PLEASE REMEMBER THAT THIS WEB REPORT ON THE ACTIVITIES OF THE WESTON BOARD OF FINANCE IS THE
OPINION OF "ABOUT TOWN" AND NOT AN OFFICIAL REPORT OF ANY MEETINGS
For background on meetings upcoming or in the past,

W E S T O N   B O A R D   O F   F I N A N C E
MEMBERS:  Gerald T. Sargent, III, Vice-Chair., David Finkel, Michael Carter, Steve Ezzes, Chair.;
Melissa Koller, Allan Grauberd, Richard Bochinski.


Looking outward, since Weston does not exist in a vacuum...and the subject expands, 2012
As discussed at Board of Finance meetings in the  Fall and Winter of 2008...as relates to foreclosure
question; insurance costs to the community:

HOW DO WE RELATED TO ECONOMIC CONDITIONS ELSEWHERE?  Background.
INSURANCE ADVISORY COMMITTEE
MUNICIPAL OBLIGATIONS - O.P.E.B.
MORTGAGE BACKED SECURITIES report 2010
ECONOMICS (the dismal science)
and the immediate issue;. 
GLOBAL BUSINESS AND
NYTIMES LINK;
CT Municipal Fiscal Indicators 2004-2008
CT Municipal Fiscal Indicators 2006-2010


________________________________________________________________________________________



DELIBERATION UPWARD




Board of Finance Deliberation Meeting

April 8, 2014 at 7:30pm in the Town Hall Meeting Room:

Agenda included 3 items in addition to deliberation:
BOARD OF FINANCE DELIBERATION - SURPRISE!!!  3 INCREASES!!!

Who said the budget can only be cut, or left as is?  And not raised.  Well, in the past, the Board of
Finance made changes to accommodate the needs of the Board of Education estimates (when the Board
of Ed sets their budget in stone, until the Board of Finance gets its hands on it, they can only estimate
health care experience perhaps four to six months out). 

This year, the Board of Education had good news, and reduced its own budget request by $145,000.
As far as I could tell, that was sufficient to take care of Finance Board's concerns.  So under the
circumstances it was unusual for the next event, changes to Selectmen's budget to transpire.

In an about-face, the First Selectman brought forward the item on Senior Center increase to 5 days, with
the approval of the Board of Selectmen (at t heir recent meeting).  Speak Up 2014 had exposed the raw
nerve of making Weston's senior center a hot button for the SILVER TSUNAMI (a threat to vote down the
school budget was never stated, but...).

Then the First Selectman asked the Board of Finance to go back to the First Selectman's budget
DEPARTMENT REQUESTS, which the Board of Selectmen had never seen - since the First Selectman
herself had cut $3000 from Parks and Rec, and $17,125 from the Library budget proposed.  The Finance
members questioned whether this might be done better as special appropriations, but the Town
Administrator and Finance Director were right there to point to the pages in the "Proposed" budget
columns...

After some members expressed their basic preference not to do this, they all got comfortable with it when
they realized that both the Board of Education as well as the Selectmen had been so responsible in not
over-taxing the people the last three budgets or so.  (Because there had been a Republican majority the
last two years, perhaps?  JMO)

And so it came to pass that THE BOTTOM LINE WAS RAISED.

________________________________________________________________________________________


BOARD of FINANCE MEETING NOTICE
March 13, 2014 7:30 PM
TOWN HALL MEETING ROOM
1.  Discussion/decision regarding request of funding from the Vehicle Sinking Fund in
the amount of for the purchase of two cruisers - Chief Troxell/done.
2.  Discussion/decision regarding various capital account transfers totaling $60,000 for
the purpose of completing the Pool HVAC project - Supt. Palmer/done
3.  Discussion/decision regarding BOE year  end financial outlook. Supt. Palmer/done
4.  Discussion/decision regarding requested approval of a Memorandum of Understanding
between the Town and the Weston Volunteer Fire Department -
Craig Cohen, President WVFD/done.
Discussion/decision regarding  FY 13 - 14 year end Town budget outlook - Rick Darling
6.  Discussion/decision regarding approval of meeting minutes of  January 9/done.
7.  Any other items/done.
8.  Adjourn

________________________________________________________________________________________



REVIEW
Chair., Assistant Superintendent, Superintendent, Director of Finance for Board of Ed.

BOARD OF FINANCE REVIEWS EDUCATION BUDGET
Town Hall Meeting Room
Wednesday, March 12, 2014

More than 2 hour meeting which we watched sporadically from home on Channel 79.- notes below.

Chairmsn Ezzes came late (7:50pm) because of train delays caused by East Harlem fire.

Jerry Sargent, Vice-Chair. opened the meeting on time.  Superintendent tells Finance that effforts in the
Legislature to put more formal limits on the Special Ed hearings (none now, so lawyers bill and
bill...).  "Limits" as in how long they can go on, not $$ for kids.

Q.  Kindergarten enrollment? Ans.  98 so far. 

Q.  At this meeting it was specifically noted that at Speak Up, Bd of Ed said taking in tuition
students - how mant?  Ans.  4 taken in for hifgh school - one from Westport, who wanted to be in a
smaller school.

Q.  Overall enrollment over the longer run?  Ans. by Bd of Finance themselves...200 seniors, 100 in
Kindergarten=a "wash" because high school  costs more per pupil???

HEALTH BENEFITS discusion at @8:40pm.

TEACHERS CONTRACT IN LAST YEAR NOW.

ENTERPRISE FUND discussion.

TECHNOLOGY ISSUE discussed, Jerry Sargent noted security is now a major issue for private
companies (I forget which big companay he works for - maybe a credcard company or a bank???).  He
then asked "Where is our data?"

Q.  How much stress should we be putting on high school student and also lower grades?  (Example
of what happens where school becomes a 24-7 event because of online assignments, etc.)  Ans. ???

Columbia University Teacher's College "A.I.M." project offered as an example of how we are at the
forefront of making education better for everyone - and we are looked to as a leader in 21st century
learning techniques.  Which brought up P.R. for the system and the Town of Weston.  Our own
staff is now running "A.I.M." having been trained and having used these systems already.

Board of Education clarified for the Board of Finance the actual number of computers in the
schools (question left hanging after Board of Selectmen review).

The meeting was over at 9:44pm.
_______________________________________________________________________________________



Board of Finance reviews Selectmen's budget
In the Town Hall Meeting Room
Monday, March 10, 2014

ON TO BOARD OF FINANCE!  

NOTE: 
WE LEFT AFTER REQUEST FOR ADDITIONAL EXPENSE  FOR  A FOURTH DAY FOR
SENIOR CENTER.

This is a significant meeting and we were there for the early going.

Iditarod XLII is estimated to finish @1am Tuesday, Alaska Standard (?) Time, which is four (4) hours
earlier than ours - and now with Daylight Saving Time beginning, even if they open their meeting with a
special showing of "Gone With The Wind" to help explain the budget, we shouldn't miss the end of
The Last Great Race.

First Selectman Weinstein addressed Kiwanis with a Power Point of her goals for 2014 and what is on
the Town's plate...view it, thanks to Kiwanis, here.  On the power point you will see some familiar issues
reported upon again, and the punch line...how are we going to pay for improvements to town faciltiies and
services? 

One of the areas of emphasis in the Power Point were pictures on the Weston Library interior spaces.

________________________________________________________________________________________


At "Speak Up" Feb. 8, 2014, the Board of Finance Chair. assured people that all assumptions would
be questioned this year.

No later than Friday, Feb. 28, both the school and the town budgets will be in the hands of the
finance board. The following meetings, held at town hall in the Meeting Room unless otherwise
noted, have been set:

1.  Monday, March 10 - Finance board reviews town budget request, 7:30 p.m.
2.  Wednesday, March 12 - Finance board reviews school budget request, 7:30 p.m.
3.  Wednesday, April 2, 8pm, WMS Cafeteria - Public Hearing on full budget FY'15
4.  Tuesday, April 8 - Finance board budget deliberation meeting. The board will vote on thebudget to
send to voters. 7:30 p.m.
5.  Wednesday, April 23 - Annual Town Budget Meeting (ATBM), Weston High School
auditorium, 8 p.m. Voters decide on the final budget numbers. Line items in the town budget & the
bottom line of the school budget may be reduced by a majority of those present only if a quorum of at
least 2% of qualified voters is at the meeting.
6.  Thursday, May 1 - Proposed referendum to vote on the numbers approved by the ATBM,
6 a.m.- to 8 p.m., Weston Middle School.
7.  Thursday, May 8 - Board of Finance meets to set the mill rate.

(Dates, etc. from the Weston Forum story earlier in the budget process, as announced)


_______________________________________________________________________________________


Board of Finance
Town Hall Meeting Room
Review of FY13-14 budget status
1-9-14

________________________________________________________________________________________



ELECTIONS
Meeting began with election of officers for 2014.  Steve Ezzes Chair., Jerry Sargent, Vice Chair. 

BOARD of FINANCE
MEETING NOTICE
December 12, 2013
7:30pm
TOWN HALL MEETING ROOM

1.  Discussion/ decision regarding election of a Board Chairperson and Vice Chair./Steve Ezzes elected
Chair. and Jerry Sargent Vice-Chair.
2.  Discussion/decision regarding write off of taxes deemed uncollectable/done
3.  Discussion/decision regarding funding request for a Police vehicle.Chief Troxell/
Request for another
police car for the newest officer.  Report on the aging fleet and the significance of this
fact.  Explanation to new member of what and why cars are purchased from two difference parts of the
budget - First Selectman had spearheaded separate "sinking fund" (hope we've got this right!) to make it
possible to obtain vehicles w/o having to impact special appropriation limit.  Sgt. Daubert explains age of
fleet by hours of use.  Older vehicles used for outside jobs directing traffic for utilities work at $18/hr.

4.  Discussion/decision regarding year end operating budget account and line item transfers – Rick
Darling, Finance Director/done.
5.  Discussion/decision regarding the general fund portfolio and an update on investment performance
to date – Rick Darling, Finance Director/done.
6.  Discussion/decision regarding approval of meeting minutes of October 10/done.
7.  Any other items/Superintendent Palmer gave heads up on project deficits...

Superintendent of Schools gives report of how the FY'14 education budget is faring so far - it is in deficit
for more than one reason. 
Warning that at least two centers of the school budget are showing over-runs:
70 new students - more than anticipated - and special education support services re:  determination of
need and type of plan. (Again, this is our wording and we may not have gotten it correct - if we heard it
right, it will be discussed at the next Board of Education meeting as reported by the Superintendent.)

8.  Adjourn.
________________________________________________________________________________________

BOARD of FINANCE
MEETING NOTICE
October 10, 2013
7:30 PM
TOWN HALLMEETINGROOM

1.Discussion/ decision regarding resolution to transfer unexpended funds within the appropriation and
close out certain project from the 2010 bond issue - Rick Darling/done.
2.Discussion/decision regarding balancing of capital accounts  - Tom Landry/done
3.Update regading the School Resource Officer - Superintendent Palmer/discussion to continue.
4.General informational update for Weston Public Schools – Superintendent Palmer/Dr. Keating, too.
5.Discussion/decision regarding investment account updates from June 30 – Rick Darling/Finance Bd
to stay out of market until after November board meeting.
6.Discussion/decision regarding the proposed FY2013 - 14 Budget Calendar/dates set.
7.Discussion/decision regarding approval of meeting minutes of May 9, July 15,August 7, and September
30/done.
8. Any other items/none.
9. Adjourn


________________________________________________________________________________________

Special Board of Finance
September 30, 2013, 7pm
Town Hall Meeting Room

Members present vote to send resolution on to Special Town Meeting Thursdsy, Oct. 3, 2013 at 7pm in
Town Hall Meeting Room.


