Present: Commissioners Gregorio, Darling, Bartolotta, Thazhampallath;
Chief Howley, Fire Department members and members of the public.
- CALL TO ORDER
Chairman Gregorio called the meeting to order at 5:58 p.m.
- PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
The Pledge of Allegiance was recited.
- OPEN PUBLIC SESSION
Commissioner Gregorio opened the public session at 5:59 p.m.
- Mr. Penney followed up on the second budget workshop of 4/3/2019 with the following outstanding concerns as well as addressing additional items of concern:
- Inexcusable the commissioners have not insisted on the production of previously requested organizational charts, existing and new.
- Certainly, for the benefit of the district taxpayers, especially seniors living on a fixed income, the needless expense of commissioner payments could be eliminated by a vote of commissioners while maintaining the quality services provide by our hardworking district firefighters. He questioned if the overtime that is to be reimbursed is being budgeted? Not addressed at workshop.
- Overtime expenses to be increased by 33.80% to $ 371,000 annually and without a comprehensive operational plan for the new fiscal year being requested by the commissioners prior to the budget vote is unfortunate.
- It was noted that South Fire District is not the Authority Having Jurisdiction, (AHJ), at the CVH campus and, if state PILOT funding is not being provided by the City of Middletown, then the South Fire District commissioners have a responsibility to the taxpayers to seek funding from CVH to support the cost from service calls at this location.
- Mr. Penney shared that such items as the unnecessary contingency fund of $50,000 (not expended in the previous or current year) could be eliminated, overtime reduced as the district received reimbursement of some $200,000 from the energy plant, and commissioner compensations as well as other items being eliminated to easily bring forward a budget that benefit the taxpayers while maintaining the excellent services being provided and in support of our firefighters.
- Questioned budgeted practice of Grand List @ 99% when previous fiscal year ended (7/1/2017 - 6/30/2018 ) with district effectively collected 101.14%
- CLOSE PUBLIC SESSION
Chairman Gregorio closed public session at 6:04 p.m.
- BUDGET WORKSHOP
Chief Howley reported that after the heart and hypertension hearing, line 7607 could be reduced and after a discussion, it was decided to reduce the line from $500,000 to $150,000. He mentioned that the organizational chart is being worked on. The Chief also indicated that 7603-Replacements/Call Backs has historically been underfunded. As Chief, he attempts to keep it under control but there are contractual obligations that must be adhered to.
It is his intent to move the Fire Marshal's Office in a different direction. For the amount of work generated from the FMO, it is nearly impossible for one person to assume all the responsibility. The Chief indicated that the expenses associated with a second person in that office is included the proposed budget. Commissioner Thazhampallath expressed his disappointment that the Commission wasn't made aware of that until now.
- RE-OPEN PUBLIC SESSION
Chairman Gregorio re-opened the public session at 7:01 p.m.
Mr. Penney commended the Chief and staff for their work on preparing the proposed budget, but continues to believe there are ways to cut spending. He reiterated the need for an organizational chart. He is said it is inexcusable that it wasn't announced until the final workshop that new staffing has in fact been included in the proposed budget. He feels the workshops and referendum should be better advertised.
- CLOSE PUBLIC SESSION
Chairman Gregorio closed the public session at 7:01 p.m.
- SET MILL RATE FOR FISCAL YEAR JULY 1, 2019-JUNE 30, 2020
MOTION to set the mill rate at 5.203% for the fiscal year July 1, 2019-June 30, 2020 by Comm. Darling/Comm. Thazhampallath. Unanimously approved.
- SET DATE AND TIME FOR BUDGET REFERENDUM
MOTION to set the date for the Budget Referendum for April 30, 2019 from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00p.m. by Comm. Thazhampallath/Comm. Bartolotta. Unanimously approved.
MOTION to adjourn by Comm. Bartolotta/Comm. Thazhampallath. Unanimously approved.
Meeting was adjourned at 7:16 p.m.