Saturday, June 2, 2018

from the Association of Town Finance Committee handbook.

True zero-based budgeting, in which all programs are reviewed annually and budgets are built from the bottom up, often does not work very well in the municipal arena. Many programs are mandated by state or federal law or by the realities of everyday life. However, it does make sense to review each department’s mission and resources every few years. Finance committees, town managers, employees and citizens should work together and re-examine priorities, think about whether and how missions can be redefined and how resources can be reallocated to better meet a town’s changing needs. This kind of planning, while more difficult in the short term, pays off in the long run if only by keeping the budget process from devolving into a series of ad hoc reactions to year-by year changes in the town’s financial picture.

from the Town website, under Town Administrator: FY 2019 budget presentation:

My Premises –
Zero Based Budget: From the Ground Up; –

 Reflected on our review of work-flow & structure to date;

No payroll checks?  Vacation?  What about the assistants?

The assistant to the Town Administrator was in the office of the board of selectmen.
What about the assistant Town Accountant? I thought that was one reason for having assistants, so the work can be done when the lead person is out. Perhaps the policy that covers this situation should be looked at for the answers.

I hope all Town employees attend the next selectmen meeting and under public comments, these questions are asked and they get answers. From some conversations I have had from residents, things are not much better in the Treasurer / Collectors office. I hope the elected sewer commissioners stand their ground and keep control of those enterprise funds. It sometimes seems there is nothing more than a big ponzi scheme going on with regards to Templeton finance. Time for some management costing to be done? An outside payroll service does not seem like such a bad idea right now.

Maybe it is time for a tax underride? Since there is 20 million dollars being spent on a regional lockup facility, to include drug rehab and medical services, is there a need for any small town to have their own jail cells, that come with all those requirements such as additional personnel to watch the prisoners, transport to hospital for any medical problem, real or possible, feeding them, etc.

Of course, the people just voted for a tax increase, just re-elected a selectmen so they must be happy with the government they have. Maybe time to just sit back, smell the coffee and have a good laugh. Now, about them pot holes and beetles in all the trees out there?

On page 65 in the spending plan book for FY2018, (Treasurer/Collector) there is an item listed as Harpers payroll for $12,190.00. Presumably, that is to cover cost of processing Town payroll.

On page 47 in the spending plan book for FY 2019, (Town Accountant) there is an item listed as Harpers Payroll for $12,190.00. Again, presumably to cover cost of processing payroll.

Looking through the Town Administrators reports for the year (weekly) almost every one of them contain the same thing: Finance team - Town Accountant and Treasurer/Collector; nothing to report.

Probably won't hear much about this at a selectmen meeting because the Town Administrator will handle it and he is not covered by the open meeting law. Things like employee evaluations are not done at selectmen meetings, where people who pay the bills and salaries, can hear about qualifications and quality of work completed by the employees they pay for. Taxpayers should be able to hear this information.