________________________________________________________________________________________

Special Board of Finance Meeting Notice
August 7, 2013, 7:30pm
Town Hall Meeting Room

"About Town" was attending the Charter Revision Commission meeting at the same time in the
Commission Room, but we interviewed a most reliable source later and affirmed that the new Vice Chair.
was elected and that funds for the Town/School Space Needs Study would be forthcoming as already
proposed.

________________________________________________________________________________________

Board of Finance Meeting Notice
February 14, 2013, 6:30pm
Town Hall Meeting Room

Issue we were interested in got no vote, but a sense that the Board of Finance would suppport up to
$45,000 to resurface/repair the tennis courts, but asked that the Superintendent, who made the
presentation, get other bids other than the one received by staff anf Town Engineer.  The problem is the
underlying soils encourage heaving and cracks because the courts are built on wetlands.


________________________________________________________________________________________

 
BOARD of FINANCE MEETING NOTICE      
 December 19, 2012, 7:30 PM
 TOWN HALL MEETING ROOM 

1.    Discussion/decision regarding supplemental appropriation request in an amount up to $10,000 for
the purpose of Town website update – Gayle Weinstein, First Selectman and IT Director Sharon
Shattuck/approved.
2.    Discussion/decision regarding FY2011-12 year end operating transfers. – Rick Darling, Finance
Director/done. 
3.    Discussion/decision regarding capital account close outs and transfers.- Rick Darling, Finance
Director/done
4.    Discussion/decision regarding update on investments performance. - Rick Darling/done.
5.    Discussion/decision regarding preliminary estimated impact of storm costs and potential
reimbursements/ after reimbursements, est. $50,000 (of total costs @$280,000).
6.    Discussion/decision regarding town and school facility use plans, including future use of North
House/the Selectmen, Finance and Ed Boards agreed to repurpose buildings - starting with North House,
which will be empty by school year 2014-2015.  Newtown tragedy made it impossible to proceed.  During
this long discussion, various alternativeshouse would not be inexpensive as costs of retrofits were
mentioned.
7.   Discussion/decision regarding upcoming budget cycle/there may be a schedule already agreed to, but
we haven't seen it.  Also heads up that there will be some substantial increases in the First Selectman's
budget, along with rumored duplications in Education budget for safety.
8.    Discussion/ decision regarding approval of Board meeting minutes of September 13/we had left already..
9.    Adjourn.

_______________________________________________________________________________________



ANY OTHER ITEMS
Chair. explains the new Charter proposals as they affect Board of Finance

BOARD of FINANCE                  
September 13, 2012
7:30 PM
TOWN HALL MEETING ROOM 

1.    Discussion/decision regarding general Fund investment performance for FY 2011-12 – Rick Darling
2.    Discussion/decision regarding amendment of investment policy to permit participation in Certificates
 of Deposit with a maturation date in excess of 180 days, and if so, discussion of possible investments.
– Rick Darling/both #1 & #2 done, change in CD length voted.

3.    Discussion/decision regarding supplemental appropriation request in the amount of $17,850  for the
purpose of tree removal along Old Mill Road as requested by the Police Commission and approved by the
Board of Selectmen.- Chief Troxell/done after really long discussion.

4.    Discussion/decision regarding any preparation for the October 10 tri board meeting/no location yet.
5.  Discussion/decision regarding approval of the meeting minutes of July 26, 2012/done.
6.  Any other items to be considered - discussion of Charter revision proposals affecting Board of Finance.
7.   Adjourn.
________________________________________________________________________________________

BOARD of FINANCE MEETING NOTICE      
July 26, 2012, 7:30 PM
TOWN HALL MEETINGROOM 

1.    Discussion/decision regarding requested for a supplemental appropriation in the amount of  $35,000
for site line improvements at the School Road/Lords Highway intersection – John Conte, Town Engineer.

 
2.    Discussion/decision regarding request for access to the vehicle sinking fund in the amount of
$22,320 for the purchase of a field maintenance tractor and related equipment.- Eric Albert, Chair, Park
and Recreation Commission and Dave Ungar, Park and Recreation Director


3.    Discussion/decision regarding request for access to the vehicle sinking fund in the amount of
$24,890 for the purchase of a medium duty pickup truck. Mr. Albert and Mr. Ungar.


4.    Discussion/decision regarding request for a supplemental appropriation for the 2011-12 fiscal year in
the amount of $28,729 to the vehicle sinking fund. This appropriation is for the purpose of directing funds
received from FEMA reimbursement for vehicle and equipment use during disaster response to the vehicle
sinking fund, consistent with the requirements of GASB statement #54. - Rick Darling.


 5.   Adjourn.

________________________________________________________________________________________


Town Director of Finance suggests mil rate

BOARD OF FINANCE MEETING NOTICE      
April 23, 2012 7:30 PM
TOWN HALL MEETING ROOM 

1.    Discussion/decision regarding request supplemental request from the Weston Volunteer Fire
Department in the amount of $68,327 for the purchase of 86 self -contained breathing apparatus tanks
and incidental equipment.- Chief Pokorny/done
2.     Discussion/decision regarding establishment of the property tax rate for fiscal year 
2012-2013.-Rick Darling/24.02 mil rate
3.     Discussion/ decision regarding approval of Board meeting minutes of February 9, February15,
March 5, March 7, March 13, and April 4/done.
4.     Adjourn

________________________________________________________________________________________


Selectmen and Board of Finance in Executive Session on settlement.


Special Board of Finance Meeting, 7:45pm, April 4, 2012 in the Weston High School Auditorium Lobby
Agenda: 

1.  Discussion.decision regarding the approval of a resolution to recommend that the Board of
Selectmen issue and sell general obligation\refinancing bonds to achieve debt service savings. 

2.  Adjourn to ATBM.

________________________________________________________________________________________
BOARD OF FINANCE "DELIBERATION" MEETING
CHANGED TO WEDNESDAY, MARCH 21,
2012 AT 7:30PM IN THE TOWN HALL MEETING ROOM
/no cuts (a slight adjustment on the
town side)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
BOARD of FINANCE
MEETING NOTICE      
February 9, 2012 7:30 PM
TOWN HALL MEETINGROOM 

1.    Discussion/decision regarding request from the First Selectman to enter executive session with the
Board of Selectmen to consider a global settlement proposal regarding the Federal law suit filed by
former employee Libby Rende, and the related case filed by AFSCME  before the State Labor Relations
Board/done.
2.    Discussion/decision regarding approval of any proposal resulting from executive session discussions
(tentative)/none

3.    Discussion/decision regarding any proposed change in the assumed return rate for OPEB
investments
/set at 71/4%.*
4.    Discussion/decision regarding Board direction in selection of an audit firm for the 2011-12 fiscal
year/unanimous to stay with same firm.
5.    Discussion/ decision regarding approval of Board meeting minutes of January 12, 2012/done.
6.  Any other items to be considered/none.
7.   Adjourn.

-------

*
Greenwich's pension cost expected to reach $16.4M

Neil Vigdor, Greenwich TIME
Updated 10:36 p.m., Thursday, February 23, 2012

Once generously overfunded, Greenwich's public pension system was only 77 percent funded to start
the current fiscal year, a downward trajectory that is expected to swell the annual taxpayer obligation to
$16.4 million, according to the town's actuarial service.

The Board of Estimate and Taxation got its most in-depth accounting Tuesday night of the town's growing
pension fund obligation, a significant cost driver that many say is emblematic of what's happening to
defined benefit retirement systems in the public sector.

The sobering 46-page analysis by EFI Actuaries, which tracks the performance of the $305 million fund
and has an office in New York City, highlighted the agenda of the board's regular monthly meeting at
Town Hall.

BET Chairman Michael Mason said the writing has been on the wall for several years.

"We saw these numbers and you could hear a pin drop on the carpet," Mason said.

The timing of the board's meeting coincides with ongoing deliberations by the BET Budget Committee
on a consolidated spending proposal of $368 million for the upcoming fiscal year, which seeks to keep
the vast majority of expenses relatively flat.

Pension costs are a notable exception.

Over the past four years alone, the town's contribution went from $6.6 million in 2008-09 to $14.5 million
for the current fiscal year ending June 30.

The fund pays out about $22.5 million yearly to 1,149 municipal pensioners. Teachers are not covered by
the fund.

Weakened by plunging stock values, the town's pension fund lost about 25.5 percent in value -- nearly
$70 million -- during a one-year period ending June 30, 2009.

Four years removed from its high-water mark of $361 million in October 2007, the fund is seeing its
liabilities catch up with assets.

Liabilities are defined as benefits earned by current retirees who are part of the pension system and their
beneficiaries, as well as projected future benefits of current town employees.

Town officials came to grips Tuesday night with the reality that they will have to lower their expectations
on the fund's performance.

The $16.4 million figure is based on a 7.75 percent annual rate of return, down from previous years when
the benchmark had been 8 percent or even 8.5 percent during the bull market.

The BET unanimously agreed to lower the benchmark to 7.75 percent.

The town plans to further reduce its rate-of-return assumptions in future years to 7 percent, according to
preliminary calculations in the actuarial report.

"What this does is it brings the assumptions that underlie the retirement plan more in line with the
investment markets that we have been experiencing for a considerable time now," said Joe Pellegrino,
chairman of the BET Budget Committee.

Leslie Tarkington, a member of the BET's Budget Committee, noted that New York City already reduced
its annual rate of return assumption to 7 percent.

For every 0.25 percent that the town lowers its expectations, taxpayers could be on the hook for an
additional $400,000, according to budget officials.

To help offset the hit from diminished rates of return, the town is also reducing its annual inflation rate
assumptions from 3.25 percent to 3 percent, instead of 3.5 percent.

Municipal employees typically receive 2 percent of their average final salary multiplied by their years of
service to the town under the pension plan. The town also has been known to voluntarily increase pension
payouts periodically to help retirees keep up with the cost of living.

In recent years, the town, through union negotiations, has enrolled a majority of new employees in its
401(k) plan instead of the municipal pension plan to cut costs.

Town officials expect the annual contribution to eventually plateau at $22 million.

"So there is a point in time out there where there is a change," Mason said.

--------

From the NYTIMES:  On New York State problem...

“You’re undermining the long-term solvency of these funds and making the pension fund even more of a
gamble than it already is,” said Josh Barro, a senior fellow and pension expert at the Manhattan Institute,
a conservative research organization. The state, he said, is betting that the performance of the financial
markets will improve over the next decade and bail the system out..."

________________________________________________________________________________________



BOARD of FINANCE MEETING NOTICE      
January 12, 2012  7:30 PM
TOWN HALL MEETINGROOM 

1.    Discussion/decision regarding election of Board Chairman and Vice-Chairman/Gerald Sargent, III
Chair., Mike O'brien, Vice-Chair..
2.    Discussion/decision regarding presentation of FY2010-11 Annual Audit Report – Scott Bassett,
McGladrey and Pullen/good marks.
3.    Discussion/decision regarding supplemental request of $17,500 for the purchase of software
for the Building Inspector’s office. Gayle Weinstein, First Selectman/done.
4.    Discussion/decision regarding status of Revson Field project. – Gayle Weinstein/ongoing work but
varsity will use JV this Spring, JV will use Morehouse #4.  Revson varsity field out of use for 2012.
5.    Discussion/ decision regarding the use of a vehicle purchase fund in place of the purchase of
individual vehicles in the capital budget process.- Gayle Weinstein and Jerry Sargent/discussed.
6.    Discussion/decision regarding the closeout and reclassification of various completed Capital
Project and Purchase accounts.- Rick Darling, Finance Director/done
7.    Discussion/decision regarding approval of Board meeting minutes of  November 10, 2011.-
Donna Anastasia, Town Clerk/done
8.  Any other items to be considered.
9.   Adjourn.

_______________________________________________________________________________________


BOARD of FINANCE MEETING NOTICE      
November 10, 2011 7:30 PM
TOWN HALL MEETING ROOM  - we did not attend for medical reasons.

