Category Archives: Financial

ATM Warrant / Budget Cuts

MHS field-2

Annual Town Meeting set for 11 AM June 27 on MHS field

The COVID-19 delayed 2020 annual town meeting (ATM) will take place on Saturday, June 27 at 11 AM outdoors on the Medfield High School turf field, with a rain date on June 29.  The warrant for the ATM has been pared down to just the articles needed to enact the FY21 budget, with the intention to hold a special town meeting when the virus permits, perhaps in the fall, to deal with any other necessary town business.

The Select Board voted last night to recommend approval of all the articles.  The Warrant Committee had already voted to recommend approval of all but one or two of the articles, and is expected to recommend approval of the remaining ones when they receive the final numbers related to those articles.

The town’s budget is built off a guess that the town’s state aid will be reduced by 10% next year.  It is a guess because the state legislature is not able to give the town guidance on what to expect, because the federal government has yet to share with the state what to expect by way of federal assistance – creating this uncertainty for every American city and town is not the way government should run.

The Select Board is expected at its next meeting on June 16 to vote to make use of the legislation passed this past week that allows the ATM quorum to be reduced to just 10% of the usual quorum – our quorum is 250.

See the 2020 ATM warrant articles here –

20200609-KT-BOS ATM DRAFT 06082020

Budget cuts

Also at the Select Board meeting last night, the Town Administrator, Kristine Trierweiler, recommended and the Select Board approved the following town side budget cuts in order to balance the town’s FY21 budget:

Town Administrator's Recommended Budget Cuts Department Amount Details All departments $8,279 All office supplies accounts cut by 20% Town Administrator $17,321 Reduce TA Overtime Account to $1,000 (this account pays for OT as well as Retirement Seperations) Town Administrator $5,000 No contractual increase for TA Staff reduction ‐ Town Accountant $25,267 Eliminate (2) part time employees Hours reduction‐Payroll $21,998 Reduced hours for an FT employee Merit/COLA $41,113 Managerial Merit (24 Positions)* Merit/COLA $105,425 All Non Union Town employees 2% COLA (Water and Sewer Listed Below for Enterprise, Police and Fire would have to be addressed in CBA) IT $25,000 Eliminate funding for Network Consultant and capital equipment replacement (both funded for emergency purposes) Facilities ‐ Hiring Freeze $35,000 Facilities 0.6 employee Police ‐ Staff Reduction $54,476 Reduced request by one police officer Building Department ‐ Reduced hours $1,057 Adjust part‐time employee hours DPW ‐ Hiring Freeze $53,102 Vacant full time position DPW Highway Materials $25,000 Level fund from FY20 DPW New position $70,387 No new position at DPW Council on Aging $10,135 Allocated expenses from Revolving Fund (budget offset) Budget adjustments $10,836 Reduced budget requests in various departments Library ‐ hiring freeze $14,710 Vacant part time position Parks and Recreation $48,942 Cut swim pond salaries from the General Fund. Any swim pond related salaries to be paid from the Parks and Recreation Revolving Fund, which receives camp and swim pond fee revenue Police Officer Medical bill $58,000 Make payment in FY20, rather than FY21 ‐ this was planned to be a monetary article Total $631,048 Free Cash Usage Amount Details Stabilization Fund $200,000 Cut annual payment of Free Cash into the Stabilization Fund from $200,000 to $0. CARES/FEMA money (non revolving fund) to be put into stabilization Enterprise Funds Amount Details Water/Sewer ‐ COLA $15,420 No 2% COLA for water/sewer employees

FY21 Town Budget Cuts_KT631 (002)

Budget sheets for tonight

FY21 Budget Worksheet - for WC 6.1.2020 (002)_Page_1

FY21 Budget Worksheet - for WC 6.1.2020 (002)_Page_2

FY21 Budget Summary 05302020 (002)

Mass fiscal situation

Senate Ways and Means Committee’s sobering data on our financial future (shared by Carol Read) –

