MIDDLEBURY — The Board of Finance met Wednesday, September 14.
First Selectman Ed St. John said the new chief financial officer was unable to attend the meeting due to illness. “I expect him … for the next meeting.”
He noted that the CFO is finalizing the town audit. “It looks good and everything is fine.”
Mr. St. John pointed to the building permit fees and real estate conveyance fees as increased.
Property tax collections are also up compared to budget.
The first selectman said that automotive taxes are paid in the first tax installment, indicating that revenue is up there with few uncollectible bills.
He expects to address liens and back taxes that have been on the books for years.
Regarding expenditures, Mr. St. John reminded the finance board that departments were directed to pay encumbrances early in the fiscal year. “The first couple of months [have] a big hit in the budget, but it’s the same as last year.”
He added, “Energy costs seem to be sifting downwards.”
Recently, the Board of Selectmen authorized the fire department to replace an aging generator with American Rescue Plan Act funds.
Mr. St. John said the town clerk’s office will purchase cabinets to store records, using a grant for that purpose.
The new cabinets should provide sufficient space for many years to come.
Mr. St. John commended Town Clerk Brigitte M. Bessette for her work to organize the town records.
Selectman Ralph J. Barra is working with Joann Cappelletti, director of social services, to develop assistance for seniors. Mr. St. John said he’d like to supplement the fuel bank, possibly with ARPA funds.
During the meeting, Chair Vincent F. Cipriano noted three accounts with negative balances, describing improvement projects that were completed years ago at Ledgewood Park, Mary I. Johnson, and Meadowview Park.
Mr. St. John surmised that there might have been an anticipated state reimbursement that failed to appear and that might account for the negative balance.
Mr. Cipriano suggested the finance board make the appropriate transfers to remove these accounts from the capital non-recurring fund as there should not be negative balances in this account.
Mr. St. John referred to the town charter, noting that there is a threshold above which transfers cannot be made without approval from a town meeting.
Board member Rita H. Smith confirmed that the threshold was defined as a percentage of the total town budget as she calculated three-tenths of a percent.
The board concurred that, after a transfer to balance the accounts, they would be limited to transfers that they could perform without a town meeting as the transfer threshold is for all transfers within the year.
“It isn’t that I don’t want to do it,” Mr. St. John said of a town meeting, recommending that the board move money from the undesignated fund balance to address the matter. “We don’t have any transfers this year from undesignated.”
The board unanimously appropriated funds from the undesignated to zero out the three accounts at $3,189 for Ledgewood Park Improvements, $41,084 for Mary I. Johnson Improvements, and $54,968 for Meadowview Park Improvements for a total of $99243.
Mr. St. John commented on the outdoor concert held on Sunday, September 11, at Shepardson Community Center.
He said planning meetings were educational as he learned what would be involved, including costs.
Donors funded this concert.
Mr. St. John said weather was a negative factor but he was pleased with the efforts of those involved, including the public works, police and fire departments.
He said he would need to research what would be needed to repeat the event but the feedback was very positive. “It went well.”
He also announced that the state will perform a comprehensive study of the Route 64 corridor. “We’ll all get a chance to weigh in at hearings.”