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Board of Finance Minutes 03/21/2017
Minutes of the Board of Finance meeting held on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. at the Old Lyme Memorial Town Hall.
Present:~~~~~~~~~~ Regular Members:~ Andrew Russell, BJ Bernblum, Christopher Kerr,
Janet Sturges, David Woolley
Alternate Members:~ Adam Burrows, Bob Jose                      

Bonnie A. Reemsnyder, ex-officio
Nicole Stajduhar, Finance Director                                      
Mary Jo Nosal, Selectwoman                                                      
Skip Sibley, Selectman
Absent:~~~~~~~~~~~ Regular Members:~  H. P. Garvin, III
~Alternate Members:~~David Kelsey
Guest:          Katie Huffman, Director, Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library
                Alan Poirier, President, Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library
                Lynn Fairfield-Sonn, Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library
                Mary Seidner, Director, Lyme Youth Service Bureau
Eric Olson, Board of Directors member, Lyme Youth Service Bureau
                Laurie Pavlos, Business Manager, Lyme Art Association
                Ed Adanti, Director, Old Lyme Public Works              
Judith Read, Resident
Four Jr. Woman’s  Love Your Playground Committee Members              

Mr. Russell called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.

Mr. Russell noted that there is a regular member absent this evening, therefore, a motion was made by Mrs. Sturges, seconded by Mr. Woolley, to have Mr. Jose vote for Mr. Garvin his absence.  Motion carried.

211-1100  Other Associations

7001 Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library

Mr. Poirier highlighted the library renewal project that began with Phase I, of drawing on patron and staff feedback to develop new mission and vision statements, and develop a new strategic plan.  In Phase II, expected to conclude Fall 2017, they will identify how the facility and use of library space can be redesigned to align with the new vision and to better serve the community.  To help facilitate this process, the library Trustees hired LLB Architects to develop several alternative conceptual designs.  Mrs. Huffman highlighted the library’s revenue and expenditures.  She stated that the library continues with various fund drive efforts, however is anticipating a lower pledge amount after their decision to not host the Bookworm Ball. In lieu of the Bookworm Ball, the Friends of the Library are working on a Bookworm Challenge to reach out to the sponsors who supported the Bookworm Ball.    Expenses are up 1.4% with decreased State funding and Grant opportunities available to the library.  The Library’s Expenditures are up by 1.9% due to salary adjustment recommendations and new hires.  There is an increase in the Retirement Plan due to more employees participating for the full year and increased expense resulting from payroll increases.  Decreases expected are in Health Insurance due to fewer employees participating and reduced premium.  The Professional Development and Training, Dues and Membership lines have decreased.
Board of Finance Meeting                                                                March 21, 2017  

Operating Expenses are up 1.4% with increases in Library Materials, Preservation and Programs, Building, Equipment, Maintenance, Supplies, Yard and Office due to increase in building contracts, as well as Libraries Online Network and Automation contractual fees.  There is also in increase in Business Expenses, Postage, Printing attributed to increases in postage rates, credit card processing fees, and mailing to support increased Annual Fund Drive efforts.

A motion was made by Mr. Kerr, seconded by Mrs. Sturges to approve $325,000 for the PGN Library. Motion carried.

206-0610  Lymes' Youth Service Bureau

Mrs. Seidner, Director of the Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau, presented the LYSB proposed budget.  
She stated that the Governor’s proposed budget cuts may impact State Grants available to the LYSB.  Majority of their budget is salary, which is a 2% increase, which is in line with the town.  Increases in Repairs and Building Maintenance are due because of the age of the building and equipment.  The Basketball/Playground project has been a popular meeting place and is used very often. The benches and landscaping still needs to be completed in that area.  There are several new programs being offered with programs, activities and support for teenage boys, parents and community called “Raising Healthy Boys”, and has discussions on Internet and Gaming Addiction.  LYSB recently received a donation which was used for ceiling repair work in the main office.   LYSB is one of the few private, non-profit, Youth Service Bureaus with approximately one-third of their income raised through fund-raising efforts and contributions.  Their board continues to aggressively fund raise to defray their operating expenses.   In conclusion, the LYSB is requesting $87,000, a $3,000 increase from the town.

