John Scarffe, Nederland. Town staff presented the draft supplemental budget for 2016 to the Nederland Board of Trustees during a regular meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 at the Nederland Community Center. The Board also conducted the second public hearing on the 2017 budget.
The supplemental budget accounts for unanticipated revenues and unallocated expenditures associated primarily with capital projects. The budget includes increased revenue and expenditures related to the Cold Springs Fire response and for the Town Maintenance Shop project, the NedPeds project and the Sanitary Sewer Phase III project, increased revenue from sales and property taxes and from planning and building projects, increased expenditures in accounting and salaries for staff accountant and offsetting administrative costs for the Nederland Downtown Development Authority.
Town Administrator Alisha Reis told the Trustees that they have an adopted budget for 2016 but it did not include some unanticipated expenses, some because of grants. They did not allocate funds for NedPeds because the Town was in the midst of bidding, and the DDA had asked the voters for a debt authorization.
“This budget has to allocate and allow for all expenditures,” Reis said. “You are not allowed to deficit spend, so you have to allocate for everything.” Staff members continue to work on fine tuning the numbers, and the new accountant has become familiar with initiatives and projects.
Some grant project reimbursements won’t be received until January or February, Reis said, but they have been allocated with the best knowledge staff has prior to the end of 2016. An additional supplemental budget can still be done in January, if needed.
“We are awaiting a lot of reimbursements from projects. In the forecast, we’re trying to nail down what we will actually receive,” Reis said. Staff has been going through 780 line items line by line.
Reis also presented the current draft of the 2017 budget, and the Board offered an opportunity for public comment. The Board conducted the public hearing on the 2017 budget at the November 1st meeting.
Comments from the public at that meeting included support for various goodwill proposals, including Food Pantry and Frozen Dead Guy Days, as well as support for increased spending and staffing in the Streets Division. The Board discussed various points of input, including ideas for increasing revenue for Town operations and projects and changing the budgeting model to a higher level, aspirational one.
The updated draft 2017 budget includes data from actual revenue and expenditure trends from 2012 through 2015 audited actual financial statements, along with 2016 reforecast data based upon actual performance through September 2016. “Projections were made based on trending data for previous years, as well as the first three quarters of 2016, in order to provide a reforecast budget for 2016, and data to inform budgeting for 2017.”
The Town continues to await reimbursements from various funders for the Town Shop project, NedPeds pathway project and flood recovery projects. A final budget draft will be presented at the December 6 Board meeting, incorporating feedback from the Board and community.
Reis told the Board that this draft budget does not yet include any further staffing. “I would suggest that the December 6th meeting be budget and more budget.”
Trustee Dallas Masters said he didn’t see any information in the budget on goodwill projects. Reis said the employee budget committee is getting together again to discuss that, because at this point the Town doesn’t have any additional money. “Next year is more of a re-building year. We know we’re going to be applying for additional funds. We’ll offer several options.”
Mayor Kristopher Larsen said goodwill projects will be one of things the Board will discuss at the December 6th meeting. Larsen also presented a discussion item to form an informational technology task force.
The IT task force would review the current status of Town IT infrastructure and services and make recommendations and goals to improve cost basis and efficiencies, according to background. Mayor Larsen and Trustee Masters have volunteered to chair the task force.
Resident and local IT business owner David Hardy has volunteered to serve on the task force, and current Town IT contractor with Alpenet, Randy Lee, will serve as a consultant to the task force.
The Town has periodically convened an IT task force to review IT infrastructure and services and make recommendations, according to background. The Town is currently contemplating changes to its internet system and provider and pursuing improvements to a number of IT-related services and infrastructure components.
“The Board and community have expressed the desire to improve IT infrastructure and services, such as streaming meetings, improving communications, more reliable internet connectivity and reducing overall current and future costs. A task force would provide a mechanism for reviewing current practices and making recommendations for improvement,” according to background.
The Board moved the item from a discussion item to an action item and voted to approve creation of the task force.
The next meeting of the Nederland Board of Trustees will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, December 6, 2016 at the Nederland Community Center.