05-05 Massachusetts Economic and Fiscal Outlook Caucus Presentation_Chairman Michael Rodrigues

05-05 Massachusetts Economic and Fiscal Outlook Caucus Presentation_Chairman Michael Rodrigues

Medfield gets $1,137,716 from Cares Act

cares act

 

Town Administrator, Kristine Trierweiler, was notified by Michael J. Heffernan, Secretary of Administration and Finance, of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts this week that Medfield is slated to get $1,137,716 as its share of the $2.7 billion the Federal government is paying to Massachusetts under the Care Act.  Below are that letter and memorandum.

LetterSecHeffernantoMunicipalChiefExecutives

ANFGuidancetoMunicipalitiesonFederalCoronavirusReliefFund

 

Image

SB at Warrant Committee Monday

TOWN OF MEDFIELD MEETING NOTICE Posted in accordance with the provisions of MGL Chapter 39 Section 23A, as amended Due to the COVID-19 emergency, this meeting will take place remotely. Members of the public who wish to view or listen to the meeting may do so by joining via the web, or a conference call. 1. To join online, use this link: https://zoom.us/j/96357539062?pwd=V21uTEkyeUNIcStpU3FVazVLK0VyUT09 a. Enter Password: 8HBdBF 2. To join through a conference call, dial 929-436-2866 or 312-626-6799 or 253-215-8782 or 301-715-8592 or 346-248-7799 or 669-900-6833 a. Enter the Webinar ID: 963 5753 9062 b. Enter the password: 559007 Board of Selectmen Board or Committee PLACE OF MEETING DAY, DATE, AND TIME Remote Meeting held on Zoom Monday, May 18, 2020 at 7:00 pm Agenda (Subject to Change) Board of Selectmen to meet with Warrant Committee to discuss FY21 Budget, state aid, local receipts, and impact of COVID-19 on the FY21 Budget. COVID-19 Operations/Action Posted: Town Clerk

MMA Zoom meeting

MMA

I attended at noon today a meeting of the Massachusetts Municipal Association’s Massachusetts Select Board Association (NB – MSA changed its name this year from “Selectmen”).  Bleak news about the state budget and the financial aid we will get from the state next fiscal year starting July 1 – may be down 20% this coming year.  The legislative delegation is coming to the Select Board meeting next Tuesday to personally share the bad news.

The only good news was at the end of this slide –

State Revenue and Budget Outlook
• Legislature has Announced that the Fiscal 2021 Budget Process is Delayed
• Administration & Legislative Budget Writers Held New Revenue
Hearing to Revisit Revenue Forecast, with $4B to $6B Shortfall Estimated
• State Budget Process Unclear (Joint Budget? Temporary Budgets?)
• GOOD NEWS … $3.5 Billion in the State Rainy Day Fund should Help to
Mitigate Fiscal 2020 Revenue Shortfalls (and Increased Expenditures)
• GOOD NEWS … Massachusetts Received $2.67 Billion from the Federal
CARES Act to Pay for Unexpected/Unbudgeted COVID-19 Expenses

Virus legislation – re ATM & budget issues

Legislation the Gov. filed this AM, that Assistant Town Admiistrator Nick Milano says is expected to be passed by the House today, allowing for postponement of our annual town meeting and municipal relief with respect to our impending budget issues –

H4572_Page_1H4572_Page_2H4572_Page_3H4572_Page_4H4572_Page_5H4572_Page_6H4572_Page_7

Final budget #s from state

Division of Local Services (DLS) of the Massachusetts Department of Revenue has released the final state aid amounts based on the recently passed and signed state budget.

Our total state aid monies are up about $130,000 over the $7,822,174 received last year.