A motion was made by Mrs. Sturges, seconded by Mr. Bernblum to approve $87,000 for Lyme Youth Service Bureau.   Motion carried.

211-1100  Other Associations

7002  Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts

Mrs. Sturges stated that she and Mr. Jose met with George Synodi, Vice President of Finance at the University of New Haven and Todd Jokl, Campus Dean, and they both felt that the Academy was on the right track by consolidating administration with the University of New Haven, and running it as a business with a progressive five year plan in place. The Academy enrollment continues to increase annually. This year’s request is $20,000, $10,000 towards operating and $10,000 for their Capital project.  The College intends to use a capital grant to assist the College in implementing an enhanced security system on campus.  The system includes increased interior and exterior cameras as well as key-card access to exterior doors as well as select interior access points on campus.  The total cost of this project is in excess of $100,000 and support from the Town is crucial in completing this capital project.

A motion was made by Mr. Kerr, seconded by Mrs. Sturges to approve $10,000 towards operating for the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts.  Motion carried.
Board of Finance Meeting                                                                        March 21, 2017

7003  Florence Griswold Museum

Mrs. Sturges detailed the submitted budget for Florence Griswold Museum stated the requested amount of $12,500 for the upcoming fiscal year.  In light of significant State cutbacks to arts and humanities funding, Town support is of greater importance to the Museum in order to maintain the highest standards of exhibitions and educational programs that improve the Town’s and Museums reputation as a major tourism destination.

A motion was made by Mr. Kerr, seconded by Mrs. Sturges to approve $12,500 for the Florence Griswold Museum.  Motion carried.

7004  Lyme Art Association

Ms. Pavlos thanked the town for their support and highlighted what’s been accomplished with the town’s assistance.  Ms. Pavlos reviewed The Lyme Art Association’s budget and stated that the Association is seeking $6,000 for General Operating purposes.  Ms. Pavlos stated that the Lyme Art Association is hoping for Town support of $10,000 for their Second Century Capital Campaign.  The Lyme Art Association has been receiving from the Town a Capital grant in the amount of $10,000 a year for 4 consecutive years (2014-2017).  This has been used for the historic restoration of the Charles A. Platt-designed building, and 2017 is the fourth year of this request.   She explained the three phases of the project have already been completed.  Phase one included a building condition assessment in which they had their entire building completely examined and assessed.  Phase 2 has been completed as well which included developing a master plan to address meeting their growing needs, and the needs of the community. Phase 3 defined the protection of the building and addressing the envelope of the building, which includes replacing exterior shingles and trim, windows, and walkways. This spring, the Association will be soliciting bids for the upcoming work on shingles and millwork.  Ms. Pavlos stated that new signage has been installed making the Association more visible for the general public and the installation of LED lighting has helped in decreasing the utility bill.  

A motion was made by Mr. Kerr, seconded by Mr. Jose to approve $6,000 for the general operating purposes.  Motion carried.

7006  Old Lyme Historical Society

Mrs. Sturges stated that the Old Lyme Historical Society is requesting grant money in the amount of $3,500.  Historical Society is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization that was incorporated in CT in February 2005.  The Society is governed by its Board of Trustees, consisting of up to 25 members and over 300 active members.  

The Historical Society bought the Grange Hall a couple of years ago and has worked very hard to make many improvements needed as well as to make the building more efficient.  Their Capital Campaign and the Town’s non-recurrent grant in the amount of $15,000, which was spread over three years ($5,000/yr.), made it possible to make the necessary improvements to the building.  These Improvements include an office in the front foyer, insulating the attic, creating an archival area that is climate controlled for the paper documents, installing a security system, installing a new propane furnace along with an air conditioning
system to fully air condition the building. Therefore, the Historical Society is not requesting any capital funding assistance from the Town.
Board of Finance Meeting                                                                        March 21, 2017

A motion was made by Mrs. Sturges, seconded by Mr. Kerr to approve $3,500 for the Old Lyme Historical Society.   Motion carried.

