The meeting was called to order by Chairperson Lu Peet at 5:05pm.
[In the absence of the Clerk/Treasurer Elaine Brustad (illness), Lu Peet kept the minutes.] It was established that the notice for the meeting had been properly displayed. The roll was called; Jack Meinke, present; Chris Webb, present; Mitch McGee, present; Donna Porter, present; and Lu Peet, present. It was noted that a quorum was established.
The only issue on the agenda for this meeting was discussion on the budgetary items and the final budget.
On looking at the Fire Inspection costs, Jack Meinke asked if the cost of having the fire extinguishers recharged was known. It was noted that the cost varied by the size of the extinguisher. The town has quite a few extinguishers (trucks and highway equipment, fire and ambulance equipment, as well as in all of the buildings). Jack indicated that he has a person who wants to donate his services for this issue (the person does this for a living) to the town as a thank you for use of the town hall. Lu Peet will have Elaine check into this. This could be a good savings for the town.
There was discussion on what to set for the sinking funds for 2010-There were suggestions of $15,000.00 for each of the Emergency Services (Fire and Ambulance); $30,000.00, Highway and $40,000.00 for Town Building and Maintenance. This is still undetermined.
When examining the area of Sanitation expense, Mitch McGee posed a question on whether we still need to have the clear, “Town of Barnes” imprinted bags for the Transfer Site. It was noted that regular black garbage bags or other types of bags were being accepted at the site for the same charge as our imprinted bags. These town bags cost us quite a few thousands of dollars each time we order, up to several times a year. The need for clear bags isn’t warranted as people have the choice of recycling items for free and if they want to pay for their garbage, then that is up to them. This week we just paid over $5,000.00 for these bags. They also add more weight to the garbage as they are made of the heavier plastic. We could save money by not purchasing these bags and just charge as the regular bags come in by size (to be determined). Jerry Witt (Town Foreman) and Tom Pieters (Transfer Site worker) will be asked for their input on this issue. This will be studied further.
There was discussion on the levy increase. Right now, as the budget is drafted, we will have a 3% increase from last year. Mitch McGee thought we should reduce this percent. The town has had a surplus every year over the past few years. If we would hold it to 0%, we should still be able to provide all of the services and pay the costs of doing town business. Most all of the categories in the budget expenses have been reduced this year, except Highway (more roadwork) and General Government (town hall improvements). There was discussion on the implications of not raising the levy to the allotted 3%. The State sets the limit at a 3% increase, unless the electors vote to have a larger increase. There was discussion on are we raising the limit to this maximum, just because we can? The town has a large surplus right now. The Clerk / Treasurer, Elaine Brustad, will be asked to take a look at the previous years’ surpluses to see how much was over budgeted in the past years. Lu Peet will look into any adverse effects the town may suffer by not going with the maximum percent and what effects it could have on future budgets.
Chris Webb noted some discrepancies on the final totals in the Proposed Budget as presented. She highlighted them and will leave the copy for Elaine to check over. There was also discussion on a wage issue pertinent to the budget. The board will meet in closed session at 6:00pm before the regular Town Board meeting on October 20th to discuss this issue.
Motion (Chris Webb/Donna Porter) to adjourn the meeting. Call for discussion. Motion carried. The meeting was adjourned at 6:38pm.
Lu Peet- Acting Recording Secretary
Dated this 16th day of October, 2009