 

MA Department of Revenue Division of Local Services Final Municipal Cherry Sheet Estimates Data current as of 07/26/2018 C.S. 1-ER Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Revenue FY2020 NOTICE TO ASSESSORS OF ESTIMATED RECEIPTS General Laws, Chapter 58, Section 25A Medfield A. EDUCATION Distributions and Reimbursements Chapter 70 6,288,744 School Transportation 0 Charter Tuition Reimbursement 0 Smart Growth School Reimbursement 0 Offset Items - Reserve for Direct Expenditure: School Choice Receiving Tuition 0 Sub-Total, All Education Items: 6,288,744 B. GENERAL GOVERNMENT: Distributions and Reimbursements Unrestricted General Government Aid 1,539,280 Local Share of Racing Taxes 0 Regional Public Libraries 0 Urban Revitalization 0 Veterans Benefits 17,234 Exemp: VBS and Elderly 42,087 State Owned Land 47,799 Offset Items - Reserve for Direct Expenditure: Public Libraries 17,504 Sub-Total, All General Government: 1,663,904 C. TOTAL ESTIMATED RECEIPTS: 7,952,648 C.S. 1-ER Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Revenue FY2020 NOTICE TO ASSESSORS OF ESTIMATED CHARGES General Laws, Chapter 59, Section 21 Medfield A. COUNTY ASSESSMENTS: County Tax 118,917 Suffolk County Retirement 0 Essex County Reg Comm Center 0 Sub-Total, County Assessments: 118,917 B. STATE ASSESSMENTS AND CHARGES: Retired Teachers Health Insurance 0 Mosquito Control Projects 67,021 Air Pollution Districts 4,845 Metropolitan Area Planning Council 6,810 Old Colony Planning Council 0 RMV Non-Renewal Surcharge 5,060 Sub-Total, State Assessments: 83,736 C. TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITIES: MBTA 288,069 Boston Metro. Transit District 0 Regional Transit 0 Sub-Total, Transportation Assessments: 288,069 D. ANNUAL CHARGES AGAINST RECEIPTS: Multi-Year Repayment Program 309,996 Special Education 3,760 STRAP Repayments 0 Sub-Total, Annual Charges Against Receipts: 313,756 E. TUITION ASSESSMENTS: School Choice Sending Tuition 45,620 Charter School Sending Tuition 0 Sub-Total, Tuition Assessments: 45,620 F. TOTAL ESTIMATED CHARGES: 850,09820190731-cherry sheet-MuniFinalBudget175_2020_Page_2

Budget calendar

At the select board meeting on 6/4/19, Town Administrator Kristine Trierweiler distributed her draft calendar for the budget cycle for this coming year.  This was music to my ears, as the sort of structure I have hoped to see for quite some time.  I have inserted the calendar below and here via a link if you instead want a PDF –  20190604-Kristine Trierweiler-budget calendar

This is the sort of institutionalizing of a structure for the town government that we have been needing, so that all residents can understand how and when we make the sausages, and I am looking forward to more such protocols being implemented.

FY2021 B~dget Planning Calendar DRAFT • Month Due By Responsible Event TA Town Administ rator June 6/1/ 2019 ACC Preliminary Audit Begins BOS Board of Selectmen 6/4/2019 BOS Regular BOS Meeting we Warrant Committee 6/12/2019 DH Mont ly Department Head Meeting TC Treasurer/Collector 6/15/2019 ASR Annual Preliminary Commitment ASR Assessors 6/17/2019 we Final Meeting to vote RFT/Appropriation Transfers ACC Accounting 6/18/2019 BOS Regular BOS Meeting CBC Capital Budget Committee 6/30/2019 DH Submit Capital Budget Requests sc School Committee 6/30/2019 T/C Prelinary Tax Bills Q1 for RE/Personal Property Mailed DH Department Heads 6/30/2019 ACC Close of the FY19 Budget Year 6/30/2019 ACC Close Overlay Surplus t o Free Cash July 7/1/2019 All Sta rt of FY2020 7/9/2019 BOS Regular BOS Meeting 7/10/2019 DH Monthly Department Head Meeting 7/23/2019 BOS Regular BOS Meeting 7/23/2019 BOS Town Administrat or Evaluation 7/31/2019 BOS Identify Goals for FY21 Budget 7/31/2019 BOS Annual Committee Appointments BiWeekly CBC Capit al Budget Review August 8/1/2019 TC Quarter #1 RE Tax Bills Due 8/13/2019 BOS Regular BOS Meeting 8/27/ 2019 BOS Regular BOS Meeting 8/30/2019 CBC Capit al Budget Recommendations and Development of 5 Year Plan 8/ 27/2019 TA End of FY2020 Budget Review20190604-Kristine Trierweiler-budget calendar_Page_220190604-Kristine Trierweiler-budget calendar_Page_3