Mrs. Reemsnyder stated that a few representatives for the Junior Women’s Love Your Playground Committee are in the audience to discuss the Cross Lane Playground project.  Mrs. Reemsnyder highlighted the various steps that have already been taken on the project.  There are several issues with the soil and the feasibility of the area in question.  Mr. Adanti stated that the area chosen is not suitable because of the base that the playground will be set on and possibly the location of it should be chosen more appropriately.   He praised the Committee for all their hard work and said that he’d be happy to help them through their planning process.  Mrs. Reemsnyder said that she has a meeting with Anna Reiter and a playground representative to discuss options and will be working closely with the group.  Because of the amount of money involved, she stated that this project should be taken to a Town Meeting.  She felt that with a Town Meeting, it could possibly result in additional support from the townspeople who may not be aware of this project and would be willing to help achieve their goals.

Lymewood and Ryefield Manor Tax Abatements

Mrs. Stajduhar stated that last year a 75% tax abatement was granted.  Mrs. Sturges stated that exterior improvements have been significant at both areas.  Mr. Russell stated that the tax abatement amount for Lymewood is approximately $16,500 and Ryefield Manor is approximately $16,500 as well.

A motion was made by Mrs. Sturges, seconded by Mr. Woolley to continue 75% tax abatements for the upcoming year for both entities.  Motion carried.

203-0300-0011-012   Public Works – Tree Removal   

Mrs. Reemsnyder stated that after discussions with the Tree Warden and Public Works Director, the Public Works Tree Removal budget should be increased to $15,000.  During discussions, several trees were identified as needing to be removed.  Mr. Russell stated that $5,000 has already been approved for Public Works Tree Removal, therefore, an additional $10,000 would need to be added to that line item.  There was a discussion regarding the history of the two tree removal budgets, Public Works Tree Removal and the Tree Committees Tree’s Contract Services budget.   

A motion was made by Mrs. Sturges, seconded by Mr. Woolley to add an additional $10,000 to the Tree Removal budget.  Motion didn’t carry.  After further discussion, a motion was made by Mr. Kerr, seconded by Mrs. Sturges to add $15,000, increasing the Tree Removal line to $20,000, thus, changing the total Public Works budget to $400,060.  Motion carried.

Board of Finance Meeting                                                                        March 21, 2017

201-0050   Registrars’ – Primaries and Referendums

Mrs. Stajduhar stated that the proposed budget includes increase stipend for election workers to match the CT minimum wage and salary increases for the registrars that have not been addressed previously.  The reason is based on dramatic expansion of voter registration process over the past few years through both DMV and on-line registration.  The Registrars’ budget was reviewed.  There is an increase in Elections, Mileage, Primaries, Referenda Other/Miscellaneous and Education/Training.  

A motion was made by Mr. Woolley, seconded by Mr. Kerr to approve $25,390 for Registrars’ – Primaries and Referendums Operating Expenses, minus salaries.  Motion carried.       

202-0280   Land Use Department

Mrs. Stajduhar stated that there are decreases in Land Use Mileage, Legal Planning, Legal Zoning, Legal ZBA, Advertising Zoning, Engineering for Inland Wetlands, Engineering Planning, and Engineering Zoning, Land Use Printing and Land Use Other lines.

A motion was made by Mr. Kerr, seconded by Mr. Woolley, to approve $94,544 for the Land Use Department.  Motion carried.         

201-0400-0001  Treasurer - salaries

Mrs. Stajduhar detailed the reasoning for increasing the Finance Assistant to full time. She highlighted the daily operations of her department.  There was discussion to hire another person part time versus increasing the assistant to full time with benefits.  Mr. Sibley suggested that hiring a part time payroll clerk who could also take care of employee and pension matters of town entities could be more beneficial to the Finance Department.  Not only would it save on the benefits but the person hired could add extra coverage to that department, as well as take over functions that would free up the assistant to do other tasks.  After discussion, voting on changing Treasurer’s Salaries was tabled until further investigation.

State Police Contract

Mrs. Stajduhar received a proposal contract of the Resident Trooper projections and feels that the number previously approved should be sufficient.  Mrs. Reemsnyder stated that five individuals have been identified for interview.

