Chairman Henry Ashmore called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM
Present were: Budget Committee members Henry Ashmore, Reggie McDevitt, Hubene Brodie, Linda Feury, Joe Young, Robin Veysey; Administrative Assistant Stu Marckoon, Fire Chief George “Skip” Smith
Minutes of November 3, 2003 – Mr. McDevitt moved to approve the minutes as written. Mrs. Brodie 2nd. Vote in favor was unanimous.
Fire Department Budget – The committee was presented with the fire department budget and looked it over for several minutes. Mrs. Brodie asked if there was an attendance criteria for fire department personnel. Chief Smith said there was, including training and helping with fund-raisers. Dr. Ashmore asked about the status of the air handling system. Chief Smith said it’s all installed, but the painting project has not yet been completed. A short discussion followed on how the funding for the project was completed.
Mr. McDevitt asked if the fire department is still voluntary. Chief Smith answered yes. Dr. Ashmore said the compensation is a reimbursement for gas, clothing. He asked how many members there are. Chief Smith said around 27. Discussion followed about recruiting some younger members.
The committee reviewed the fire department budget line-by-line. There were short discussions and explanations on the following items:
Fire Truck Reserve – Dr. Ashmore asked when the plan is to replace a truck. Chief Smith said the department would like to purchase a rescue/pumper, and explained the function of the truck. He said it would meet two needs with one piece of equipment. He said they would dispose of the 1975 LaFrance. Dr. Ashmore asked if this would add to the fleet. Chief Smith said it would not. Dr. Ashmore asked about price for a new truck. Chief Smith said they estimate $55,000 for the chassis, and $135,000 for the rest. Mr. McDevitt asked what size truck it would be. Chief Smiths aid a 35,000 Pound GVW frame. Dr. Ashmore asked if there was something special about the chassis to make it that expensive. There was a discussion about the chassis, and whether two trucks or one would be purchased. Mr. McDevitt asked when the next new truck purchase would come. Chief Smith said after this one in 10-to-12 years.
Dr. Ashmore asked where the $190,000 would come from. Chief Smith said the fire department has raised enough money to purchase the chassis. Dr. Ashmore asked if the chief proposes to pay for this in one lump sum. The chief said however the town wants to do it – either a loan or lump sum. Dr. Ashmore said it would be quite a hit in one year. Chief Smith said sale of the 1975 LaFrance could help offset the cost. Ms. Feury asked how much that might bring in. Chief Smith said possibly $25,000. A discussion followed on financing options and design of the truck. Mr. McDevitt said he was concerned the truck might be too small.
Stu said this has not yet gone before the Selectmen. Mr. Young said the $190,000 cost could be cut down pretty quickly with using $55,000 from the fire department, $25,000 from the reserve account, and $25,000 from the sale of the existing truck, bringing the amount needed to raise down to $85,000. He said if you look at that over 5-years, the net expense to the town above what’s placed in the fire truck reserve now is about $10,000/year. He said that’s pretty affordable. Dr. Ashmore said that’s a pretty good argument.
Police Patrol – Stu said the matter is still under study, and he placed a figure in the budget merely to put one in there. He said he expects a report in about a month or less.
Parks and Recreation – Stu said he kept the budget the same as the previous year, but had not received the YMCA request for this year yet.
Revenues - There was a brief discussion of cash flow and surplus.
Other – Mr. McDevitt asked when a guardrail might be coming for Shore Road. Stu said he hoped in the next week.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:45 PM
Stu Marckoon, Adm. Asst.