The Board of Finance meeting took place on March 22, 2023, in the town of Sherman, CT, and covered various topics related to the local government’s budget and financial matters. The meeting began with the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance, emphasizing unity and patriotism. The agenda was accepted unanimously, and the minutes from the previous meeting were approved without any discussions.
During the meeting, it was noted that there was no correspondence or reports to be discussed. However, gratitude was expressed for successfully setting up a hybrid meeting format, allowing both in-person and remote participation. The board discussed that there weren’t any significant updates or issues from various departments, except for the building inspector’s report and the Capital Fund activities.
Barbara, a member of the board, shared her usual report, updating the board on her recent activities and changes in proposed budgets for different departments. She mentioned that the updated report would be available on the shared drive. The board thanked Barbara for her informative report.
Moving forward, the budget presentation took place, with a focus on the minor and major drivers that influenced the budget figures. The top three minor drivers were identified as the Registrars of Voters, Social Services, and KCs Fall Field Maintenance. The Registrars of Voters saw an increase of 12,343 hours, primarily due to additional requirements and guidelines for the upcoming elections.
Social Services had increased their budget to invest in senior center programming and provide better services for the senior community. Additionally, the board noted an increase in electricity costs from Eversource, the sole electricity supplier for the town. They discussed the possibility of exploring Consortium purchases for electric supply, but it was deemed not as flexible for the town’s needs.
The major drivers in the budget were attributed to various factors, one of which was the termination of a cooperative agreement with New Milford. As a result, the town had to find alternative sources for certain services previously covered under the agreement. Another major driver was the investment in PCS Fall Field Maintenance, aimed at improving the condition of the ball fields in the town. The cost was justified by the need to maintain and enhance the quality of the facilities.
Under the assessors’ department, an increase in budget was primarily due to postage expenses and the addition of a tax mapping feature. The restrooms in the town also required increased cleaning, resulting in additional costs. The board acknowledged the need to address vandalism issues that occurred in the past and discussed potential measures to prevent such incidents in the future.
The meeting also touched upon the topic of regional cooperation in emergency medical services (EMS). Due to changes in cooperative agreements, the town had to negotiate a new contract for EMS services. It was mentioned that the town decided to stay together with six other towns, despite some towns choosing to opt out. This decision was due to the geographical challenges and the shortage of EMS providers. The board explained that Nuance, a major healthcare provider in the area, was the primary provider for EMS services.
Nuance was chosen as they had a paramedic program that could collaborate with the town’s ambulance services. The contract negotiations were finalized on the day of the meeting, and it was acknowledged that the shortage of EMS providers nationwide had affected negotiations. The board noted the low call volume in the town, making it challenging to attract commercial ambulance companies to provide services directly.
In conclusion, the Board of Finance meeting in the town of Sherman, CT, on March 22, 2023, covered several important aspects of the town’s budget, including minor and major drivers of expenses. The meeting highlighted the challenges faced by the town in maintaining and enhancing various services while being mindful of the available resources. The decisions made during the meeting aimed to address these challenges and provide the best possible services to the residents of Sherman.