CHATHAM FINANCE COMMITTEE
Selectmen's Meeting Room
November 19, 2009
Members Present: Chairman Alan Sachtleben, Vice-Chair Coleman Yeaw, Jo Ann Sprague, Alice Clack, Norma Avellar, Roslyn Coleman, Dan McPhee and Blake Foster
Town Officials Present: Coastal Resources Director Ted Keon
Chairman Sachtleben called the meeting to order at 7:00 pm.
Reserve Fund Transfer Request
Mr. Keon presented the funding request. Ongoing erosion at Cockle Cove Beach and also at Strong Island and Scatteree Beach call for emergency nourishment. Mr. Keon indicated that the parking lot at Cockle Cove Beach would be in immediate jeopardy if a storm event were to occur before the dredge comes in January or February. He continued to say the new inlet of North Beach has had a large impact on the shoreline of Strong Island and Scatteree.
Mr. Foster made a motion to recommend approval of the reserve fund transfer request of $16,000. Mr. Yeaw seconded the motion. After some additional discussion the motion was carried unanimously.
Budget Review Discussion
Mr. Sachtleben noted that a FinCom sub-committee had addressed the question of what criteria should be used by the FinCom to evaluate the Operating Budget. He said the sub-committee believed that the focus should be primarily on larger issues when deciding whether or not to approve a proposed budget. Budgets should be evaluated within the context of the current economic environment. Another consideration would be whether the budget strikes a fair balance among the parties affected by it, including taxpayers, and town and school employees.
Mrs. Sprague said that during the budget evaluation, one option would be to look for new revenue sources, especially as an offset to cuts in state funding. Also, consider the question of whether or not to increase the budget each year by the allowed amount of 2.5%. She continued to express her concern about the 2012 budget and any increases while the wastewater treatment plant costs are billed out to taxpayers.
Mr. Sachtleben discussed the inequity of a possible scenario in which the unions do not agree to a pay freeze, leaving the entire burden of rising compensation to fall on non-union employees and taxpayers.
Mrs. Sprague adds that it would be very helpful for the FinCom to have reports comparing actual revenue figures with budgeted amounts.
Local Room Tax
The Committee discussed local option taxes as potential revenue sources, and the intention of the Board of Selectmen to further explore the topic.
Mr. Foster advocated doing more research on the tax so that the FinCom is informed about it when or if a debate of the tax should arise, especially if it is presented to Town Meeting. He also volunteered to assemble and distribute information on the tax.
The next meeting date will be December 17, 2009.
Mrs. Clack made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 9:00 pm. Mrs. Sprague seconded the motion and all were in favor to adjourn.
Amanda Love Monahan
Finance Committee Secretary