Back to Advisory Committee Minutes
June 30, 2011 Meeting Minutes
Hingham Town Hall
Present: Committee Members Manning, Asher, MacCune, Dwyer, Innis, Johnson, Kirven,
Marwill, O'Meara, Power, Pyles, Ellison, Friedman, Eldredge, Farrell
1. Call to order
Chairman Jack Manning called the Advisory Committee meeting to order at 7:32 PM.
2. Approval of Minutes
The minutes of the May 26, 2011 meeting were approved by a unanimous vote of the members present.
3. Benchmarking Study
On behalf of the Benchmarking Sub-Committee, Laura Marwill updated the AdCom on the benchmarking project. It was noted that the project was focused on five departments, including Police, Fire, School, Library and DPW, which collectively represent approximately 85% of the annual budget. For a number of reasons, the DPW portion of the project never really got "off the ground"; however, the data for the other departments has been gathered. Ted Alexiades noted that the data gathering was a very labor intensive process and that the School and Library had access to good data due to certain mandated external reporting requirements, but that Police and Fire data was more difficult to gather. It was suggested that this need not be an annual exercise, but, rather, the data should be refreshed every 3 to 5 years as circumstances dictate. Laura led the AdCom through a quick review of the Library data to provide an example of the information gathered.
4. Fund Transfers
The AdCom considered four reserve fund transfer requests as follows:
a. Repairs to Town Pier Approved unanimously.
b. Energy audit/Hersey House
Tank removal Approved unanimously
c. Snow and Ice Approved unanimously
d. Hersey House legal expenses Approved unanimously (Dan Dwyer abstained)
The AdCom considered seven inter/intra-department fund transfer requests as follows:
a. Town Hall salaries Approved unanimously
b. Weights and measures printing Approved unanimously
c. Planning Board clerical services Approved unanimously
d. Accounting temporary services Approved unanimously
e. Selectmen salaries and wages Approved unanimously
f. Building department truck Approved unanimously
g. Town Clerk salaries Approved unanimously
Upon a motion duly made and seconded, the AdCom voted unanimously to authorize Jon Asher, as incoming Chair, to approve any emergent FY 2011 reserve fund transfers in the amount of $10,000 or less.
5. Recognition of GFAO Certificate of Achievement
Ted Alexiades informed the AdCom that the Town had been recognized for excellence in financial reporting by receiving the Government Finance Officers Association Certificate of Achievement. Ted noted that the Town has been recognized many times in the past, but that he was most pleased by this recognition because it reflected the contribution of Sue Nickerson who had principal responsibility for preparing the most recent CAFR.
6. Announcement of New AdCom Members
Jack Manning informed the members that Tom O'Donnell had appointed James Sharkansky, James Taylor and Linda Kutsch to the AdCom effective July 1, 2011.
7. Linden Ponds Update
Ted Alexiades provided the AdCom with an update on the bankruptcy of Linden Ponds' owner noting that the Town had a first position lien on the property, which represents less than 4% of the Town's property tax base. He noted that while he expected to collect amounts due, the owner has begun discussions with the Town regarding a possible abatement.
8. Water Supply Update
There was a discussion of the proposed rate increase by Aquarion. Mary Power provided an analysis that she prepared that showed the impact of such rate increase to the Town budget would be $17,714 in fiscal 2012 and $70,857 in fiscal 2013 and beyond. There was a general discussion of the appropriateness of the rate increase and Aquarion's management of the Town's water supply, especially with respect to anticipated water needs for future development.
9. Middle School Building Project
Dennis provided the AdCom with an update on the Middle School building project noting that demolition costs are reimbursable, contrary to the Town's previous understanding. It was noted that a Special Town Meeting is tentatively scheduled for October 24, 2011, but that the date will ultimately be set by the Selectmen. School Committee member Ray Estes provided some information on the school fields project noting that any proposal for the Special Town Meeting would focus on funding for the track and tennis courts as well as some funding for planning activities, but would not include current funding for a comprehensive fields project.
10. Sewer Update
Jon Asher informed the AdCom that the Sewer/Public Works consolidation had been finalized and was effective as of July 1, 2011.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:49 PM.
Greg MacCune, Secretary