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SELECTMEN’S WORKSHOP Minutes of 7/21/08 4:00 p.m. Selectmen:

Peter F. Brothers, Chairman Miller C. Lovett, Vice Chairman Robert C. Flanders Charles G. Palm Colette Worsman

Town Manager: Recording Clerk:

Carol M. Granfield Karin Nelson

The Workshop was opened by Chair Peter Brothers at 4:04 p.m. The Chair introduced the Board, Town Manager, Director of Administrative Services, and Recording Clerk. W 08-33

Varied Items

Take-Home Vehicles A workshop to review the Town of Meredith Administrative Regulation #22, “Town Vehicles and Use of Private Vehicles”, was requested by the Board of Selectmen. The purpose was to determine whether changes should be made to reduce tax and fuel costs. The following positions currently use take-home vehicles: Code Enforcement Officer, Fire Chief, Police Chief, Police Lieutenant, Public Works Director, Assistant Public Works Director, and Public Works Operations Manager. The Town Manager explained that the two Police and the Fire vehicles are all exempt from IRS taxation, as they are Emergency Vehicles. The Public Works Director and Assistant Director vehicles are considered Emergency-Equipped Vehicles and are also exempt from taxation. They are all on-call in the event of an emergency. The Operations Manager in the Public Works Department also takes a vehicle home and responds to alarms, building failures, heating system failures, etc. The Code Enforcement officer responds to health issues, storm water problems, and a variety of other incidents. Other staff members in the Water and Sewer Department who do not take home Town vehicles, are on call after hours and on weekends and can respond to emergencies. The Town Manager added that department heads have implemented measures to reduce fuel costs, such as combining trips and avoiding unnecessary travel. The Director of Administrative Services, Brenda Vittner, noted that the reason for the creation of AR #22 was to address publication 15B of the IRS tax code. She reviewed the IRS taxation requirements and shared an estimate of travel costs and taxation rates for the five take-home vehicles. She also stated that in order for an employee to use a Town vehicle, they must follow an approval process which protects the Taxpayers and ensures proper following of the IRS code.


Town of Meredith

Board of Selectmen

June 21, 2008

According to the commuting rule as stated in publication 15 B of the tax code, the value of the vehicle is $1.50 each way for the commuting employee. Therefore, $3 per day/$21 per week are taken out of the employees check as an additional pay fringe benefit. Chair Brothers shared that it was beneficial to review the Administrative Regulations, which were very specific. Selectman Worsman commented that the cost to the taxpayer was more than $3 per day because of overhead such as insurance, fuel, and depreciation. She stated that it would be more cost effective to keep diesel trucks that get 12 miles per gallon at the recycling center until they are needed. Selectman Worsman also stated that it is excessive to have three Public Works vehicles on call at the same time. She suggested that only one person be on call with a take-home vehicle. Selectman Flanders commented that during the winter months it is appropriate to have one person with a truck at home with a plow and a sander on it. It is critical to be able to help fire trucks and other emergency vehicles get to their destinations during snow storms. Selectman Lovett stated that it is necessary to cut the budget somewhere, and that this appears to be one way to accomplish it. He added that he does not feel that public safety would be compromised. Chair Brothers expressed concern that public safety and the general level of service that the community is accustomed to would suffer in order to save a minimal amount of money. Selectman Flanders stated that, in his experience with other towns, vehicles are left at the office and employees must travel to get the vehicle when needed. He commented that in those situations, they could be spending $20 to save $4. Selectman Lovett suggested that in the future a log be used to track vehicle use. He also asked that department heads focus on cutting costs by more careful use of vehicles. Chair Brothers spoke in favor of logging the vehicle usage and acknowledged that department heads have been working with the Town Manager to cut costs. Selectman Palm agreed that three Public Works vehicles at home every day is excessive. He suggested that it would be better to have one on-call person with a truck at home. That vehicle would be the first to respond and if another vehicle is needed, it can be picked up within 5 to 6 minutes. The Town Manager stated that if the Board desires to change Administrative Regulation #22 she would need a directive. Selectman Flanders also agreed that three Public Works vehicles going home are excessive. He suggested that staff could group appointments that are within close proximity of each other in an effort to save fuel. He directed the Town Manager to have the department heads review the usage policies for all Town vehicles to ensure optimum Page 2 of 5


Town of Meredith

Board of Selectmen

June 21, 2008

conservation. The Town Manager assured the Board that all departments are closely monitoring vehicle usage. The Board was in agreement that the Public Works Department should reduce their takehome vehicle usage to one vehicle, with that person being on call. The Board also asked that department heads find ways to drastically reduce costs. The Town Manager will meet with department heads and report back to the Board on how the policy changes will be implemented. She will also closely document the budgetary impact of changes to determine their effectiveness. Resident Jim Hughes commented that the impact on the employees should be considered. KV Partners Billing On May 23, KV Partners provided the Town a package of information on the financial status of all projects being completed by KV Partners through April 2008. Brenda Vittner then prepared a staff report, dated June 4, 2008, with a detailed summary. Brenda has compared all of the information and has developed a more detailed reporting of information of invoices submitted. The Board had questions regarding billing, contracts, and agreements. In particular there were questions regarding contracts on the Infiltration-Inflow Analysis (I & I), as well as Phase I and Phase II of the Sewer System Evaluation Survey (SSES). Brenda Vittner reviewed what items were appropriated in the budget, what had been expended, contract balances, and appropriated funds remaining at end of each year. She added that the I & I contract is complete and came in under budget. She also informed the Board that, according to the engineer, it appears that the SSES contract may come in under budget as well. The Town Manager informed the Board that legal counsel had reviewed the contract versus statements submitted regarding the SSES and found that it was valid and that the Town is not expending funds that it could not allocate. In order to safeguard that, the Town is having an amendment signed confirming that as the intent of the agreement. She is waiting for a final amendment to add that will be signed by the DES which indicates that Phase II will not go forward without budget approval. Chair Brothers expressed appreciation for the simplified expenditure format. Selectman Worsman received clarification from Director Vittner regarding the amount of the SSES contract, which is $105,600. The Town Manager also confirmed Selectman Worsman’s statement that the Lake Waukewan Infrastructure study was supposed to have been completed within 90 days beginning in May, but added that it should be completed by the end of August 2008. Selectman Worsman stated that the agreement had been signed in early 2007 and therefore should have been completed in 2007. Chair Brothers reminded the Board that at that time they had to prioritize projects due to budget constraints. Page 3 of 5


Town of Meredith

Board of Selectmen

June 21, 2008

Selectman Lovett complimented Town and project managers on their financial management, having come in on or under budget on various projects. Budget Philosophy Workshop The Board will meet on July 28, 2008 at 4:00 p.m. for the Budget Philosophy Workshop. Selectman Worsman motioned to adjourn the meeting at 5:25 p.m. Second by Selectman Flanders. 5-0 All in favor, Motion passed unanimously.

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Town of Meredith

Board of Selectmen

June 21, 2008

Respectfully submitted,

Carol M. Granfield, Town Manager

Peter F. Brothers, Chairman

Karin Nelson, Recording Clerk

Miller C. Lovett, Vice Chairman

Robert C. Flanders

Charles G. Palm

Colette Worsman

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TownofMeredithAdministrativeRegulation#22,“TownVehiclesandUseofPrivateVehicles”,wasrequestedbyth