1.    Discussion/decision regarding requested approval of suspense list for outstanding vehicles
appearing on the grand list for fiscal years 2004 through 2008. – Charity Nichols, Tax Collector. 
2.    Discussion/decision regarding Board approval of FY2010-11 year end operating budget
transfers.- Rick Darling, Finance Director
3.    Discussion/decision regarding proposed revisions in the Fund Balance policy as may be
 compliant with the requirements of GASB statement #54. - Rick Darling.
4.    Discussion/decision regarding identification of Town funds which will be reclassified from
special revenue funds to ente4rprise funds to be compliant with the directives of Governmental
Accounting Standards Board (GASB) statement 54.
5.    Discussion/ decision regarding approval of Board meeting minutes of  October 13 and
June 9. 
6.  Any other items to be considered.
7.   Adjourn.

_______________________________________________________________________________________

BOARD of FINANCE MEETING NOTICE      
October 13, 2011 7:30 PM
TOWN HALL MEETING ROOM 

1.    Discussion/decision regarding Board approval of lease agreements between the Town and the
Nature Conservancy regarding the LaChat property.- Gayle Weinstein, First Selectman/done.

2.    Discussion/decision regarding a supplemental appropriation request in the amount of  $48,840 to
meet the expense of replacing the failed compactor at the Transfer Station. Gayle Weinstein and
Tom Landry/done.

3.    Discussion/decision regarding Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) statement 54
and its impact upon the Town’s General Fund Balance Policy, classification of Fund Balances, and
Special Revenue Funds. Scott Bassett- McGladrey and Pullen, and Rick Darling/will wait until next
meeting to approve..

5.  Any other items to be considered/ Moody's latest report.
6.   Adjourn.

________________________________________________________________________________________

BOARD of FINANCE MEETING NOTICE      
September 8, 2011 7:30 PM
TOWN HALL MEETING ROOM 

1.    Discussion/decision regarding school department year end (6/30/11) operating budget
projection- Dr. Keating/done
2.    Discussion/decision regarding school department projected year-end (6/30/11) balance,
expenditures from, and additions to the Internal Services Fund- Dr. Keating/Dr. Keating, Dr. Palmer
3.    Discussion/decision regarding Town year end (6/30/11) operating budget and fund balance
projections.- Rick Darling/done.
4.    Discussion/decision regarding expected financial impact of storm related expenses.
Tom Landry/70% F.E.M.A. will bring costs into $20-25k range.  Thanked volunteers.
5.    Discussion/decision regarding the approval of the May 12 meeting minutes/done.               
6.  Any other items to be considered/none.
7.   Adjourn/done.



  
 
BOARD of FINANCE MEETING NOTICE      
 August 11, 2011 7:30 PM
 TOWN HALL MEETING ROOM 

1.    Discussion/decision regarding notice from Moody’s that CT AAA rated communities in New Haven
and Fairfield counties will have their ratings reviewed.- Gayle Weinstein, First Selectman/done
2.    Discussion/decision regarding allocation of the $172,119.47 settlement received from J.P. Morgan
related to previous bond issuance costs.- Tom Landry, Town Administrator/no decision
3.    Discussion/decision regarding performance of General Fund investments through June 30.- Rick
Darling, Treasurer/12.3%
4.    Discussion/decision regarding GASB 54 requirements and Town Auditor recommendations in
response to new requirements related to Fund Balance resignations.- Rick Darling/for another time
5.  Any other items to be considered.
6.   Adjourn.

________________________________________________________________________________________

BOARD of FINANCE MEETING NOTICE      
June 9, 2011, 7:30 PM
TOWN HALL MEETINGROOM 

NOTE: A quorum of the Board of Education and the Board of Selectmen is anticipated throughout this meeting

1.    Discussion/decision regarding BOE Internal Services Fund Balance and Usage- Dr. Keating, School
Business Manager
2.    Discussion/decision regarding supplemental appropriation request of $6,818 for the purpose of
a .75% retroactive salary increase for non union Town department heads.- Gayle Weinstein, First
Selectman
3.    Discussion/decision regarding  potential supplemental appropriation for the approximately $95,000
estimated FY2010-11 Town operating budget deficit.- Tom Landry                
4.  Discussion/decision regarding update on the status of the School Doors and Windows project.-
Gayle Weinstein, Tom Landry
5.  Discussion/decision regarding the status of Town/BOE joint initiatives. – Gayle Weinstein, Tom
Landry
6.   Any other items to be considered.
7.    Adjourn.
________________________________________________________________________________________

SPECIAL  BOARD OF FINANCE MEETING NOTICE      
May 12, 2011 7:00 PM
TOWN HALL MEETING ROOM 

1.    Discussion/decision regarding OPEB funds investment performance status report     - Karen Paulson,
FIA/doing well.   
2 into 3.    Discussion/decision with Board of Education members regarding upcoming teacher contract
negotiations – EXECUTIVE SESSION (taken out of order - we left)  Bd of Ed members and staff joined,
plus First Selectperson.
3 into 2.    Discussion/decision regarding  BOE third quarter financial status report – Dr. Joanne Keating/OK
4.    Discussion/decision regarding  appointment of McGladrey and Pullen as the Town Auditor for the
2010-11 fiscal year audit.?
5.    Discussion/decision regarding approval of the meeting minutes of  March 7 and April 21, 2011?
6.   Adjourn.
________________________________________________________________________________________

Notes from this meeting will be made - but will be only be reliable second hand ones, however. 
Investment policy and managed general fund info we will get from the draft minutes...
SPECIAL BOARD OF FINANCE MEETING NOTICE      
April 21, 2011 6:30 PM
TOWN HALL MEETINGROOM 

1.    Discussion/decision regarding Board of Selectmen position to increase the Elderly Exemption limit
from $600,000 to $625,000-  Gayle Weinstein/done. 
2.    Discussion/decision regarding establishment of mill rate for FY2011-12- 23.94
3.    Discussion/decision regarding altering the Board’s investment policy relating to the “delivery vs.
payment” provision.
4.    Discussion/decision regarding increasing the Janney managed general fund investments portfolio
limit from $4 million to $5 million.
5.   Adjourn.

________________________________________________________________________________________

DELIBERATION MEETING LASTS THREE HOURS
BOARD OF  FINANCE MEETING NOTICE      
March 24, 2011 7:30  PM
TOWN HALL MEETING ROOM 
NOTE:  Order of agenda changed/altered 24 March - now #2, #1b (capital, debt), #2a (Town, School)
1.    Discussion/decision regarding requested Town and School operating and capital budget requests for
2011-2012/ Debt service approved;  Capital Budget cut by $25,000 (Parks&Rec tractor);  Selectmen
($7000 cut agreed to already);  Board of Education cut $100,000..
2.    Approval of Meeting Minutes of February 10, 2011/done.
3.    Any other items of business to be brought up for Board consideration
4.    Adjourn.

________________________________________________________________________________________

BOARD of FINANCE MEETING NOTICE
TOWN HALL MEETING ROOM       
February 10, 2011 7:30 PM

1.    Discussion/decision regarding supplemental appropriation request in the amount of $ 9,000 
for virtual server conversion.- Sharon Shattuck/done
2.    Discussion/decision regarding supplemental appropriation from the non-recurring capital fund in
the amount off $15,966 for the purchase of fir hose and nozzles for the Weston Volunteer Fire
Department-  John Pokorny, Curtis Gunn/done.
3.    Discussion/decision regarding supplemental appropriation request in the amount of $155,000 for
the OPEB fund. – Tom Landry/done
4.    Discussion/decision regarding Town operating budget projected status for the current year. –
Rick Darling/done
5.    Discussion/decision regarding OPEB account FIA management report/done.
6.    Discussion/decision regarding approval of meeting minutes of January 13, 2011/approved.
7.    Any other business - seemed to be saying they were planning to meet at 7:30pm from now on (?)
6.   Adjourn.
________________________________________________________________________________________

BOARD OF FINANCE MEETING NOTICE
January 13, 2011 8:00 PM
TOWN HALL MEETING ROOM

1.    Discussion/decision regarding Tax Collector Suspense List.
2.    Discussion regarding the McGladrey & Pullen audit reports for
FY 2009-2010.
3.    Discussion/decision regarding the account (Capital Acct/Operating Acct)                                
       to close out year-end transfers.       
4.     Discussion/decision regarding approval of meeting minutes of  Nov 9, 2010.
5.    Any other business
6.   Adjourn.

________________________________________________________________________________________


Posted 11/8/10  10:30 AM
Revised 11/9/10  - no 24 hr. notice?
SPECIAL  BOARD of FINANCE MEETING NOTICE      
November 9, 2010 8:00 PM
TOWN HALL COMMISSION  ROOM  
 
1.    Discussion/decision regarding supplemental appropriation request in the amount of $ 65,800
for  STEAP grant matching funds for the purpose of Revson Field improvements.
- Gayle Weinstein/done.
2.    Discussion only regarding Weston Public Schools Financial Report, 1st Quarter    
-Dr JoAnn Keating/done 
3.    Discussion/decision regarding the Town’s Janney account investment returns.- Rick Darling/done
4.    Discussion/decision regarding Town operating budget year end transfers for FY2009-10.
– Rick Darling/done
5.    Discussion only regarding Tax Collector Suspense List/put off for substantive discussion until
December..

6.    Discussion/decision regarding approval of meeting minutes of  October 14, 2010/done.
7.    Any other business
6.   Adjourn.

________________________________________________________________________________________

SPECIAL JOINT BOARD OF SELECTMEN, BOARD OF FINANCE AND BOARD OF EDUCATION
MEETING AGENDA
MONDAY NOVEMBER 1st, 7:30PM
TOWN HALL MEETING ROOM
REVISED
1. Discussion regarding the BOE’s Internal Services Fund; Health Insurance---RFP for full and
self-funded program; possible regionalization with Health Insurance
2. Discussion regarding the BOE’s SPED costs---personnel and contracted services.
3. Discussion regarding efficiencies for 2010-11 and what we are looking at for 2011-12.
4. Discussion regarding the Town’s economic indicators
5. Discussion regarding the School/Town joint initiatives
6. Discussion regarding GASB 43/45 funding levels for 2011-2012 budget
7. Discussion regarding MERS outlook for 2011-2012

________________________________________________________________________________________

BOARD of FINANCE MEETING NOTICE      
October 14, 2010 - 8:00 PM
TOWN HALL MEETING ROOM 

1.    Discussion/decision regarding payback plan for Booster Barn expense.- Dawn Egan, Peter Figliola.
2.    Discussion/decision regarding closing out and status update of capital projects.
3.    Discussion/decision regarding the Town’s OPEB account investment profile and underlying return
assumptions.

4.    Discussion/decision regarding engagement of investment advisor for general fund.
5.    Discussion/decision regarding approval of meeting minutes of May 13, 2010.
6.    Any other business
7.   Adjourn.
_______________________________________________________________________________________

BOARD OF FINANCE SPECIAL MEETING NOTICE (revised)      
Tuesday, September 14th, 2010, 7:30  PM
TOWN HALL COMMISSION   ROOM  

1.    Discussion regarding the School Compensation Report – Phil Schaefer/done
2.    Review of Candidate Firms for Investment Advisor/recommendation a next meeting
3.    Approval of Meeting Minutes of  March 19, April 1 and April 22, 2010/done.
4.   Discussion/Decision regarding reimbursement for the Booster Barn - this item out.
5.    Any other items of business to be brought up for Board consideration/theorhetical discussion
6.    Adjourn.   
 
________________________________________________________________________________________

BOARD of FINANCE MEETING NOTICE - final version     
June 29, 2010 at 7:00 PM
TOWN HALL MEETING ROOM 

1.    Discussion/decision regarding Board of Selectmen and Park and Recreation Commission request to
redirect the $20,000 FY10-11 capital appropriation intended for an infield replacement at Revson Field, to
the purpose of a general needs assessment of Revson Field .- Gayle Weinstein/done

2.    Discussion/decision regarding appointment of subcommittee members to pre screen responses to
the Board’s RFP for investment advisor services for general fund investments/sub-commitee formed to
review proposals.

