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Bellingham Finance Committee (FinCom) Meeting Minutes – March 17, 2014
Finance Committee Members Present: J. Collamati (Chair), M. Fernandes, R. Szczepan
Finance Committee Members Absent: J. Allam, J.Cibelli, A. Elliott, J. Palumbo

Chairman Collamati called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM. It was determined that a quorum was not present. Budget hearings would continue, but votes would be deferred until all FinCom members are updated on the hearings.

Town Clerk Odabashian presented budgets #161 (Town Clerk’s Office), #162 (Elections), #163 (Registration). Mrs. Odabashian explained that she added several line items to the Town Clerk’s budget (#161) this year to facilitate the “zero-based budgeting” concept adopted by the Town for FY 2015. Two examples given were budget lines #52400 Charter/Bylaw Maintenance (provided by outside vendor: “General Code”) and #54095 Document Preservation (also provided by an outside vendor). These items were previously included as part of other budget lines.
The Election budget (#162) figures need to be updated by CFO Chris Laviolette before FinCom can take a vote.
Budget #163, which includes costs for Town Census will show a FY2015 increase to $5,000 from FY2014’s $4,000. The actual cost to-date for 2014 is $3,538. The increase is to cover increased costs in postage and printing.
Action was deferred on budgets 161, 162 and 163 until a FinCom quorum is present.

Fire Chief Gentile and Deputy Chief Poirier presented Fire Department budgets. A review of individual line items took place, with questions from FinCom members present. Members were satisfied with the answers provided. Highlights:
Deputy Chief Poirier has been named the new Emergency Management Director.
Hose Testing/Maintenance (#54150) – hoses are tested annually by an outside company to ensure that all hoses are in good shape and to minimize hose replacement.
Uniform costs are contractual.
The 8% increase in salaries for FY2015 is due to an across-the-board 2.5% contractual increase. All 28 firefighters will now be up to scale. 2015 will be the first full year with a full complement of 28.
When asked to identify a potential area for cost cutting (should it be necessary), the Chief reluctantly responded that line item #51505 (Contractual Training) would be a possibility.
Fire Department has no Reserve Funds that need to be reviewed.
Though it has not been a full year with increased ambulance service from the re-opening of South Fire Station, ambulance revenues continue to do well, exceeding expectations.

Having no quorum, no votes were taken on the Fire Department budgets.

The budget hearing schedule was reviewed and several hearing dates were modified.
The 3/10/14 FinCom Meeting Minutes were discussed. Several amendments were made.
Mr. Szczepan reported that the minutes were emailed late on Friday night, and that his original “motion” (it was determined at the time that a motion was not necessary) was that minutes should be emailed to members within 96 hours.
Lacking a quorum, no vote could be taken to accept the 3/10/14 Meeting minutes.

At 8:05, a motion was made to adjourn the meeting.

The next FinCom meeting is scheduled for 7:00PM on Monday, March 24, 2014, with budget hearings for Treasurer/Collector, Conservation Commission, Police Department, Property and Liability Insurance.

Minutes respectfully submitted by:
Larry Sposato, FinCom Clerk