BUDGET COMMITTEE MEETING MINUTES
7 JULY 2023
The Chair Commissioner Erin Curry opened the meeting asking Commissioner Matt Rubelsky to offer a prayer and lead the pledge. The minutes of 25 May 2023 were moved for approval by Commissioner David Adams, seconded by Commissioner Terry Jones and were unanimously approved. The minutes of 27 June 2023 were moved for approval by Commissioner Roger Reedy and seconded by Commissioner Gayle Jones with one change by Commissioner Jones, i.e., to add a notation that the school committee meeting originally noted in the minutes for 7 July had subsequently been postponed. The motion was then approved unanimously.
In discussing the agenda item on Budget Amendments, the Chair turned the discussion to the Financial Manager (FM) Beth Moore-Sumners. The FM gave an update on the previously discussed insurance increase, stating there had been a misunderstanding on the increase. The increase shown on the invoice was $54K less that originally considered, with both the county and the highway insurance being shown as one lump sum. She also noted that while there was an increase of 78% on property insurance the workers comp insurance went down. After using the previous EMS transfer into the general fund balance, with this new understanding the net increase is $2,895 to the good so no amendment to the budget for the insurance increase is required.
Budget Amendments – The amendments for review show two grants and the rolling over of outstanding obligations, e.g., purchase orders from the previous year now rolling over into the current year (for audit recommendations). A question from the Chair on whether the rollover amounts include the planned purchase order of $70K to update the basement annex conference room, with the FM stating yes. Commissioner David Adams asked about the purchase orders for the animal shelter and the status of the effort, i.e., the building, fencing, and pad that Sands Fencing was to do. The FM said an invoice had not been received, and other commissioners spoke on some activity such as leveling off some of the location and with the Ag Enhancement program being implemented and that being a “sure thing” Sands may have put this effort on the back burner. The FM did say there will be a school amendment for their insurance that will need to be addressed at a later time. It was also noted that the previous Animal Shelter manager had left for law enforcement and that a new hire was now in place.
Commissioner Gayle Jones asked about the $18675 amendment which is for a new website for the county, and which will require a new company after going through the bid process. A motion by Commissioner David Adams, seconded by Commissioner Terry Jones to approve the Budget Amendment as provided in the handout was made and was approved unanimously.
The FM gave an informational statement on the expenditures of the budgeting process. She noted that the “Estimated Actual” is where she expects the budget to be at the end of the fiscal year. Taking off the fiber funding, there is currently $1.6M unexpended over all the county departments and when looking at the budget that is a 400K increase vs what was budgeted. She gave considerable credit to the department heads in being frugal and staying within their budgets, except in those cases with some unknown random expenditures, such as medical for inmates. Commissioner Gayle Jones in recapping said so the numbers are not concrete yet because we don’t have final numbers for revenue. She asked that when available copies of those numbers for revenue be provided electronically to the commissioners. Commissioner David Wamble discussed a previous discussion on an ambulance remount in the EMS meeting and asked that funds of $160K to $175K be set aside for that in this year’s budget. Commissioner Wamble also discussed the timelines of acquiring a remount with up to two years being mentioned.
The Chair asked if there is any old business and the non-profit requests were generally discussed with the total being $74,210. The August 4th meeting will consider those requests and she asked if designated individuals would contact those organizations personally to provide then with that information. She did mention the shelter already has the humane society included in their budget. The Chair also mentioned a school committee meeting may precede the budget meeting on the 4th. A question from Commissioner Roger Reedy on the funding for New Canaan and that being from a separate budget line item he stated that their request would be in keeping with the balance in that account. That being somewhat less than $10K.
Under Old Business, Commissioner Gayle Jones asked about the school improvements and how many bids were received. The FM said the process was for a Request for Quotes (RFQ), was put in the paper, and “run” through the school board. She further stated that RFQ do not have to come through Financial Management. Once there is a Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) contract in place the FM is not part of the bid process. Commissioner Judy Pruett said she understood there was only one that qualified. And that once the school budget is approved by the full Legislative body, we as commissioners are out of it. The FM said true, however because it does address funding, they still have to follow our rules for finance. With this being a new process to the county, the FM said she had run it by the state Comptroller. Per that person, if GMP contractor says OK and school board signs off, the FM is out of it. The GMP guarantees a price unless there is a change order. Commissioner Gayle Jones asked, if a change order, does that then come back to the FM or to the school Board. The FM said at that time she would call the Comptroller and find out. The FM also said the previous amendment covered $1M as a contingency fee for Pulaski Elementary and Bridgeforth schools but they will probably need more. Commissioner Wamble asked on how change orders are initiated, are they a surprise or does the school board do? The chair answered with they are usually agreed upon upfront as being her experience. Commissioner James Lathrop asked if the County Executive had reviewed the proposed contract and could the commissioners see that as well. The FM said all are public records and available to all. Commissioner Lathrop asked about documentation for renovations and had the CE and the county attorney reviewed. The FM said no, there is no requirement for them to review, it is up to the school board and their attorney. Commissioner Reedy commented that all documentation is subject to public review including commissioners, but for the schools we cannot be part of the decision-making process after the budget is approved, we can’t force their decisions as they are also elected officials.
At this time a motion from Commissioner Terry Jones, and seconded by Commissioner Roger Reedy to earmark $175K for an ambulance remount using the fund balance which grew due to the ambulance departments unexpended previous budget year costs. A roll call on the motion was taken, with the motion approved 6 – 1 with Commissioner David Adams voting no.
Other New Business, the chair asked for discussion on not having a July meeting for the full legislative body based on suggestion from the County Executive (CE). Areas mentioned: advertising in paper meeting dates; have done meetings quarterly; cost of the meetings; and rules state when having meetings. A suggestion was made that the CE discuss with the county attorney.
Amotion by Commissioner David Adams to adjourn, seconded by Commissioner Gayle jones, was made and was approved unanimously.
ATTENDEES: Members of the Committee Chair Commissioner Erin Curry, Commissioners: Terry Jones, David Adams, Roger Reedy for Mathew Hopkins (absent), Gayle Jones, Rose Brown for Evan Baddour absent and Judy Pruett Other Commissioners in attendance: Shelly Goolsby, Tracy Wilburn, Dr. James Lathrop, Matt Rubelsky, Joyce Woodard, Annelle Guthrie, Tammy Mathus, David Wamble, Brad Butler Other: Financial Management Director Beth Moore-Sumners, Shana Woodard, OEM Director Bill Myers and members of the public