3.    Discussion/decision regarding the Milliman study regarding the Town’s OPEB liability calculations,
funding schedule, and general underlying assumptions. Steve Lemanski/no decision.
 
4.    Approval of February 11 and March 11 meeting minutes/ approved

5.    Adjourn
________________________________________________________________________________________


BOARD of FINANCE MEETING NOTICE      
June 14, 2010 at 7:00 PM
TOWN HALL MEETINGROOM 

1.    Discussion/decision regarding supplemental appropriation request in the amount of $21,350 for
conversion to Munis accounting program.- Rick Darling/done.
2.    Discussion/decision regarding request for proposals for general fund investment advisor/put off until
Special Meeting Tuesday June 29, 2010 at 7pm in the Town Hall Meeting Room.
3.    Discussion/decision regarding special meeting date dedicated to a full discussion of a funding
schedule to meet Town and School OPEB liabilities/put off until June 29 special meeting- which will
include discussion of using $20,000 for Revson repair for a study.
4.    Discussion/decision regarding transfer of $60,000 from the Youth Services Fund to the school
operating budget for the purpose of supporting the salary expense of a school social worker position/ a
philosophical discussion of where the money should come from and whether or not to take a
proverbial bookkeeping "shortcut."
  
6    Any other items of business to be brought up for Board consideration
7.   Adjourn to joint BOE/BOS/BOF meeting.

________________________________________________________________________________________

BOARD OF FINANCE MEETING NOTICE
May 13, 2010 at 8pm
Town Hall Meeting Room

1.  Discussion/decision re: supplemental appropriation request in the amount of $217,000 for Fiscal
Year 2009-2010 salaries not paid until July 1, 2010/done.
2.  Discussion/decision re: investment portfolio proposals and whether the Board wishes to establish
a subcommittee to furter review new and ongoing investment vehicles/not desired at this point.
3.  Discussion/decision re: monthly status report on General Fund Investments/satisfied.
4.  Update on current operating budget projections/OK.
5.  Discussion/decision re: departmental OPEB liability listing/discussion of how the larger market (i.e.
State of California and New York changing their OPEB assumptions) might affect Weston.
6.  Approval of meeting minutes of Jan. 14, Feb. 22 and Feb. 24/done with some changes.
7.  Any other items - "About Town" left at this point.
8.  Adjourn
________________________________________________________________________________________


Special Meeting Notice, April 1, 2010, 7pm, Commission Room
"Discussion/decision re: resolution for approval of the Certificate of Determination for the new bond
issuance of $6,600,000 for various school and municipal projects and transaction expenses totalling
$6,926,000, and for the refinancing of a portion of current outstanding debt" Bruce Chudwick, Shipman
and Goodwin.  Approval of the minutes of Jan. 14, Feb. 11, 22, Mar. 11, 19.

________________________________________________________________________________________

BOARD OF FINANCE MEETING NOTICE
Town Hall Meeting Room
March 25, 2010 at 8pm

1.  Discussion/decision regarding proposed Town and School operating budget requests for fiscal year
2010-2011/ $63,634,590 apporved to go to ATBM ($30,000 cut to Selectmen, $127,300 to Board of
Education).
2.  Any other items
3.  Adjourn


________________________________________________________________________________________

BOARD OF FINANCE MEETING NOTICE
March 11, 2010
7:30pm
Town Hall Meeting Room

1.  Discussion/decision re: resolution for Board of Selectmen proposed new bond issuance of
$6.600,000 for various school and municipal projects and transaction expense totalling $6.926,000/done.
2.  Discussion/decision re: first year investment performance of OPEB fund investments/done.
3.  Discussion/decision regarding OPEB liability and funding schedule/done.
4.  Monthly report on General Fund investments/done.
5.  Update on budget projections/done
6.  Minutes/not done - we left at this point.
7. Any other business (Since the time [7:30pm] is not the regular time, is this not a "special" meeting?)
8.  Adjourn

________________________________________________________________________________________

 BOARD of FINANCE MEETING NOTICE(& Board of Selectmen)      
 February 11, 2010, 7:30pm
 TOWN HALL MEETING ROOM 
1.  Heart & Hypertension claim settlement (in exec session)/done ($100,000)
2.  Discussion/decision re bond refinancing proposal and issuance of new bonds for school and/or
Town capital projects/after lengthy discussion, all concerned are watching rates, our experts are creating
an attractive refinance package for "closing in April" - then discussed bond isue for capital projects for
voter approval (Middle School Roof, windows & doors;  3 boilers) - total est. $6,782,000 consensus.
3.  Discussion/decision re monthly status report on General Fund investments/done
4.  Any other items
5.  Adjourn.

________________________________________________________________________________________

 
BOARD of FINANCE MEETING NOTICE      
 December 10, 2009 8:00 PM
 TOWN HALL MEETINGROOM 
 
1.    Discussion/decision regarding status report on General Fund investment schedule in various
mortgage backed securities.- Rick Darling/done
2.    Discussion/ decision regarding proposal from Fiduciary Investment Advisors to transfer remaining
money market funds in the OPEB account ($220,493) for investment.- Rick Darling/done
3.    Discussion/decision regarding year to date Town revenue receipts.- Tom Landry/OK for this year, but
things are getting tighter
4    Approval of Meeting Minutes of September 10, 2009 . Donna Anastasia, Town        
      Clerk/as amended, approved.
5.   Any other items of business to be brought up for Board consideration/general discussion about role
of the Board of Finance.
6.    Adjourn.

________________________________________________________________________________________


Board of Finance Meeting Notice
October 8, 2009 at 8pm
Town Hall Meeting Room

1. Discussion/decision regarding General Fund investment proposal from Janney, Montgomery and
Scott/unanimously OK'd after vigorous discussion, members present voted to place $4 million dollars
of the town's money into a fund paying 3 to 4% interest (instead of less than 1%) that carries greater
risk (relatively speaking)
2. Discussion/decision regarding Town and School special revenue, enterprise and trust funds/in
progress (same as report to Selectmen) no decision
3. Discussion/decision regarding various requested re-appropriations, transfers and designations
pertaining to numerous capital accounts/discussion of various such accounts, including Tower fund.
4.  Approval of minutes of September 10, 2009/done
5.  Any other business/?
6.  Adjourn
________________________________________________________________________________________

 
BOARD of FINANCE MEETING NOTICE      
 September 10, 2009, 8:00 PM
 TOWN HALL
MEETINGROOM 
 
1.    Discussion/decision regarding General Fund investment proposal.- Carolyn Frzop of Janney,
Montgomery and Scott/no decision - Guy Lebas on speakerphone.
2.    Discussion/ decision regarding proposed supplemental appropriation request in the amount of
$6,895 to purchase additional photovoltaic panels for the Central Office Building- Martin Strassmore,
Weston Sustainability Committee/OK'd (long discussion interrupted for phone call to
contractors)..
3.    Discussion/decision regarding requested supplemental appropriation request in the amount of
$9,052 for commissioned study related to combining the High School and Middle School electrical
meters.- Don Gary, Building Committee/Don Gary and First Selectman Woody Bliss presented the Fuel
Cell proposal and brought the Finance Board up to date.  These funds were approved (if they will be
necessary to spend)...Weston is trying to persuade CL&P to forego study and complicated meter changes.
David Muller moved, Patty Kopas seconded, unanimous approval.  "About Town" left @10:40pm

4  Approval of Meeting Minutes of  June 11th 2009 and July 9, 2009 . Donna Anastasia, Town Clerk.
5.   Any other items of business to be brought up for Board consideration
5    Adjourn.

________________________________________________________________________________________

BOARD OF FINANCE MEETING NOTICE
Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 8pm
Town Hall Meeting Room

1.  Discussion/decision re: supplemental appropriation from the 2008-2009 fiscal year, for the purpose
of meeting an expected Town operating 08-09 budget deficit/done.
2.  Discussion/decision re: a special appropriation from the 2008-2009 fiscal year to meet the expected
OPEB supplemental funds needed for 08-09/done.
3.  Discussion/decisiomn re: supplemental appropriation from fiscal year 2009-2010 to settle C&H lawsuit
/done.
4.  Discussion/decision regarding proposed Board of Selectmen policy for combined Finance Director/
Treasurer position/discussed, modified.
5.  Discussion/decision re: elimination and account balance for various special revenue, enterprise and
special purpose funds/reserved for next meeting.
6.  Approval of Meeting minutes of May 14, 2009/done.
7.  Any other business
8.  Adjourn.
________________________________________________________________________________________


"About Town" stopped in after the Building Committee and saw this set up - it was going to be a long night,  so we went home.
FORUM reporter stayed - her notes here.

BOARD OF FINANCE MEETING NOTICE
Wednesday, April 1, 2009 at 8pm
Town Hall Meeting Room

1.  Discussion/decision regarding requested Town and School operating and capital budget requests for
2009-2010/zero increase from last year for operating budgets.
2.  Approval of the minutes of March 19, 2009.
3.  Any other items to be brought up for Board consideration.
4.  Adjourn.
_______________________________________________________________________________________


BOARD OF FINANCE MEETING NOTICE
March 19, 2009
8:00PM, Town Hall Commission Room

1.  Discussion/decision regarding proposed FY 09-10 Board of Education budget items (e.g. salaries,
grants, health insurance, etc.)
2.  Discussion/decision re: FIA proposed phased in funding schedule for OPEB trust account.
3.  Approval of minutes of Feb. 12.
4.  Any other items of business to be brought up for Board consideration. (Is this not a "special" and
not allowed to have an "any other business" part of the agenda?)
5.  Adjourn
_______________________________________________________________________________________
BOARD of FINANCE MEETING NOTICE      
February 12, 2009
8:00 PM, TOWN HALL COMMISSION ROOM 

1.    Discussion/Decision regarding proposed FY07-08 audit-  Scott Bassett, McGladrey & Pullen
2.    Discussion/decision regarding update on foreclosure listings. Donna Anastasia
3.    Approval of Meeting Minutes of January 8, 2009.
4.    Any other items of business to be brought up for Board consideration
5.    Adjourn.

NOTE: At the conclusion of the meeting, some members will attend the Board of Selectmen’s budget
meeting, and this may constitute a quorum.
________________________________________________________________________________________

Board of Finance Meeting Notice/notes
December 11, 2008, at 8pm, Town Hall Meeting Room

1.  Discussion/decision regarding proposed supplemental appropriation or Insurance Reserve* transfer in
the amount of $22,900 for the purpose of meeting current year OPEB obligations ($4100 school, $18,800
town)/insurance reserve funds for school and town to be reduced by these numbers.**

2.  Discussion/decision regarding recommended OPEB custodial services agreement with Wachovia/to
become Wells Fargo eventually - requested that before we go about investing OPEB $$ there be a clear
statement of investment policy (asset allocation suggested: 45% fixed income, 50% equities, 5% REIT).

3.  Discussion/decision regarding recommended investment consulting agreement with Fiduciary
Investment Advisors/more to come.

4.  Discussion/decision regarding FY09-10 budget guidance to the Board of Education and Board of
Selectmen/

After lengthy discussion, including input from Superintendent of Schools, Director of Finance
for the Board of Ed. and Town Administrator, it seemed that all involved were aiming for 3%
increase or
less, as the First Selectman had suggested.  Reference to reports distributed at
multi-board meeting.


It was stressed by some members of the Board of Finance that announcing a "number" might not
be a
good idea, and that it would be a good thing to inform the taxpayers all during the
budget-making process
of what was being considered to avoid a last minute "You didn't tell us!" 
situation. 


Others opinions were not to pick a percentage at this point because that could have unintended
consequences (wrong number a possibility at this early stage). 

"What can the taxpayers afford?" 

Impact of return from private school (320 kids there now...)

Board of Education budget workshops to be televised January 12, 14 and 16, 2009. 

