Minutes of the Special Board of Finance meeting held on Monday, April 25, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. at the Old Lyme Memorial Town Hall.
Present:~~~ Regular Members:~ Andrew Russell, Wayne Devoe, H. P. Garvin, III,
Christopher Kerr, Janet Sturges, David Woolley
Alternate Members:~Anne Coburn and Judy Read
Timothy Griswold, First Selectman
Absent:~~~~~ Regular Members:~ None
~Alternate Members:~~ David Kelsey
Guest: Bud Canaday
~Mr. Russell called the meeting to order at 7:35~p.m.~
Following the Budget Hearing, Mr. Russell asked if any member of the Board of Finance had a comment on the FY 2012 budget, as presented.
Mr. Devoe made the point that, while FY 2010 Town audit lists the Town Hall debt at $4.2 million, the Town’s portion of the Regional School District 18 bonded debt as of June 30,2010 was $11,941,760. Since that time, the District borrowed an additional $14.5 million for the High School project in January 2011, is expected to borrow another $14.5 million in 2013 and a final borrowing after that. He said a debt level of $30 to $40 million is very significant and the Board of Finance must always be aware of this as it does its work.
Mr. Griswold observed that, during the Public Hearing, Mrs. Johnson said the Town’s surplus of nearly $3.5 million was unusually high and that additional funding for the non-profit organizations from the surplus would not be material. He cautioned the Board that the rating agencies strongly recommend a town’s surplus be in excess of 10% and that the surplus should not be considered a “cookie jar” for the spending agencies. If the Board were to grant additional funds for the non-profits, other agencies (such as the beach associations) would be tempted to make similar requests. We have seen many examples of natural disasters in the Midwest where large numbers of taxable properties have been destroyed. If Old Lyme had the misfortune of having a large hurricane hit, we could
lose a significant amount of our taxable property which would reduce tax collections. This is another big reason for the surplus.
Mrs. Sturges made a motion that each of the non-profits and the Lymes Youth Service Bureau that requested an increase in their appropriations be granted 20% of their request, as detailed below:
Non-profit Request 20% Increase
Library $7,500 $1,500
Academy $5,000 $1,000
Flo. Gris. Museum $0 $0
Lyme Art Assoc. $0 $0
Affordable Housing $0 $0
Historical Society $500 $100
Lyme Youth Service $3,000 $600
Total $16,000 $3,200
Mrs. Sturges and Mr. Woolley voted for the motion and Mr. Devoe, Mr. Garvin and Mr. Kerr voted against the motion. Accordingly, the motion failed.
Mr. Garvin commented that he supports each of the above organizations but does not favor changing their budget amounts at this point in the process.
Mr. Russell stated that the Annual Town Budget meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. on May 16, 2011 in the Middle School Auditorium.
A motion was then made by Mr. Kerr, seconded by Mr. Devoe and passed unanimously to adjourn the meeting at 8:30 p.m.
Timothy C. Griswold