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Present: Committee Members Lauter, Seelen, Asher, Dwyer, Eldredge, Ellison, Farrell, Friedman, Innis, MacCune, Manning, Marwill, Mooradian, O’Meara
Chair Irma Lauter called the Advisory Committee meeting to order at 7:05 PM.
The Committee reviewed and approved minutes from the meetings on April 27th and June 2nd 2009.
Selectmen Laura Burns, John Riley, and Bruce Rabuffo each presented their current thoughts regarding Town property that might be ready to sell by Town Meeting 2010.
The following are representative comments by the Selectmen and the Committee:
Town Finance Director Ted Alexiades informed the Committee that the mandatory 2% turn-back within the FY09 budget has been accomplished without layoffs. While FY09 building-permit, investment income, and motor-vehicle excise revenues are all less than projected, property tax collections remain strong.
Moody’s Rating and Outlook
Ted also reviewed the salient points of the Jun 2009 Moody’s Investor Service outlook. Moody’s has assigned a MIG 1 rating for the $12.1M of six-month Bond Anticipation Notes offered on June 9th, affirming the Town’s current Aaa rating.
However, Moody’s has revised the Town’s outlook to ‘negative’ based on the significant erosion of reserves since 2002 and the continuing use of free cash to balance budgets each fiscal year. Ted believes that this negative outlook is very likely to result in a rating downgrade within 18-36 months unless the Town stabilizes and adds to—rather than further depletes—reserves and resumes funding capital at normal levels.
Ted does not expect Moody’s negative outlook to impact the planned issuance of ~$38M of long-term debt in the September-October timeframe.
Budget Process and Financial Policy Issues
Jerry Seelen presented a draft Budget Process and Financial Policy Issues summary, which documents a number of finance-related issues that have been raised at various Committee meetings throughout FY09.
These items will be discussed—and possibly voted on—once Committee meetings resume in the autumn.
Additional items for consideration should be forwarded to Jerry.
Reserve Fund and Intra-Department Transfers
The Committee reviewed and voted to approve the following transfers from the Reserve Fund:
The Committee reviewed and voted to approve the following Intra-Department Transfers:
The Chair informed the Committee that the remaining FY09 Reserve Fund Transfer and Intra-Department Transfer requests will be addressed at the Committee’s July 8th meeting.
The Cable TV Advisory Committee returned to address some of the Committee questions raised during its initial presentation on June 2nd.
The following points were made during the ensuing discussion:
The Nominating Committee consisting of the Chair, Dave Ellison, and Dick Innis reported out a proposed slate of officers for FY10:
The Committee voted unanimously to approve the proposed slate.
The meeting was first adjourned at 11:08 PM.
At the request of members of the public, the meeting was re-convened at 11:20 PM.
Questions were posed regarding the Committee’s position with respect to the action of some of its members in the perceived sponsorship of a potential warrant article. Additionally, the question of a possible process violation by the Advisory Committee as a whole was raised.
There was much discussion about these issues, and the Committee reached no formal conclusions. Incoming Chair, Jerry Seelen, affirmed, however, that the annual review of the Advisory Committee Rules would, this year, involve the gathering of ‘second opinions’ to address any ambiguities and rules needing further definition.
The meeting was finally adjourned at 11:50 PM.
Jonathan R. Asher, Secretary