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Town of Torrington CT
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Minutes 05/13/2010 Approved

MAY 13, 2010                                                                                                                

A   SPECIAL JOINT MEETING of the City Council & WPC Authority and the Board of Finance was held in the Main Room of the Senior Center on Thursday, May 13, 2010.

Those in attendance included Mayor Ryan J. Bingham, City Councilors Rick Dalla Valle, Marie Soliani, Elinor Carbone, Thomas Jerram, and Paul Samele,  Board of Finance Members Daniel Farley, Laurene Pesce,  Wendy Traub, James Zeller and Thomas Scoville, Comptroller Alice Proulx, Fire Chief Field, Deputy Fire Chief Gary Brunoli, Police Chief Michael Maniago, Deputy Police Chief Christopher Smedick, Superintendent of Streets Robert Lizotte, Public Works Director Gerald Rollett, Personnel Director Thomas Gritt, Parks and Recreation Superintendant of Parks and Recreation, Tax Assessor Donna Patchen, Elderly Services Director Nancy Hodkosky, City Planner Martin Connor, and Administrative Assistant to the Mayor Stephen Nocera. City Councilor Drake Waldron and Board of Finance member Mark Bushka were absent.

Mayor Bingham called the meeting to order at 5:05 p.m.

Mayor Bingham presented his updated recommended budget of $53,709,070, indicating a 3.23% increase.
Major cost drivers included $523,109 of wage increases, $580,641 of health and life insurance increases, $124,909 of refuse removal increases, $87,000 of projected gas and fuel increases, and the reduced amount of $50,000 for Parks and Recreation capital improvements.   He said he is taking the highlights of Monday's meeting seriously including the Departments' separation of necessities, needs and wants, more cuts from each Department and the keeping of Public Safety intact.  Mayor Bingham gave an update on union renegotiations saying that every union except the Police has responded that they are unwilling to make any concessions at this time.  Additional modifications include adding $410,732 to the Vehicle Replacement fund, adding a contractual $10,000 interest to the Tax Collector, removing $25,139 for a City Clerk staff position and $25,139 for a Finance Dept. position, removing $50,000 from the Parks Capital Acct., adjusting the IT Tech pay scale by removing $7,661, removing $250,910 from Equipment Maintenance budget to create an Internal Service Fund, and removing $190,174.14 and $369,161.56 from insurance renewal savings.  

The Mayor's final proposed budget is $53,580,140, a 2.98% increase. Having taken City Council members' comments seriously, the Mayor then proposed the following layoffs in order to find additional savings: 1 position from Management Resolution, 2 City Hall Union positions, 5 Public Works Union positions, 3 from  Managers Union positions, 2 Fire Department positions and one position from the Police Department, representing a total of 10 actual employees and four empty positions. Mayor Bingham offered to reduce the hours of the City Hall Union by 2 1/2 hour per week.   

Councilor Jerram made a motion, seconded by Councilor Carbone, and unanimously approved, to accept the proposed budget amendments in their entirety, as follows:
  • Add $410,732 to fully fund Vehicle replacement and establish equipment maintenance charge backs per Mercury Consultants report.
  • Add $10,000 to Tax Collector interest
  • Remove $50,000 from the Parks Capital Acct.
  • Remove City Clerk staff position at $25,139
  • Remove new hire to Finance Dept. Position $25,778
  • Adjust pay scale for IT Tech position by removing $7,661
  • Remove $250,910 from Equipment Maintenance Budget in order to create Internal Service Fund
  • Remove $190,174.14 from Insurance Renewal             
Councilor Dalla Valle said he thinks that instead of removing two Police Officers, at least one Police Officer should be in this budget.

Councilor Carbone questioned the $410,000 to fully fund the vehicle replacement, suggesting it be done in two pieces, half this year and half next. Ms. Proulx said then it would have to be funded at $900,000 next year. Mayor Bingham said the vehicle replacement figure will remain the same up until modifications to the plan are made.

The Mayor and Comptroller explained some of the history of funding the Vehicle Replacement Account    
and said the Mercury report did two things – helped us adjust the allocation for the vehicle replacement account and developed the chargeback system that has Equipment Maintenance budget operating like a business.

Councilor Dalla Valle pointed out that, in their first time in 19 years Friendly Hands has come forward to request $5,000 and going back to last year's amount brings them to zero. In all fairness, he said, they do the same work as a lot of the other agencies and should be given the opportunity to receive the same amount.

Regarding the vehicle replacement account, Mayor Bingham said they're trying to achieve modest increases at best over a long period of time rather than having fluctuations.

Councilor Dalla Valle made a motion to return one Police Officer position to the budget, from the two that were removed in previous conversations at $52,588. Councilor Samele seconded the motion, and it was unanimously approved. In response to Councilor Jerram's question, Chief Maniago said his current staffing level is 82, and this motion would bring the number of Police Officers to 84 plus one whose salary is half paid for by the Board of Education.    

Mayor Bingham said the total budget would now be $53,632,727.

Councilor Dalla Valle made a motion to add $4,777 to the Friendly Hands Food Bank request.  There was no second.

Councilor Jerram made a motion to reject the Mayor's proposed reduction of the Management Resolution by one employee. It was seconded by Councilor Carbone, and unanimously approved.
Councilor Soliani said she'd prefer to vote for not filling the four open positions.

Councilor Jerram made a motion to reject all of the following proposals: reduce the City Hall Union by 2 employees - $70,263.06, reduce Public Works Union by 5 employees - $227,445.60, reduce 818 Managers Union by 3 employees - $179,554.34, reduce Fire Department Union by 2 employees - $106,849.59, reduce Police Department Union by 1 employee - $54,755.92, and reduce hours of City Hall union to 32.5 hours per week - $35,161.74. Councilor Dalla Valle seconded. Councilor Jerram clarified that should there be unfilled positions, the Mayor and Managers should scrutinize whether they need to be filled, while maintaining flexibility should they need to bring somebody on. The motion was unanimously approved.

Mayor Bingham said the proposed budget remains at $53,632,727, a 3.08% increase over last year.
On a motion by Councilor Jerram, seconded by Councilor Carbone, the Council voted, by a roll call vote, to approve the budget. It was unanimously in favor.

On a motion by Councilor Jerram, seconded by Councilor Carbone, the Council voted unanimously to adjourn at 5:50 p.m.

ATTEST: JOSEPH L. QUARTIERO, CMC                                                                            
                CITY CLERK       
Respectfully Submitted,
Carol L. Anderson, CCTC
Asst. City Clerk             


City of Torrington CT 140 Main Street Torrington CT 06790 Tel: 860 489-2228
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