Property tax relief for seniors

fy17-dor-average-tax-bill-map

Many towns are now providing some property taxes relief for seniors.  I think Sudbury was the first to initiate doing so and got special legislation to allow the town to help its economically more needy seniors by shifting part of their taxes to the rest of the residents.

At the Massachusetts Selectmen Association meeting I attended Saturday I spoke with Jonathan, a Wakefield Select board member (it is a 7 member board), learned they are doing so too, and he got me information on their program from their Assessor (copy attached below).

First, below are my notes from when I spoke with the Sudbury Assessor and got its system.  This is their PowerPoint from their town meeting:  2018 ATM Article 15 Senior Means Tested Exemption Presentation

===============================================

Telephone call to Cynthia Gerry, Assessor – assessors@sudbury.ma.us | (978) 639 – 3393
a. 2012 special legislation
b. Renewed a couple of times
c. In place through FY21
d. Senior means program
e. Linked to circuit breaker
f. Long time resident who qualify for circuit breaker can qualify for property tax relief
g. Well received
h. FY14 was first year
i. Average of about 110 applicants
j. Not funded by overlay, so residential exemption funded
k. Benefit cap was at 0.5% of total levy
l. The Board of Selectmen can increase it to 1%, but have not gone that high
m. $400K last year, about 0.5%
n. Pay about 10% of circuit breaker income plus 10% of circuit breaker income
o. Asset component to legislation, but vague and up to the board of assessors to use
i. No set limit
ii. Do get a financial statement
p. Deferral of RE taxes
i. Age 60
ii. Income matches circuit breaker ($86K)
iii. 2% rate
iv. Mortgage companies will not agree, as town becomes first lien holder
q. She will email me info

========================================================

Second, this is the email from the Assessor for Wakefield, who appears to also be the Asessor for Reading, describing his program  –

==========================================================

Hey Pete and Jonathan,

 

Yup, I did this in Reading and we’re going to do it in Wakefield.  I can’t count the number of friends and colleagues that have reached out to me on this important topic.

 

Reading plan is simple:

 

Senior must receive the Senior Circuit Breaker Income Tax Credit.  Pls see state guidelines.

Senior is 65 and co-applicant at least 60

Own and occupy home in the town for 10 years.

No other significant assets (tough to define as it’s one of those ‘I’l know it when I see it’ things, second home, etc)

 

In Reading, the benefit is anywhere from 50% to 200% of their CB credit.

Cost is shifted onto the Residential class of property

 

Wakefield is similar except that the credit is simply a 100% match.  No disrespect intended but politics and taxes don’t mix

 

My models rely on receipt of the CB Credit.  I did this because it’s already a state sponsored means test.  Any changes like house value, assets, etc. would result in a local means test like a couple of towns have.  I have about 650 people that receive the CB credit in each town.  In Reading for FY 2018 195 applied and 183 were approved at 200% relief but, too much relief has an unintended consequence whereby some folks lost their CB credit the following year.  FY 2019 Reading did 150% and 177 received it. I anticipate more folks being eligible for Fy 2020.  Moreover, since it involves a shift in the tax rate, the application time is the month of August to allow me enough time for tax rate computation.

 

Hope this helps and feel free to email any further questions that you may have.

 

Best,

 

Victor