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January 19th Budget Meeting Minutes

posted Jan 24, 2012, 10:46 PM by Wilton Community Center   [ updated Jan 24, 2012, 10:53 PM ]



Location: Wilton Town Hall: Selectmen Office:

7:00 P.M.

January 19, 2012


Members Present: Cary Hughes, Chair, Mark Whitehill, Vice-Chair, Betsy Castro, Rick Swanson, Joe Torre, Dan Donovan, Selectmen Rep., and Dawn Tuomala, Secretary

Chairman Hughes called the meeting to order at 7:02 PM.

1. Review and Approval of Minutes of January 12, 2011:

Page 1 Line 33 after Fire Department add “Building Committee”.

Page 4 Line 27 change will to may.

Motion was made by Joe to approve the minutes as amended, seconded by Betsy, 5 in favor; 1 abstention; motion carried.

2. Catholic Church – Community Center

The chair of the Community Center Committee Nicole Colvin-Griffin passed out the booklets and gave a brief description of how the committee started. Donna Crane said that she moved to Town 3 ½ years ago and wanted a home near to the center of the Town, to be able to walk to various places and events. In the packet is a listing of various different opportunities that could be offered at the Church. The initial programs would include the young to the seniors and everyone in between. The options for the building are almost endless.

Steve McDonough, the Selectmen Representative described that initially a task force was set up to come up with various options for its use if the Town were to take the Church, that has since spun into the Community Center Committee. There are upfront costs involving Life Safety issues to be able to use the building initially. The plan is to have the operating costs offset by the revenues. The proposed operating budget would be $80,000 to $100,000 and be offset by income of $40,000 to $50,000 initially. The cost of upgrading the Church will be a fraction of the cost of building a Community Center out of the ground. This would be a service that the entire Town can use not just that of a few. This opportunity might not come down the road again.

Nelson Stearns has just recently moved back to Wilton from Brookline. The uses for the building are endless; it could even be used for different Town Departments.

Amy Wood has also just moved to Town from Brookline and stated that she became interested when she read a letter posted from Deb Ducharme wondering what was going to happen to the Church. It’s a shame to waste the building; it is a perfect place for a Community Center with various activities for the young and old alike. The Center can be self sustaining as it is in various other communities. It can be a place where you can go and meet your neighbors and others in the community.

Alison Meltzer stated that she also lives on Maple Street and works for the Monahon Architects in Peterborough. She has worked on many projects converting churches for Towns. The Church already has many uses, the cub scouts use the lower floor, the senior dinners are also there and the food pantry is in the rectory building. The Town of Jaffrey proposed a brand new center last year for 3 million dollars and it was turned down.

Lee Manneberg said that she moved to Town about 5 ½ years ago and has small children. The concern is that as the children grow into teenagers there is no where for the teenagers to go. Having the center will give them potential jobs or fulfill community service projects. The center will give them purpose, responsibility, values and relationships. She has lived many places in the world and every place has similar centers for people to use, Wilton needs one.

Trent McDonald expressed his desire to have the Community Center with the various activities that could be offered there. Once it is established then the revenues could also grow.

The activities presently planned involve 7 to 10 people therefore this will keep the parking requirements at a minimum. They did an enormous amount of fund raising in Temple for their renovations. It was decided not to do fund raising before the Town actually accepts the building. Once the building has been accepted then fund raising will be begin and different grants can be applied for to keep the costs to the tax payers to a minimum. They are also going to try to get volunteers to do many of the smaller projects around the property.

The first few years will have the greatest amount of expenses, not because the buildings are in need of many repairs but more because they need to be brought up to health and safety standards for meeting places since it is no longer a church which are often exempt from regulations. The Capital Improvements that need to be done this year are for the lower floor of the church only, they total $110,500. The addition of alarm and sprinkler systems along with making the entrance and bathrooms ADA compliant are needed prior to be able to start using the lower elevation of the Church building.

Part of the rectory lower floor and garage are already being used for the food pantry. The rectory building has a large meeting area in the basement and another on the main floor. This is an asset that can be used in many different ways for the entire community the rectory could even be used for different Town Departments.

There was discussion about making it a non-profit verses having the center Town run. They will start out with volunteers to run the center. There are many different ways to have the center work. For example they can run the inside of the building(s) and the Town takes care of the maintenance on the outside.