Audit Engagement Letter

Mrs. Stajduhar reviewed the Audit Engagement letter which is in the amount of $33,175.   The Engagement letter is with the new firm of PKF O’Connor Davies in which the auditor that attended the December Finance meeting is a partner.   There was a discussion on the fee in the Engagement letter and, with the change in auditing companies, perhaps it should go out to bid for the Town Auditors.
Board of Finance Meeting                                                                        March 21, 2017

Mrs. Reemsnyder suggested that the process begin with a committee and to initially start with a Request for Qualifications and solicit for the Town Auditors.  Mr. Bernblum questioned the timing of soliciting for the Town Auditors.  Mrs. Reemsnyder stated that an RFQ for the auditing services would solicit for qualifications, which doesn’t give the quoted amount.   Mrs. Stajduhar stated that she spoke with the auditor from PKF O’Connor Davies and he decreased the original quote amount by 1.5% to $32,700.

A motion was made by Mrs. Sturges, seconded by Mr. Kerr to approve $32,700., and retain O’Connor Davies for one year.  Motion carried.

Governor’s Proposed Budget:  State Teacher’s Retirement

Mrs. Reemsnyder stated that COST received a legal opinion from the Town of Ridgefield and COST shared the legal opinion with the towns.  The legal opinion is that the agreement with the Teacher’s Retirement is with the State and it’s not legal to push it off on the individual towns as it was not an agreement with them.  Mrs. Reemsnyder recommended that the town not approve adding the funds for the proposed budget to the Town’s budget.

Suspense List           

The Suspense List was circulated and reviewed.   From March 2016 through February 2017, $2,735.93 was collected from the suspense list.  The Suspense list breakdown is as follows:  Motor Vehicle - $12,840.06, Motor Vehicle Supplement - $1,686.21, Personal Property - $1,756.69.

A motion was made by Mr. Kerr, seconded by Mr. Woolley to accept the Suspense List in the amount of $16,282.96, as presented.  Motion carried.

Approval of March 07, 2017 Minutes

The minutes of March 7th were tabled until the March 28th meeting.

Capital Expenditures

Mrs. Stajduhar distributed the Five Year Capital and Nonrecurring Budget.  There was discussion on the various line items that were decreased, eliminated or pushed out another year or so.  Notable changes include removing funds for the Cross Lane playground and the Hains Park bathroom renovation as these two items should come up at a Town Meeting in the near future.  There’s a decrease in the Sound View cameras, Police vehicle and a mobile video recorder for a police car.  Funds were included for 2 dams in an inundation plan. Funds were included for arm replacement for streetlights as a result of the contract agreement.  After discussion the Mile Creek Bridge project was removed until a final amount is secured as there a possible 48.5% grant reimbursement.  There was discussion on changes of items totaling $900,000 with items to go before Town Meeting and decreasing the Mile Creek Bridge to $550,000.

Board of Finance Meeting                                                                        March 21, 2017

A motion was made by Mr. Kerr, seconded by Mr. Woolley, to approve $1,595,700 for Capital Expenditures.  Motion carried.


Revenues are anticipated to be down and to State budget cuts.  It is unknown what the impact will be as the State budget hasn’t been approved yet.  Discussion included cuts to State funding revenue budget line items.  Mrs. Stajduhar will make changes to revenue amounts to be used in mill rate calculation.

Other Business

2017/18 Budget Change:  Mrs. Stajduhar reported that the Sick Buy Back line item recalculated and estimated budget should be $25,000 not $18,000 as previously approved.  

A motion was made by Mr. Woolley, seconded by Mr. Kerr to approve $25,000 for Sick Buy Back line item increasing Special Deduction Department to $407,000.  Motion carried.

Mr. Russell stated that the next Board of Finance meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 28, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. in the Town Hall Mezzanine Conference Room.  Discussions will include Treasurer’s Salaries, Mill Rate Calculation, March 7th Minutes, and Wrap Up.  


A motion was then made by Mrs. Sturges, seconded by Mr. Jose to adjourn the meeting at 10:30 p.m.  Motion carried.

Respectfully Submitted,

Michele E. Hayes

52 Lyme St, Old Lyme, CT 06371  (860) 434-1605

Town Hall Hours  Monday - Friday: 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM