Sep 18, 2020

North Adams City Council Finance Committee Budget Meeting

May 15, 2019
Meetings & Notices

North Adams City Council Finance Committee
Budget Meeting
Wednesday, May 15, 2019, 7:00 p.m. V 2nd Floor Conference Room 202

Call to order
Approval of minutes
Discussion: General Government
Discussion: Classification and Compensation Plan

cc: Mayor Thomas Bernard
Michael Canales
North Adams City Council Finance Committee Meeting for Fiscal 2020, Meeting #4, May 15, 2019
Call to Order at 6:30 p.m.
Committee Attendance: Committee Chair Harpin, Councilor Cohen,
Councilor Wilkinson (absent)
Other Counselors present: Council President Bona, Councilor LaForest, Councilor Buddington
Approval of minutes from May 1st, Councilor Harpin motion, Councilor Cohen second, all in favor.
Approval of minutes from May 1st, Councilor Harpin motion, Councilor Cohen second, all in favor.
Councilor Harpin noted the meeting was being recorded and would be on Northern Berkshire TV channel 1303
Discussion: General Government
Administrative Officer, no questions.
Assessor, Councilor Harpin asked what programs would be involved in Green community grants? Mayor Bernard stated lighting in library, Main street LED lighting and windows/weatherizing in public safety building.
Councilor Cohen asked if the coordinator of green community logs his hours? Mr. Canales stated no but they are all after hours.
Mr. Canales stated all stipends are paid for a specific job and not a person. This means the stipend and duties can move from person to person without effecting their FT job and all jobs are done after hours.
Auditor and Board of Appeals, no questions.
City Clerk, Councilor Harpin stated Clerk Pedercini asked for additional budget in PT clerical for upcoming 2020 primary elections, census and ongoing documentation of birth certificates for driver licenses. Councilor Bona restated the amount of time the Clerk office is spending on the new state requirements for ID/license. Mayor Bernard stated he wasnt sure if they could put it in the budget but will consider.
City Council, Councilor Cohen asked what the Deed recording line was for. Mr. Canales stated he wasnt sure what it was used for in the past but there is no budget for it any longer.
Election and Registration, Councilor LaForest asked if the increase was due to three upcoming elections instead of two. Mayor Bernard stated yes. Councilor Harpin asked if the salaries for election officers included the increase in minimum wage and Clerk Pedercini stated it was included. Mayor Bernard stated all City side employees are paid at least minimum wage.
Office of Community Development, Councilor Buddington asked if salaries were so low because they are partially grant funded. Mayor Bernard stated it was and last year they were listed under one line but this year they broke out each individual position. The Dir of Purchasing and Dir of Comm Development is a position of one employee. Councilor LaForest asked what the total department salaries are without grant. Mr. Canales said he would provide information
Law Department, Councilor LaForest asked if city was happy with new firm of KP Law? Mayor Bernard stated he was happy with their service and have used many processes and documents that are general municipality templates and procedures. The cost is right on budget and we have about 7500 left of the total budgeted of 46,000 for FY19.
Councilor Bona stated he wasnt satisfied with the change in the legal services from prior years as it relates to the Council. He stated the availability for legal advice on writing ordinances is difficult without having someone available. Councilors in past Administrations were able to call and ask questions or resolve issues directly with the solicitor, this isnt available with KP Law. Mr. Canales stated he can look up Mass General Law when its a simple question and he can direct people to laws. He stated that himself and other management have taken classes on a regular basis to know the state policies and procedures that sometimes can help answer questions. Councilor Bona stated hed rather hear from lawyer. Mayor Bernard stated it use to be on retainer and some things are pretty clear and can be accessed on line. Councilor Buddington stated he would benefit from informal legal advice when doing ordinance work. Councilor Harpin stated if the Council feels they need direct availability they should bring it up as an ordinance change or request legal service budget line for City Council.
Mayor Salaries, Councilor Bona stated the salary hasnt increased in years and it should be reviewed. It hasnt been increased in 12 years, maybe longer. Councilor LaForest stated it is our fiscal responsibility to bring salaries up to appropriate levels and not to address this issue is foolish. Councilor Harpin stated she would get the ordinance in how the Council or finance committee moves forward to review this issue.
Information Technology, Councilor Harpin stated there is no budget for a director but two salaries for assistant directors. The Mayor stated they are not fully staffed and may change the dynamics of department. Councilor Cohen asked when the director will retire and the Mayor stated June 30th.
Office of Tourism, Councilor Cohen asked why we arent budgeting for an intern this year? Mayor stated they didnt plan on getting one this year. Councilor LaForest asked where we advertise? The Mayor stated both local and regional advertising.
Planning Board, Councilor LaForest stated there is no budget for clerical in five Council committees for note taking. He hoped there was room for Council to have funds so the chairmans can fully participate in the meetings. Councilor Cohen agreed and noted some councilors have paid for note taking out of their own pockets.
Traffic and Parking Control, Councilor LaForest asked what the Traffic Control position was? Mr. Canales stated it was for maintaining parking meters. Councilor Cohen asked why this was under Gen Govt and not Public Safety and if anyone is tracking the hours in this position. Mr. Canales stated it was always like that. Councilor Bona stated sometimes we pay a salary for positions that revenues dont cover. Councilor Harpin requested a report on parking meter revenue. Mr. Canales stated he will get the report.
Treasurer and Collector, Councilor LaForest asked why such a large increase in clerk positions? Mr. Canales stated it was a reshuffling of positions within the department and others lines went down.
Mr. Sapienza asked if we are expecting more foreclosures? Mr. Canales stated will be more tax titles for auctions.