Questions from the Board of Finance:  how much is salary $$ in the education budget? 
Answer:  60%
salary, 20% benefits.  Plus fixed costs and cost of mandates.

When will we know how much the Grand List has grown/shrunk?  February 1, 2009 is date for
filing of
new Grand List (after reassessment appeals are over, etc.). 

5.  Approval of Meeting minutes of November 13, 2008/done.

6.  Any other items of business to be brought up for Board consideration/none.

7.  Adjourn/10pm.
-----------------
* = "Insurance Reserve" at $1,800,000 (Education) and $350,000 (Town)
before this action.
Board of Ed at $7 million and Town at $1.4 million - numbers possibly needed to cover 100% costs???
** = why are we doing this if there is a state teachers retirement fund?
________________________________________________________________________________________

Multiboard discussion regarding the current financial crisis and its implications for Weston...
December 2, 2008 meeting of Finance, Selectmen and Education Boards began late, after
executive sessions re: various judgements ...

_______________________________________________________________________________________
OUR BOARD OF FINANCE ON TOP OF HOUSING ISSUE...background here from NYTIMES.
Board of Finance agenda for November 13, 2008 at 8pm
Town Hall Meeting Room (6 members present, one speaker phone)

1.  Approval of Tax Collector Suspension List in the amount of $51,830.35/est. @44 property owners in
serious condition (i.e. including foreclosed, IRS tax liens, judgement liens, etc.); list approved
Atkinson (m), Sargent (s) - unanimous .
2.  Discussion/decision regarding proposed supplemental appropriation in them amount of
$66,602 for the purpose of reimbursement of overpayment of State grant for the Hurlbutt
core building project/Town Administrator explained that basement area not counted but we will have to
refund $$ to CT - the funding process nowadays is for the Town to upfront the money...Town Attorney
will be asked to review this before action is taken.
3.  Discussion/decision regarding recommendation to borrow up to $837,000 from the Town's
general fund balance to provide funding to continue with the High School auditorium project until
the grant retainage amount is released/this amount is too high because original amount did not include
$119k refunded from the high school roof project - number more like $686k...but they voted to transfer
up to $700,000 from the General Fund surplus to the auditorium project (O'Brian m, Sargent s; unanimous).
4.  Discussion/decision regarding proposed year end transfers for FY07-08/discusion of whether there
should be Finance Board oversight when town-side budgets by department go over ther amount OK'd by
ATBM - example of road repaving budget.  In the budget process only the Board of Education gets to
move items around and change numbers in different parts of their budget (see Town Charter)

"About Town" left at this point...

5.  Approval of meeting minutes of Oct. 23, 2008.
6.  Any other business to be brought up for Board consideration...
7.  Adjourrn.
_______________________________________________________________________________________
Revised
Board of Finance agenda for October 23, 2008 at 8pm

Town Hall Meeting Room

1.  Discussion/decision regarding OPEB investment advisory services contract/done, but not active yet.
2.  Year end transfers (revision - to be discussed at a later date).
3.  Discussion/decision regarding borrowing for school construction project until completion of audit
requirement/next month - discussion of where the balance between cost of financing and the loss of
income meet.
4.  Discussion/decision regarding target town/school/capital budgets for FY09-10/teachers' contract in
arbitration.
5.  Approval of minutes of Sept. 11, 2008?.
6.  Any other items of business to be brought up for Board consideration (???)
7.  Adjourn.

________________________________________________________________________________________

Board of Finance agenda for September 11, 2008 at 8PM
Town Hall Meeting Room

Only four items on this agenda, but it lasted a couple of hours.

First was Power Point presentation by Bleachers/Booster Barn group.  After discussion, Board of Finance
voted unanimously in favor of using $513k of the "special appropriation" fund of 2% of gross budget of
FY'09 ($63 million), as the Selectmen asked, money to be repaid in approximately 8 years by user groups.

Second was the Weston Volunteer Fire Department request for $900k over a three year period starting in
FY'09 (this year) - 3 payments of $300k each.  This is to rebuild the Lyons Plains Firehouse (which the
Volunteer Fire Company owns).

Third was the minutes of the previous meeting and fourth ("any other business") "About Town" left.
________________________________________________________________________________________
Board of Finance Agenda for June 12, 2008 at 8pm
Town Hall Commission Room
1.  Discussion/decision regarding proposed account transfer of $111,853.30 to the school
construction account (8000400-49000), from the high school roof capital account (5007532-55001);
2.  Discussion/decision regarding proposal to develop RFP for soliciting OPEB trust fund investment
services.
3.  Approval of minutes April 1 and May 8, 2008
4.  Any other items
5. Adjourn
________________________________________________________________________________________
SPECIAL BOARD OF FINANCE AGENDA
Tuesday, May 27, 2008, 8pm
Town Hall Meeting Room

1.  Discussion/decision regarding the disposition of the General Fund Balance/decided to fund O.P.E.B.
and the Auditorium.


________________________________________________________________________________________

BOARD OF FINANCE MEETING NOTICE
May 8, 2008 at 8pm
Town Hall Commission Room

1.  Discussion/decision re: supplemental appropropriation, Kid in Crisis program for FY2009, $67,958
2.  Discussion/decision re: supplemental appropriation request in the amount of $512,700 ($333,700)
for the replacement of the Town Hall roof.
3.  Update on the auditorium bid results (bids opened May 6)
4.  Discussion/decision re: supplemental appropriation for drainage improvements/outfall for 33 November
Trail in the amount of $31,640.
5.  Discussion/decision re: proposed Board of Selectmen appropriations from General Fund Balance
surplus for Special Town Meeting.
6.  Approval of minutes, Feb. 25 and Mar. 13, 2008.
7.  Any other items...
8.  Adjourn.

_______________________________________________________________________________________
ATBM OKs everything in the budget April 21, 2008.
Weston High School "Company" provides assistance to Town Meeting - sets up mics, does
sound checks, etc.

________
________________________________________________________________________________
SPECIAL  BOARD  OF  FINANCE MEETING;  THURSDAY,  April  3,  2008 at 8:00 PM -
TOWN HALL  COMMISSION ROOM - agenda is: Discussion/deliberation regarding FY 2008-2009
Board of Selectmen, Board of Education, Capital Improvements and Debt Service budgets respectively.
4-3 vote not to cut the school budget;  everything else OK'd as is.
________________________________________________________________________________________
BOARD OF FINANCE MEETING NOTICE
Thursday, March 13, 2008
8PM, Town Hall Meeting Room

1.  Discussion/decision re: unfunded mandates group/put off until a later meeting
2.  Discussion/decision re: surplus/after Executive Session discussing extent of liability re:
heart&hypertntion with Town Administrator, vote unanimous to limit expenditure of surplus (we think).
3.  Minutes approved from Feb. 14
4.  Under "any other business" vote taken to recommend O.P.E.B. Board and trust agreement to
Board of Selectmen as appears in text previously discussed in time for Public Hearing on Public
Hearing on Ordinance at the Board of Selectmen (March 20 at 7pm)
_______________________________________________________________________________________
BOARD OF FINANCE MEETING ON THE BUDGET, TOWN HALL MEETING ROOM
Monday and, if necessary, Tuesday, Feb. 25 & 26 at 8pm, Board of Selectmen's Budget
Wednesday and, if necessary, Thursday, Feb. 27 & 28, Board of Education Budget
______________________________________________________________________________________
 
BOARD of FINANCE MEETING NOTICE      
 Thursday, February 14, 2008
 8:00 PM
 TOWN HALL MEETING ROOM 
 
1.    Discussion/Decision regarding proposed Senior Property Tax Freeze.- Woody Bliss, First Selectman.

2.    Discussion/decision regarding proposal to establish trust fund for OPEB liabilities.

3.    Discussion/decision regarding supplemental appropriation request in the amount of $54,000 to apply
a portion of a Police Department heart and hypertension claim.- Tom Landry/done

4.    Discussion/decision regarding proposed appropriations from General Fund Balance surplus/ 3-3 tie.
Very interesting, but we are not sure what is going on here...there is supposed to be a Special Town
Meeting, we think, on appropriating the excess "surplus" in the rainy day fund.  But how much, what it
will be used for and when the Town gets to decide is up in the air.  We left after more than 2 hours.

5.    Approval of Meeting Minutes of  January 10.

6.    Any other items of business to be brought up for Board consideration

7.    Adjourn.


_______________________________________________________________________________________
BOARD of FINANCE
MEETING NOTICE      
January 10, 2008
8:00 PM
TOWN HALL COMMISSION ROOM 
 
1.    Discussion/Decision regarding selection of appropriate account type for GASB/OPEB fund
accumulation.- Natalie Welsh, Shipman and Goodwin/interesting discussion of possible Trust Fund.


2.    Presentation of FY2006-2007 audit.- Scott Bassett, McGladrey & Pullen/ no big problems.

3.    Discussion/Decision regarding supplemental appropriation request in the amount of $325k for the
purpose of design and reconstruction of Cartbridge.- Tom Landry/as one members stated, "Do we have
a choice?"


4.    Discussion/decision regarding targeted General Fund Balance amount to be considered for
re-appropriation/"About Town" did not stay to hear this.


5.    Approval of Meeting Minutes of December 13.

6.    Any other items of business to be brought up for Board consideration

7.    Adjourn.
_______________________________________________________________________________________
We did not attend, but received reliable report of Election results.
BOARD of FINANCE
MEETING NOTICE      
December 13, 2007 rescheduled to MONDAY, DEC. 17 because of impending snow storm Thursday. 
8:00 PM
TOWN HALL COMMISSION ROOM 
 
1.    Discussion/Decision regarding approval of wording for January 17 special town meeting addressing
school construction projects.- Bruce Chudwick, Shipman and Goodwin.

2.    Discussion/decision regarding proposal to establish trust fund for OPEB liabilities- Bruce Chudwick
3.    Executive Session- Potential Litigation Settlement Regarding Liberty Mutual/Nettleton Mechanical
Claim.- Don Gary, School Building Committee

4.    Approval of Meeting Minutes of  November 8 .
5.    Election of Board officers/Michael O'Brien, Chair., Gerald Sargent, Vice-Chair.
6.    Any other items of business to be brought up for Board consideration
7.    Adjourn.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"About Town" could not attend - however, reliable information indicates that, given a second
chance, this time the Board of  Finance approved FAA $$!


REVISED AGENDA (3pm Tuesday) - Executive Session- Potential Litigation Regarding Revson
Field- G. Kenneth Bernhard (as new item #3)

BOARD of FINANCE, November 8, 2007, 8:00 PM, TOWN HALL COMMISSION ROOM 
 
1.    Discussion/Decision regarding request for approval of vehicle tax suspension list.- Charity Nichols.
2.    Discussion/decision regarding supplemental appropriation request from the Police Commission
(expected to be approximately $5,000) for Police Chief search expenses.- Rick Phillips.

3.    Discussion/decision regarding final FY2006-07 year end transfers. Rick Darling.
4.    Discussion of general financial status and projections in anticipation of general fund balance draw
down for capital and OPEB needs.- Tom Landry.

5.    Update on the status of various capital projects- Davis Hill drainage, Revson Field drainage, town
hall roof, town/school facilities report.- Tom Landry

6.    Approval of Meeting Minutes of  October 11 and October 22.
7.    Supplemental Appropriation Request in the amount of $58,000 to join a regional appea
of the recent FAA flight path plan. – Woody Bliss

8.    Any other items of business to be brought up for Board consideration

Another second hand report - apparently, at the 7pm Special Board of Finance meeting on Oct. 22,
2007, the two item agenda included a settlement for one Referendum contract (approved for
payment) and funding to join in a multi-town endeavor to challenge the FAA route proposed
changes in the flight paterns above, among other places Weston.  Approval not given
(unanimolusly).

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Report is below second hand ("About Town" got as far as the "S-Curve" and turned around and
went back home) - from two different sources...see Weston FORUM report below.

