik, John Wheeler, and Lynn Benander

1. Chair: We appointed Lynn Benander as the Finance Committee Chair.

2. Review of Articles for Special Town Meeting

The Finance Committee has the following questions and comments on the proposed articles for the upcoming Special Town Meeting:

Article 3. To see if the Town will vote to transfer $30,192 from free cash; and place said sum in the Highway Maintenance Account # 01-5-422-070 to cover the costs of highway garage roof replacement, or take any other vote or vote relative thereto.

We'd like to ask the Select Board to talk with us about their thinking on this item. We're interested in knowing why the whole roof was replaced when the damage was only to a part of a roof. We're interested in knowing more about the decision making process - Who was consulted? What did they say? Why wasn't the Finance Committee included in that decision? We are concerned about the decision making process for an expense to be authorized and expended without town budget approval or knowledge of Finance Committee.

Article 4. To see if the Town will vote to transfer $5,600 from free cash; said sum to be placed in the Highway Maintenance Account # 01-5-422-070 to reimburse said account for unanticipated repairs to the New Holland Tractor, or take any other vote or votes relative thereto.

What repairs are needed? Who will do the work (a dealer or local repair shop)?

Article 5. To see if the Town will vote to transfer $950 from free cash; said sum to be placed in the Highway Maintenance Account #01-5-422-070 to reimburse said account for tree removal at Highway garage, or take any other vote or votes relative thereto.

Please remind us why the tree had to be removed?

Article 6. To see if the Town will vote to transfer $7,000 from the Housing Trust Account # 26-1-040-000; said sum to used for final Engineering and Design Specifications for Reconstruction of Main Street (phase 3), or take any other vote or vote relative thereto.

Can we get a comprehensive overview of Phase 3? What are the total costs? How much of that will come from SF taxpayers?

Article 7. To see if the Town will vote to transfer $10,000 from the Housing Trust 1 Account # 26-1-040-000; said sum to be used as a local match for Reconstruction of Main Street (phase 3) if the town is successful in receiving 2009 Community Development Block Grant Funds, or take any other vote or votes relative thereto.

How are the expenditures in Article 6&7 related?

Article 8. To see if the Town will vote to transfer the sum of $79,947 from free cash; said sum to be placed in the Stabilization Account # 01-5-950-000, or take any other vote or votes relative thereto.

Are we putting aside money for the years when our share of the Mohawk budget increases dramatically? (This has happened to towns from time to time because of the way the town's budget share is determined each year.) If we were putting aside money, what account would it go into?

Other Questions for the Select Board:
How much do we have in uncollected real estate taxes? What's the plan for addressing this issue? What's the percentage? Is it increasing?

What are we doing to get involved with the Franklin Regional Council of Government's energy cost savings program? What are we doing to participate in the State's energy auditing programs? We feel strongly that these cost saving programs are important for our town.

3. How the Finance Committee is planning on working together this year.

a. We'd like to ask the Town Administrator or Treasurer to email us a profit and loss statement and a balance sheet statement every month.
b. We will meet at least once every two months, if not monthly during the year, and more often during budget time.
c. We'll each take an area to specialize in so that we develop more expertise as a committee. John will talk with John or Bob about the vehicles we own. Lynn will focus on education expenditures. Laura will focus on the buildings we own and are responsible for.
d. Lynn will research possible training opportunities for Town Finance Committees. Laura will talk with people on the Ashfield Finance Committee to see how they operate and to see if it would be useful for us to meet with them. Lynn will ask Terry if she knows if there's an updated Handbook for MA Town Finance Committees.

4. Next Meeting - Tuesday, February 24th, 6:30-7:30 pm

a. Review of Financial Reports
b. Share information we've collected on the Town's buildings and vehicles