The next phase of the project will involve putting an addition on the front of the church that will house an elevator to make the main floor of the church ADA compliant. The rectory building will be easier to access with ramps to the main floor. The building inspector and the fire chief have gone through the buildings. Steve has also had an independent inspector provide a report on the condition of the buildings. He made recommendations for repairs on the rectory building.

Dan stated that he was originally not inclined to accept the offer when he initially went through the building. Steve has since convinced him that this should be put on the Town Warrant for the people to decide. He is impressed with the enthusiasm that everyone has for this project. He noted that many communities have a place for the public to use some are attached to the fire stations and they even have elaborate kitchens for functions. He feels it is a viable project that will be good for the Town.

Betsy appreciated all of the work that was put into preparing for this project but the question remains whether we can afford it. Grant money has been slow in the last few years.

Mark said that as treasurer he sees all of the bad news with the lack of revenues coming into the Town. Currently there is $854,000 in uncollected property taxes right now. This project will increase the tax rate about 50 cents for every thousand dollars or about $150 on a $300,000 property. There are many people here that are elderly, on fixed incomes, unemployed or underemployed people that can’t afford any more taxes. The schools all need to have major maintenance done on them and the Fire Department wants a new addition so there is a long line of people waiting for tax money. The Town needs to keep up with the infrastructure it has already built. The Main Street was a similar case when they came in to the Town they were going to be self sustaining etc. but we are still paying for them today. He is just being realistic about the costs.

Steve, with all due respect if it doesn’t happen this year then it will probably never happen. Look at the list and there are potential uses that can have everyone in Town enjoying the center. Gary Zippolo stated that he needs a place where he can hold EMT classes. Last night he had to have a class in the hall of the Town Hall.

3. Town Hall Budget Revisions

The budget will be reviewed next week.

4. Sewer Department Budget Revisions Jim Tuttle

Many of the redundant lines were eliminated. In doing so some of the existing and last years proposed budget were erased, therefore the percentage increase is wrong. The actual amount of the proposed budget last year was $215,820.

5. Water Department Budget Revisions – Jim Tuttle

The redundant lines were also eliminated from this budget as well. The Main Street Project which was previously spread throughout the budget has been consolidated into one line totaling $112,500. Paving, supplies and contract services are offset by fees and reserves.

Under contract services for the New Reservoir Dam project, engineering services are to provide planning and design totaling $8,000 to 10,000 this year and the repairs are to be done in 2013. The State has agreed with this timeline.

The hydrant rentals for the Town have gone up $20 to $220 for each of the 93 hydrants. This is a 10% increase for a total of $20,460. The Town rents the hydrants from the Water Department for fire fighting purposes. The hydrant rental is compensation to the Water Department for the use of the water while fighting fires and for providing larger water mains in the street for fire fighting fires. Water mains for just domestic use would not require as large of a main. The Water Department buys the parts, cleans, paints and maintains the hydrants for the Town. A new hydrant costs about $3,000 and one was added at the Roedel Mills this year. They are also in the process of changing out the old 2 spigots to accommodate the larger capacity that the fire trucks can now pump. The hydrants are also flushed once or twice a year.

6. Review of Final Figures

The final figures have not been put together yet. They will be ready Sunday night or Monday morning.

7. Final CIP Requests

A revised CIP plan was presented with all of the changes previously discussed. The revenues at this point have been estimated with the addition or deletion of last years warrants. The final figures have not been supplied yet. The Church Capital Improvements along with the yearly operating budget have been added at the end below the Municipal Total Line.

8. Labor Raises All Departments

The discussion on Pay Raises has been postponed until due to the fact the totaling of the final budget has not been completed yet. There was discussion about when to have the meeting since next Thursday we are hosting the other Towns for the Ambulance and Recycling Budgets. It was decided to have a work session Monday night to go over the final numbers and the pay raises.

9. Other Business

The ambulance and recycling budgets need to be sent to the other Towns as soon as the pay raises have been determined.

10. Adjournment

The next meeting will be a work session on January 23, 2012 at 7:00 PM at the Wilton Town Hall. The next regular scheduled meeting will be January 26, 2012 at 7:00 PM at the Wilton Town Hall. This meeting will be a joint meeting with other Towns regarding Ambulance and Recycling Center.

A motion was made to adjourn the meeting by Joe and seconded by Betsy; all in favor. The Budget Committee was adjourned at 8:40 PM.

Respectfully Submitted,

Dawn Tuomala, Secretary

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