Board of Finance, Thursday, October 11, 2007 at 8pm in the Town Hall Meeting Room
1.    Supplemental for Interfaith Housing of $14,420.00 approved by the Board of Selectmen/we assume
this was approved.

2.    Discussion regarding the supplemental appropriation of $5,467.00 for a new  Dial-A-Ride van
requested by the Commission on Aging/this, too.. 

3.    Discussion regarding the supplemental appropriation of $35,000.00 for Police Chief recruitment
expense requested by Police Commission Chairman Rick Phillips/withdrawn from agenda.    

4.    Discussion regarding a supplemental appropriation for $24,000.00 for a drainage study requested by
Deepwood/Davis Hill residents/? we didn't find out about this.       

5.    Discussion regarding the supplemental appropriation of $65,000.00 for drainage improvements at
Revson Field requested by the Building Committee/done - Board of Finance interested in weighing the
choice to do the repair or pursue legal action..

6.    Discussion regarding the supplemental appropriation of $3,500.00 for a survey of Revson Field/done.      
7.    Further discussion regarding the OPEB liability and funding proposals/?.
8.    Resolution authorizing the Close out of Capital Projects and re-appropriation of funds/done, we think.
9.    Discussion regarding Capital non-recurring fund transfers and Close outs/done, we think. 
10.  Update on the progress of the Facilities Review-Tom Landry/on schedule to have draft end of October
(we think--same as reported at Building Committee). 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Board of Finance Meeting Notice, Thursday, December 14, 2006 at 8pm, Town Hall Commission
Room.

1.  Discussion/decision re:  General Fund Reserve target amount and Policy - Board of Selectmen/this
item will be discussed at the next meeting in greater depth - however, no decision need be made until
after the completion of the budget process (April 2007);

2.  Discussion/decision re:  transfer request in the amount of $37,478 for 2 road drainage projects
(John Conte)/question of establishing policy - Town aware of this, OK for these 2 projects.

3.  Discussion/decision re: transfer request in the amount of $20,000 for the purpose of renovations to
Kinderland for interim occupancy by various Town departments (Tom Landry)/$17,000 OK'd after extended
debate;  Town agreed to continue using Jarvis for a Town department (i.e. Social Services or Parks and
Rec).

4.  Report on schedule for High School roof repair (Tom Landry)/probably to a Special Town Meeting in the
new year to have the voters decide.

5.  Approval of minutes of November 9/done..
6.  Any other items of business to be brought up for Board consideration/further discussion of new State
Mandate on retirement funds set-asides;  discussion of Capital Advisory RFP re:  School and Town major
structure/capital facilities plan for scheduled major repairs ("About Town" interpretation of topic).

7.  Adjourn/"About Town" left before adjournment--at 10:15pm.
_______________________________________________________________________________________

                  

Weston's finance board wants feedback: How much are taxpayers willing to spend?   
Weston FORUM
Written by Kimberly Donnelly    
Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Board of Finance wants to hear from Westonites now what they think they can afford to pay in taxes
next year.

When it comes to budget preparations and deliberations, “the real question is what can the town afford?”
said Mike O’Brien, chairman of the finance board.

The board heard presentations from the town and the schools at a joint meeting of selectmen and finance
and school board members earlier this month. The finance board also got updates at its meeting Thursday,
Dec. 11.

When it comes to advising the selectmen and the school board at this point, the consensus of the finance
board is that it is “not going to give guidance as to a particular number,” Mr. O’Brien said.


Both the schools and the town have said they are looking at about a 3% increase to their respective
budgets. “We see that as a maximum, not a goal,” Mr. O’Brien said.


“Giving a hard and fast number doesn’t really get the job done one way or another,” Mr. O’Brien said.
“Basically we’re saying, ‘Put together the best budget you can, given what’s going on in the world, and
keep it down as much as you can.’”


Public feedback

Mr. O’Brien would like to see the public get involved and voice opinions early on to give the various town
entities a sense of what people are willing and able to pay.


“It comes down to the Board of Finance — at the end of the day, it’s up to us to decide what the town can
afford and what it can’t. But we need the input of the townspeople to tell us what we can afford,” he said.


It is still early in the budget process — real deliberations will begin after the first of the year — but
departments have already been looking at what they need for the 2009-10 fiscal year. Town departments
submitted their initial budget requests to the town administrator and finance director this week.


The school board will hold budget workshops Jan. 12, 14 and 16. “I would strongly recommend people
attend these workshops,” Mr. O’Brien said, noting they will also be televised on the public access station.


He also suggested taxpayers attend the Board of Selectmen meetings when the first selectman presents
the proposed town budget (scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 3) and when the school board presents its
proposal to the selectmen (set for Wednesday, Feb. 4).


Uncertainty

Mr. O’Brien acknowledged that people may not know right now just how their financial situations are going
to play out over the next several months. Aside from the uncertain world economy, the impact of
revaluation on Weston homeowners won’t become apparent until February.


Revaluation and its overall impact on the town’s grand list, as well as the town’s revenue stream, will also
factor into budget deliberations.


Mr. O’Brien pointed out that the capital budget has not yet been addressed, but, he said, the general
consensus seems to be that the town should not defer maintenance items if at all possible.


However, it is not likely the town will seek bonding anytime soon. “In this environment, bond issues right
now are a no-go, because they are very expensive. We are hoping the bond market in 2009 will come
back and allow us to get a good rate.” Only then could the town consider bonding for any capital items,
Mr. O’Brien said.


Still, even with all the unknowns, it’s important for people to go to meetings where budgets are still being
crafted and scrutinized and to voice their opinions early on, Mr. O’Brien said.


Speak Up, held by the League of Women Voters of Weston every February, is also a great time for people
to ask questions of the selectmen and the members of the school and finance boards, and to let those
same people know their thoughts and ideas, Mr. O’Brien said.


“Getting a feel for what the affordability is in town is going to be interesting and important this year,” he
said.

____________________________________________________________________

                    Weston Annual Town Budget Meeting; Voters approve $63.4 million budget
Weston Forum
Patty Gay
Apr 22, 2008

At the Annual Town Budget Meeting held last night in the auditorium of Weston High School,
approximately 120 voters overwhelmingly approved an overall 2008-09 town budget of $63,417,586,
a 4.71% increase from the current fiscal year.


Immediately after the vote, the Board of Finance approved a mill rate of 24.05, a 2.82% increase from
the current rate of 23.39. A mill is equal to $1 for every $1,000 of assessed property value.


The budget was approved exactly as it was recommended to the taxpayers by the finance board.
Although there were comments and questions raised about the education budget and items in the town
budget, no changes were made.


Line by line, voters approved a town operating budget of $10,626,270, a 4.57% increase from the current
budget.


The school budget of $43,975,601, a 5.48% increase, was approved in one singular vote.

Voters also approved a capital improvement budget of $1,396,000, a 5.76% increase; and a debt service
budget of $7,419,715.

                     ___________________________________________________________________
                    From FORUM...earlier action reported
Officials question the safety of Revson Field
Weston FORUM
by Kimberly Donnelly

Apr 9, 2008

Some officials believe the town should take a more proactive approach toward fixing the problems on
Revson Field.


At a Board of Selectmen meeting last Thursday, April 3, Selectman W. Glenn Major said the discovery
of glass and other debris found embedded throughout the playing field means the field might still be
unsafe; rather than waiting to see if more glass turns up, the town should be more actively checking to
see if there is more, Mr. Major said.


“The glass you can see, you can pick up. It’s the glass you can’t see that’s the issue,” he said.

Athletic Field Services of Larchmont, N.Y., owned by Flavio LaRocca, was hired last fall by the town to
try to remediate drainage problems and surface inconsistencies that plagued Revson for more than two
years.


A few weeks ago, however, as the fields were being readied for the upcoming high school baseball
season, maintenance workers noticed and reported large amounts of debris, including shards of glass
and pieces of slate, asphalt, wood, and plywood, embedded throughout the outfield where remediation
work had been done.


Tom Landry, town administrator, explained at the April 3 selectmen’s meeting that when the debris was
discovered, Mr. LaRocca came to look at it and agreed he would do what it takes to make it right.


On Wednesday, March 26, Mr. LaRocca and a crew of eight workers raked, swept, and hand-picked
debris from the field, which was re-opened the next day.


By Friday, March 28, however, the field was closed again because more glass was discovered. Mr.
Landry said he again called Mr. LaRocca, who sent more workers on Wednesday, April 2, to handpick
glass off the field. Mr. Landry said Mr. LaRocca told him conditions were too wet at that time to rake.


The high school baseball team played its first game on Revson Field that same day, April 2. Conditions
were a bit “wet and soupy,” but no problems were reported, Mr. Landry said.


Excavate

At the April 3 Board of Selectmen meeting, Mr. Major suggested the town should perhaps excavate at
least one area on the field where it is known a depression was filled with topsoil, in order to get a better
idea of how deep the glass might be buried.


“We have a duty to make sure the field is safe,” Mr. Major said.

He acknowledged everyone has been trying their best to keep field closure to a minimum so as to not
impact the kids, but the situation now warrants a different approach.


“So you lose the field this spring anyway because you shouldn’t be playing on it if there’s glass on it ...
I don’t subscribe to the concept that you play on the field because you don’t see any glass. I think we
have to be reasonably assured that there isn’t any glass for them to be playing.”


“I have no doubt you can go out there and find glass,” Mr. Landry said.

Mr. Major asked Mr. Landry to coordinate with the Parks and Recreation Department, which oversees
the town’s playing fields, to dig up a section and examine the soil more thoroughly.


First Selectman Woody Bliss, who was participating in the meeting by phone, said he thought the
contractor should be present during such an inspection. “We don’t want him coming back and saying
we did something to the field,” Mr. Bliss said.


At this point, Joe Fitzpatrick, chairman of the Building Committee, offered his opinion. “At this stage,
whether it was the guy’s fault or he got bad material is irrelevant. He put bad stuff on the field. We gave
him the opportunity to clear it. It doesn’t sound like he’s done it. What I would do is do what Glenn [Major]
suggested. Send Tom [Landry] out there. The minute you find a hunk of glass, you put [Mr. LaRocca] on
notice ... You give him whatever the legal notice is, 72 hours ... You direct him to come in, scrape
everything off, remove all the material and replace it. When he tells you no, you get someone else to do
it, and you haul [Mr. LaRocca] ... into court. I don’t know what else you can do.”


Mr. Major agreed, saying if glass is found deeper in the soil, “you don’t want to be playing on it ...
you’ve lost the field anyway.”


Westonite Bob Machson spoke from the audience and praised Mr. Major’s initiative. “If someone did this
in my back yard, I would be giving them 24 hours to get it off, or get someone else to get it off, and I
would sue the person. Period,” Mr. Machson said.


“Frankly, Tom,” he continued, speaking to Mr. Landry, “I’m surprised that was not your first reaction. I
applaud Glenn ... and I have to say, that should be the town’s first reaction.”


Mr. Machson also said he would like to hear from town counsel about what the town’s legal rights are.
He said he is concerned, also, about preserving evidence from the previous problems the field had —
problems Athletic Field Services was supposed to be addressing, but for which no one has yet to be held
accountable, Mr. Machson said.


Mr. Major said the town had a survey done last October — before work began —to establish and preserve
the existing conditions.


History

Flooding and other poor field conditions have plagued the two baseball fields at Revson since it was
renovated more than two years ago during the school and athletic facilities building project.


A report by Milone & MacBroom, commissioned by the town in September 2006, states the drainage
problems at Revson were caused primarily by “compaction of the topsoil and the very low permeability of
the subsoil.” In addition, “depressions in the playing surface” are noted as a contributing factor to the
drainage issues.


Milone & MacBroom offered several proposals for redoing the fields that would be guaranteed to fix the
drainage problem. To completely re-engineer the field, however, would cost the town anywhere from about
$500,000 to upwards of $1.2 million.


