Back to Advisory Committee Minutes
Town of Hingham
November 18, 2008 Meeting Minutes
Hingham Town Hall
Present: Committee Members Lauter, Seelen, Asher, Cavoores, Eldredge, Ellison, Farrell, Innis, Manning, Marwill, Mooradian, O'Meara
1. Call to order
Chair Irma Lauter called the Advisory Committee meeting to order at 7:04 PM.
2. Approval of minutes for Previous Meetings
The Committee reviewed and approved the minutes from meetings on October 21st, October 27th, and the Executive Sessions convened during the meetings of September 30th, October 7th, and October 21st.
3. HDC and CPC Review
Andrea Young, Administrator for both the Historical Commission and the Historic Districts Commission, provided a brief summary of the respective organizations' missions. She also updated the Committee on Community Preservation Fund spending criteria, projects and appropriations to date, and 2009 applications.
4. Capital Outlay Update – Recreation Commission Request
Jon Asher summarized the Recreation Commission's request at the October 30th Capital Outlay Committee meeting for a Cronin Baseball Field homerun fence.
The Recreation Commission is seeking approval to replace a six-year-old plastic white picket fence needing repair with a vinyl-coated chain-link fence projected to have a 20-25 year life. The Recreation Commission proposed use of its Road Race gift fund to cover the $13,000 - $15,000 projected cost.
Recreation Commission Chair Frank Jones provided additional detail in support of the Recreation Commission's request and underscored its desire to replace the existing fence before winter sets in.
The Committee voted unanimously to approve use of up to $16,000 from the Road Race gift fund to erect the Cronin Baseball Field homerun fence.
5. Financial and Budget Update
Ted Alexiades, Town Accountant, informed the Committee of the issuance of one-year General Obligation bonds for $22.93M to cover short-term funding for:
• The new elementary school ($16M)
• Middle-school modular classrooms ($700K)
• Hersey Street land acquisition ($1.45M)
• DPW Facility funding ($4.78M)
Ted highlighted that the very low Net Interest Cost of 1.135% and the 5:1 over-subscription for the bonds was due to Hingham's current triple-A ratings.
However, Ted signaled that unless the Town improves its General Fund Balance as a % of Expenditures from its FY07 value of 12.22% by June 30th 2009, the Town's rating may be downgraded to AA by November, 2009—just when the Town expects to issue long-term debt for approximately $43M.
Ted indicated that in order for the Town's triple-A rating to be maintained, the General Fund Balance would have to increase by at least $700K-$800K and any Operational Override—if proposed—would have to be approved at the 2009 Annual Town Meeting.
Several Committee members urged Ted to ensure that the Board of Selectmen and the Committee are made aware of any 'short list' actions which should be considered in the near-term to preserve the Town's current triple-A rating—particularly in light of the most recent FY10 budget forecast still showing a $3.2M-$3.3M shortfall.
To facilitate effective ongoing Committee/subcommittee work on the budget, Warrant, Reserve Fund, and as liaisons, Jerry Seelen walked the Committee through a draft Advisory Committee Member Guide. The Guide is still 'under construction,' and feedback was solicited from the Committee.
6. Project Updates
a. South Shore Country Club. Jack Manning, SSCC Subcommittee Chair, provided an update on the status of the Country Club's business plan and finances. Net of lawsuit expenditures, the Country Club projects breaking even between gross revenue (~$1.7M) and expenses for both FY09 and FY10.
Jack also informed the Committee that Nora Berard, Director of Operations, had resigned, and that Golf Course Superintendent, Jay McGrail, had been appointed Interim Director of Operations by the Country Club Management Committee in early November.
b. DPW. Andy Mooradian, DPW Building Committee liaison, brought the Committee up to date on the completion of various construction tasks at the DPW building site. The project is now estimated to under-run its revised budget by $500K-$600K.
c. School Dept/AdCom Working Session. Due to the late hour, Amy Farrell, Education Subcommittee Chair, indicated that she would send an email summary of the November 8th meeting.
7. General Business
Lizzie Eldredge, Education Subcommittee, signaled that unanticipated handicap code upgrade requirements affect both the buildings and grounds at Plymouth River and Foster elementary schools; the potential cost impact of this issue is not yet determined. She also informed the Committee that the full School Committee had voted to approve full-day kindergarten for inclusion in the School Department's FY10 budget.
The Chair urged the Committee to attend the School Building Tours scheduled for Saturday, November 22nd. Convening at 8:00 AM at the Middle School, the tour will include the Middle School modular classrooms, the ongoing work at Plymouth River and Foster, and the new elementary school. The tour is scheduled to complete not later than 11:30 AM.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:40 PM.
Jonathan Asher, Secretary