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Town of Lenox, MA

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Finance Committee Minutes 02/27/2013
Lenox Finance Committee Meeting
Date:                   February 27, 2013
Members Present:        Lucy Kennedy (LK), Joe Nejaime (JN), John Hillier (JH), Mark McKenna (MM), Robert Vaughan (RV)
Guests: Greg Federspiel, Town Manager (GF)
Absent:                 Colby Lewis
Meeting called to order at 6:05 PM
JN stated that he will draft the minutes from the February 13, 2013 meeting.
GF noted that most of the meetings with the department heads had taken place with town manager, BOS liaison and finance committee liaison.  The meeting with the Town Hall departments was scheduled for February 28th.  LK is the finance liaison for the department.  It was noted that the big unknown is where the School budget request will come in.  RV is the liaison for the school and noted that they are still going thru their various department budgets.  At this early point in the process, the initial budget is up 3.85%.  It is hopeful that the final request will be more in line with the 2% increase used in the Town’s long term budget plan.  There will be a formal meeting with BOS, School Committee and Finance Committee on March 18th at 6:00pm.
LK provided an updated 10 year budget plan.  This is somewhat a work in progress as more information on the town finances in gleaned.  This 10 year plan should be part of the public discussion on the budget planned as an open forum with the BOS on April 11, 2013.
JN inquired on the status of the solar farm and the projected savings.  GF said he anticipates the arrays to be under construction by Fall 2013 and that the Town should begin seeing a benefit after the 2nd half of FY 2014.  The estimated annual savings to the Town is $100,000.  It is assumed this savings will be reflected in the utility line item of each of the department budgets.
GF noted that there will be a warrant article authorizing the sale (via bid process) of the carriage house on Laurel Lake which is jointly owned with the Town of Lee.  Lee has authorized the sale already.  The house is currently inhabitable.
Discussion on the financial return of an Events Coordinator to be hired this month to assist with the Memorial Day Race, Bike Race, and Car Show.  How do we measure a return to the Town?  
Further discussion on the budget included GF’s responses to LK’s question regarding the various reserve and stabilization funds, the budgeted revenue from the meals and hotel tax, and a focus on the water & sewer capital cost needs and how best to budget now and pay for in the future.  Discussed the idea of transferring $500,000 from the general fund to OPEB.  OPEB account is currently at $200,000, or about 1% of the $20 million target balance.
Meeting adjourned:  7:55 PM
Respectively Submitted,
Mark McKenna, Secretary

Lenox Town Hall  6 Walker Street, Lenox, MA 01240   PH: (413) 637-5500