At the urging of the Building Committee, the town instead opted to hire Athletic Field Services to use a
much less expensive shatter penetration and aeration method to try to remediate the field. In October,
the town finance board approved up to $65,000 for repair work, along with $3,500 to first complete a
survey.


As of Nov. 5, Athletic Field Services had completed about $42,000 worth of work, including aerating the
outfield, bringing in 160 tons of topsoil, 40 tons of clay, and reseeding with about 1,000 pounds of seed.


Blame

The question of who is to blame for the initial problems at Revson has remained largely unanswered.
 
Town officials have said with four different design and construction companies involved, all denying fault,
it was determined it would be difficult to win in court.


However, when the Board of Finance was asked to approve money for the “quick fix” of the field, it urged
local leaders to fix their sights on legal action against those potentially responsible for the field’s condition.


“There is wisdom in paying the $65,000 to fix the field,” said then finance board Chairman Jerry Sargent in
October 2007, “but there is a concern from many on this board about throwing more money at a problem
that is not of our own making.”


Several finance board members agreed at that time the firms that designed and constructed the field
should be held liable for the substandard conditions.


The first selectman was at the October finance board meeting as well, and said the town had explored
legal action, but he would not elaborate in open session. The finance board then voted to enter executive
session to discuss the legal issues.


About 20 minutes later, the finance board returned from executive session and rendered its approval for
the supplemental appropriations to cover the cost of the survey and Athletic Field Services’ remediation
work.

                    ___________________________________________________________________
Weston finance board examines capital improvement priorities
by Brian Gioiele
Weston FORUM
Feb 21, 2008
 
While there is no final priority list or exact dollar amount, one thing is certain: town officials will be asking
taxpayers to spend at least $2.1 million in the coming months.


The Board of Finance spent Thursday night discussing possible priorities, focusing on funding the liability
for post-employment benefits trust fund ($1.1 million), high school auditorium work ($700,000) and Town
Hall roof repairs ($350,000).


The board delayed any ruling on the priorities, instead waiting for the town’s capital committee to finalize
its own priority list from not only that group of three items but also those listed in the Kaestle Boos report,
which lists some $44 million in needed work on the school and town facilities.


“We need a priority list,” said First Selectman Woody Bliss. “We have money to spend on the highest
priority items, such as the Town Hall roof. Then we have to make decisions on funding the other projects.”

Finance board member Melissa Koller said that, with interest rates low now, it may be time to look into
bonding the major projects, so that the work may be done as quickly as possible.


“Here we are faced with $40 million in potential expenditures,” said Ms. Koller. “Interest rates are at
all-time lows. It’s a good time to look at bonding.”


“The choices are doing the projects at once and paying over time or spreading out the work and the cost
to taxpayers out over years,” responded Mr. Bliss. “I’m with you. I’d rather do more up front.”


And where is the money going to come from to cover the $2.1 million in potential expenditures? Excess
in the town’s general fund, that’s where.


During its January meeting, the finance board seemed to favor keeping the town’s fund balance at 12%
of the total town budget, currently estimated at $63.4 million for the 2008-09 fiscal year.


The fund balance will be an estimated $10.4 million by June 30 — end of the present fiscal year —
which puts the general fund at 16.6% of the so-to-be finalized fiscal year 2008-09 fiscal year budget.


What does that all mean? Using the 12% number, the general fund would need to be $7.6 million. What
that means is that the town would need to draw down the fund balance by $2.9 million to spend on some
of the impending costs facing the town.


One problem with moving such a large chunk of money from the general fund lies in the town charter.
The charter states that supplemental appropriations “in any fiscal year shall not exceed 2% of the current
tax levy.” Any larger such cash shifts require Town Meeting approval.


The fiscal year 2007-08 tax levy is some $58.6 million, and 2% of that figure is $1,172,893. The
supplemental appropriations, to date, are $548,354, meaning that the town can only move another
$624,539.


Board members acknowledged that it will seek Board of Selectmen authorization for a special Town
Meeting for the use of general fund supplemental appropriations over and above the $624,539 to address
OPEB (the town’s liability for post-employment benefits, particularly retiree medical benefits) and capital
committee project recommendations.


But the board members were split on how much to ask the special Town Meeting to spend.

Board member David Muller first moved that the $624,539 remain untouched in the general fund for the
remainder of the present fiscal year to cover any surprise supplemental appropriations and $2,178,330 to
go before the special town meeting.


“I want to retain the flexibility,” said Mr. Muller about having that money available to cover unanticipated
costs prior to the end of the present fiscal year.


Mr. Muller was joined by fellow members Patty Kopas and Bob Atkinson in supporting the option. But
Chairman Michael O’Brien, Ms. Koller and Michael Carter were opposed, leaving a 3-3 tie that defeated
the motion.


“I’m concerned about having $624,000 set aside,” said Mr. Carter. “I’d rather hold back $200,000 or
$300,000 instead of $624,000. If we go a little below 12%, so be it.


Mr. O’Brien said that any of the $624,539 unspent at the end of the fiscal year remains in the general
fund and could then be added to the $2.1 million.


“Twelve percent is an arbitrary number,” said Ms. Koller, adding that maintaining 8% to 11% of the fiscal
year’s budget is enough to maintain an Aaa rating. “I think we are being extremely conservative here.”


But Mr. Bliss said that the town should remain at the high range of 12% considering the town’s high level
of debt after bonding the $80-million school project.


“I’d be cautious about dropping below 12%,” said Mr. Bliss. “If you’re thinking about another bond issue,
then you should think about keeping it around 12%. It’s real easy to spend the money. It’s not easy to
get it back.”


Mr. Bliss was referring to when he entered office, and the town’s general fund was at only 3%. His initial
goal was to reach 7% of the town’s fiscal year budget, but that goal steadily rose as the town embarked
on the school building project.


In a letter dated Dec. 21, Town Administrator Tom Landry states three reasons to maintain the 12%
retention level: “1) It helps to offset the high debt level carried by the town as compared to other Aaa rated
communities for bond rating agencies; 2) There is a standing $400,000 heart and hypertension judgment
against the town, which, if we lose the appeal, will have to be paid from general fund balance proceeds;
3) There are six months remaining in the fiscal year, so any additional supplemental appropriations made
by the Board of Finance over the remainder of the year will further erode the 12% balance.”


Following Mr. Muller’s failed motion, Mr. Carter moved that $300,000 be maintained to cover unexpected
costs through the end of the fiscal year and $2,449,478 go before a future special Town Meeting. Ms.
Koller and Mr. O’Brien joined Mr. Carter, while Mr. Muller, Mr. Atkinson and Ms. Kopas opposed, meaning
this vote also failed.


“The capital committee will come up with a list of priorities, then there will be some meat behind the
$2.1-million number. If the priorities come out to $2.2 million or $2.3 million, then there might be a call on
the $624,000,” said Mr. O’Brien.
______________________________________________________________________________________
                                     
Heart and hypertension: Weston officials not stressed by officers' claims
Weston FORUM
by PATRICIA GAY
 Jan 9, 2008

Two medical claims that could set the town back hundreds of thousands of dollars aren’t bothering Tom
Landry, town administrator.

In November, Mr. Landry told the Board of Selectmen there were several big ticket items the town will
likely have to pay for in the upcoming fiscal year. Among those items are two “heart and hypertension”
medical claims made by two Weston police officers.

One of the claims, by police Officer Richard Palmiero, is in the final stages of disposition and may exceed
$400,000. The other claim, by Detective Carl Filsinger, is more recent, and its price tag is not yet known.

Mr. Landry said these claims are one reason why the selectmen and finance boards are holding onto and
not spending the budget surplus. “We are setting aside $400,000 for Rich Palmiero’s claim. We are not
sure what else might crop up, but this expense is no surprise,” Mr. Landry said.

Scott Williams, an attorney with Maher Williams of Fairfield, who specializes in workers’ compensation
issues, is representing the town of Weston in these claims. He said he has represented the town on
workers’ compensation cases for many years.

Special benefit

Officer Palmiero’s claim is the first of its kind for Weston, said Mr. Landry. It is not a lawsuit, but rather
a claim for a special benefit under Connecticut General Statute 7-433c.

The benefit is available to police officers or firefighters who become partially or totally disabled or die as a
result of hypertension or heart disease. It applies only to those who were hired before 1996.

How much the officer or firefighter is compensated under the special benefit depends on a variety of
factors, including age, scope of the disease, and length of service.

To claim the benefit, several things are required. When the employee was hired he or she had to have had
a clean physical with no signs of heart disease or hypertension. The claim must be filed within a year after
a doctor diagnoses the employee with hypertension or heart disease. The claim must be filed with the
town and the commissioner’s office of workers’ compensation in Stamford.

A commissioner decides if the claim is valid. The town may not appeal the commissioner’s decision, but
may dispute the amount awarded for the claim.

Mr. Landry said Officer Palmiero’s case has progressed very far in the process. Officer Palmiero was hired
before 1996, had a clean pre-employment physical, and was diagnosed by his doctor with either heart
disease or hypertension. He made a claim for the benefit within a year of the diagnosis, and a workers’
compensation commissioner accepted the claim, Mr. Landry said.

All that is left hanging is the dollar amount of the benefit. The commissioner pegged it in the low $400,000
range based on its calculations. The town is disputing that figure and has requested that Officer Palmiero
have a physical by an outside physician to see if that doctor agrees with the diagnosis of Officer
Palmiero’s doctor.

“If the outside doctor agrees with Rich’s doctor, then the town will pay the full amount. If there is a
significant difference, we will have to discuss things further,” Mr. Landry said.

Attorney Williams said if the diagnosis is different and the town and Officer Palmiero cannot reach a
compromised agreement, both sides’ numbers will be submitted to a commissioner, who will pick one
of the numbers. That decision is final and may not be appealed.

Detective Filsinger’s claim has not been heard yet by the commissioner’s office.

Workers’ comp

The heart and hypertension special benefit differs from a regular workers’ compensation benefit in several
ways, said Mr. Williams.

Under the special benefit, an employee does not have to prove the disease is a result of the job, and
family history is not relevant. “It is presumed that the job caused the disease,” Mr. Williams said.

There is no such presumption under regular workers’ compensation laws. And in those cases, such
factors as family history are quite relevant.

But there is one benefit to filing a claim under regular workers’ compensation laws, Mr. Williams said.
Financial awards from that process are not taxable, but the awards are taxable under the special benefit.

In 1996, the state legislature, facing pressure from towns and cities that were paying significant money
in heart and hypertension claims, repealed the special benefit by adding a clause to statute 7-433c which
read, “Those persons who began employment on or after July 1, 1996, shall not be eligible for any benefits
pursuant to this section.”

So police officers and firefighters hired after July 1, 1996, are not eligible for the special benefit, but they
may still make a claim under regular workers’ compensation laws, Mr. Williams said.

Mr. Williams said there are strong advocates on both sides of the equation as to whether there should be
a special benefit for heart and hypertension. “One side says taxpayers are getting killed by these claims,
but the other side says these emergency service workers put their lives on the line protecting people and
it is difficult to prove the causation of heart disease or hypertension,” he said.

Mr. Landry acknowledged that in 2007 there was legislation proposed to reinstate the heart and
hypertension special benefit, but it didn’t make it through the approval process. “You can expect to see it
introduced again,” he said.

Surprise

Officer Palmiero said some people are surprised to learn that he has a heart and hypertension claim
pending. A 35-year veteran of the Weston Police Department, he is very active and currently works regular
patrol shifts.

Detective Filsinger, a 26-year veteran, said he has not called in sick one day in his years of service.

“That sounds about right,” said Police Chief John Troxell, who has worked with both officers throughout
most of his career.

Both officers are represented by attorney Clayton Quinn of Milford, and they referred comments on their
cases to him. Mr. Quinn’s office was contacted for comment, but he did not return The Forum’s phone call.
_______________________________________________________________________________________
                 

Public hearing Jan. 10 - Weston talks tax relief

Weston FORUM
by BRIAN GIOIELE
Jan 2, 2008


Despite pleas for a more convenient time, local leaders chose not to reschedule the public hearing on
ordinance changes to both the town’s senior and veterans tax relief programs.


Hal Mathews, representing the Select Committee on Veterans Affairs, asked the Board of Selectmen on
Thursday, Dec. 20, to move the hearing from Thursday, Jan. 10, at 7 p.m. at Weston Town Hall to a
Saturday morning, when senior citizens — veterans and non-veterans — would be better able to attend.


“We feel it is important to hold the meeting at the time that is most convenient,” said Mr. Mathews.

 “It could be a problem with 7:30 p.m. on a January night. Many of those who are affected by this are
older and don’t drive at night.”


If a time change was not possible, Mr. Mathews asked that the town bus be made available. He also
asked that the selectmen make clear that letters concerning the proposals would be accepted prior to
the hearing.


The selectmen said the date and time would remain in place, but the board agreed to look into making
transportation available to those residents who wish to attend but are unable to drive in the evening.


“People can certainly send in letters with their opinions [on the tax relief proposals],” said First Selectman
Woody Bliss. “I’m not aware of any opposition. This is not a controversial issue.”


Two hearings, one night

The selectmen have scheduled two separate public hearings on Jan. 10.

The first will begin at 7 p.m. and focus on the adjustments to the town’s veterans tax relief program.
The hearing on the proposed senior tax freeze will begin immediately after the first hearing.


Once the hearing is complete and approvals given, the selectmen said the adjustments would be part
of the next fiscal year budget.


The selectmen plan to make the proposed ordinances available to the public before the public hearing.
Residents may obtain copies from town hall. The selectmen also hope to place the ordinances on the
town Web site (www.westonct.gov).

The Forum also will post the information on its site (www.theWestonForum) when it becomes available.


For veterans (read new ordinance here)

The veterans affairs committee is asking that the town’s veterans tax relief program, for both disabled
and nondisabled veterans, be adjusted to reflect the recent jump in property assessments.


Present tax relief for nondisabled veterans calls for $4,500 to be applied as a reduction from the current
property assessment — a figure Betsy Peyreigne, committee co-chairman, says has been in place for
several decades.


“Despite the major upward trend in the value of assessments and the annual change in mill rates, the
$4,500 amount has remained constant,” said Ms. Peyreigne in letter penned with Teri Gaberman, fellow
committee co-chairman, to the selectmen. “This has resulted in a diminished net relief to all Weston
veterans.”


In order to better meet the tax relief needs, the committee is proposing the $4,500 be raised to $10,000,
which would remain the “bare minimum” but could rise as property assessments jump in the future.


“If the value of the program relief amount had been adjusted at the same rate as the assessments,
the veterans’ tax exemption would be approximately $22,000, given 2007 values,” states the committee
letter.


“In consideration of the existing school expenses, other mandatory town expenditures, combined with
the fact that homeowners bear approximately 98% of the local tax burden,” the letter states, “we feel that
asking for the entire $22,000 per veteran is unrealistic.”


Under the proposal for nondisabled veterans, after each revaluation, the veterans’ tax exemption would
automatically be recalculated to reflect the change, but never to fall below the $10,000 figure.


For disabled veterans who are currently receiving a $13,500 reduction in assessed value, the committee
proposes the figure be increased at the same proportion as for the nondisabled veterans. With the new
benchmark, minimum value for exemption would be $29,970.


Freeze

The Commission on Aging has proposed no changes in the present town abatement or deferment
programs, instead calling for creation of a third program — a tax freeze for senior citizens 65 years old
or older under a specific set of criteria.


The income threshold would be $100,000, with no threshold on net worth or house value. The real estate
base tax would be frozen at the date of the application.


Subsequent annual real estate tax increases would be deferred interest-free until the house is sold or for
14 years, at which time the applicant would be required to pay off the first tax deferment and subsequent
years annually thereafter as required by state law.


According to the Commission on Aging proposal, the cost of the temporary lost income would be included
in the annual town budget.


“Let us assume that the average applicant has a home that is assessed for $500,000, and that there will
be 100 applicants. If the freeze were in effect for 2007-08, the town of Weston would have ‘temporary lost
income’ in the amount of $32,500,” according to the commission proposal.


The commission states this new program would benefit those who do not meet the wealth threshold for
abatement, those who receive a 60% abatement, and those who have incomes in excess of $49,000, but
no more than $100,000.


“The deferred tax increases become a lien on the property and will be paid when the property is sold or
transferred. At that time, the town will receive tax income to offset the established tax deferment line.
This budget line should not be part of the current abatement/deferment program,” states the commission
proposal.


The veterans affairs committee also offered a proposal for those veterans with “lower income.” The
committee asked that those veterans who are single and have a net taxable income less than $52,700
and those who are married with net taxable income less than $58,900 receive an additional $10,000 off
the assessed value to “further compensate them for their service.”
_______________________________________________________________________________________


Weston settles Losito lawsuit:  Electrician to receive $125,000
Weston FORUM
by PATRICIA GAY
Dec 26, 2007

The town has settled a lawsuit with an electrical contractor that claimed it was owed money from the
 intermediate school building project.


On Monday, Dec. 17, Weston’s Board of Finance approved paying $125,000 to M.J. Losito Electrical
Contractors of Bethel to settle a lawsuit the contractor filed against the town in May. The selectmen
approved the settlement in November.


The finance board’s approval to allocate the funds puts an end to Losito’s claims against the town,
said Tom Landry, town administrator.


Losito was the electrical contractor for the intermediate school building project and provided electrical
service, lights, power, voice and data lines, generator, and lighting fixtures. The school opened in 2005.

The lawsuit said Losito had a $1,739,000 lump sum written contract with the town to perform all the
electrical work on the project, but claimed the town owed it an additional $783,032 because of delays
and “change order” work requests that required the contractor to incur expenses that were not in the
original contract.


“When the claim first came in, O&G said it was without merit. However, after reviewing the claim, we
saw there was some merit. So at the end of the day, we decided to settle out,” Mr. Landry said. O&G
Industries was the construction manager for the project.


Mr. Landry said most of the claims from the intermediate school project have been settled and paid, but
there remains one contractor who has threatened to bring a lawsuit but has not yet done so; and there is
a wrongful termination case pending in Hartford by Harold Mindell, whom the town fired in 2004 as the
owner’s representative on the project.


Mr. Landry also said most of the written contracts the town made with contractors in the intermediate
school project contained arbitration clauses, so if the contracts were disputed they would be settled by
an arbitration panel and not in court.


However, the Losito contract did not contain such an arbitration clause. There were at least “a few” other
contracts from the project that did not have that clause, Mr. Landry said.


                    ____________________________________________________________________

For some Weston seniors; Town considers freezing taxes

Weston FORUM
by BRIAN GIOIELE
Nov 20, 2007

Town officials keep moving toward adding a tax freeze option to the existing abatement and deferral
programs for local senior citizens.


The Board of Selectmen opened debate on the Commission on Aging’s proposal Thursday, but delayed
setting a public hearing date until receiving input from town counsel and estimates on potential cost
impacts of the new plan on future town budgets.


“There is a fiscally important plan for the town,” said Hal Mathews. “It will keep people in town. It will help
stabilize the school system. It will help stabilize taxes.”


The selectmen tabled the talk until their Dec. 6 meeting, when the board felt it would probably set a
public hearing on both the tax freeze proposed by the Commission on Aging as well as changes
recommended by the Select Committee on Veterans Affairs last month.


Once the hearing is complete and approvals given, the selectmen said, the adjustments would be part of
the next fiscal year budget.


Tax freeze

The Commission on Aging is not asking for any change in the present town abatement or deferment
programs, but instead for creation of a third program — a tax freeze for those senior citizens 65 years
or older under a specific set of criteria.


The income threshold would be $100,000, with no threshold on net worth or house value. The real estate
base tax would be frozen at the date of the application.

 
Subsequent annual real estate tax increases would be deferred, interest free, for 14 years, at which time
the applicant would be required to pay off the first tax deferment, and subsequent years annually thereafter
as required by state law.


Selectman Glenn Major suggested if this tax freeze were implemented, the Commission on Aging should
consider warning participants that refinancing could lead to having to pay what’s owed the town earlier
than anticipated.


Homeowners with a lien from a town are more likely to have to pay that loan off before a bank would
choose to allow refinancing, Mr. Major said.


“Having a disclaimer is a good idea,” said newly seated Selectman Gayle Weinstein.

“Then people can make an informed decision for themselves.”

According to the Commission on Aging proposal, the cost of the temporary lost income would be included
in the annual town budget.


“Let us assume that the average applicant has a home that is assessed for $500,000, and that there will
be 100 applicants. If the freeze were in effect for 2007-08, the town of Weston would have ‘temporary lost
income’ in the amount of $32,500,” according to the commission proposal.

Who would benefit

The commission stated that the new program would benefit those who do not meet the wealth threshold
for abatement, those who receive a 60% abatement, and those who have incomes in excess of $49,000
but no more than $100,000.


“The deferred tax increases become a lien on the property and will be paid when the property is sold or
transferred. At that time, the town will receive tax income to offset the established tax deferment line.
This budget line should not be part of the current abatement/deferment program,” states the commission
proposal.


The town’s Select Committee for Veterans Affairs also offered a proposal for veterans with “lower income.”

The committee asked that those veterans who are single and have a net taxable income less than
$52,700, and those who are married with net taxable income less than $58,900, receive an additional
$10,000 off the assessed value to “further compensate them for their service.”


The veterans affairs committee also is asking that the town’s veterans tax relief program, for both disabled
and nondisabled veterans, be adjusted to reflect the recent jump in property assessments.


Current tax relief for nondisabled veterans calls for $4,500 applied as a reduction from the current property
assessment — a figure that committee co-chairman Betsy Peyreigne says has been in place for several
decades.


“Despite the major upward trend in the value of assessments and the annual change in mill rates, the
$4,500 amount has remained constant,” said Ms. Peyreigne in letter penned with fellow committee
co-chairman Teri Gaberman to the selectmen. “This has resulted in a diminished net relief to all Weston
veterans.”


In order to better meet the tax relief needs, the committee is proposing the $4,500 be raised to $10,000,
which would remain the “bare minimum” but could rise as property assessments jump in the future.


“If the value of the program relief amount had been adjusted at the same rate as the assessments, the
veterans tax exemption would be approximately $22,000, given 2007 values,” states the committee letter.


Under the proposal for nondisabled veterans, after each revaluation, the veterans tax exemption would
automatically be recalculated to reflect the change, but never to fall below the $10,000 figure.


For disabled veterans who are currently receiving a $13,500 reduction in assessed value, the committee
proposes that the figure be increased at the same proportion as for the nondisabled veterans — with the
new benchmark, minimum value for exemption at $29,970.


The selectmen plan to hold a public hearing on changes to both tax relief for senior citizens and military
veterans on the same night.
________________________________________________________________________________________
                   
                    Budget hikes for 2008-09 may reach $522,000
Weston FORUM
by BRIAN GIOIELE
Nov 15, 2007

Weston’s finance board has received a sneak peek at impending town budgetary hikes as well as possible
capital costs.


Tom Landry, town administrator, briefed the Board of Finance last Thursday, estimating some $522,000
in town budget increases for the 2008-09 fiscal year budget, which will be formally put together early
next year.


In his presentation, Mr. Landry also noted the town’s undesignated fund balance will jump to some $9.6
million, which lead the town administrator to recommend a target “drawdown” of that account by $2 million.


“There are plenty of areas in which this money can be used,” Mr. Landry said.

Among the potentially large bills on the horizon are:

•    The replacement of the town hall roof (estimated at $475,000 — about $300,000 above the original
estimate);


•    Costs associated with two former police officers’ heart and hypertension lawsuit, a finding against the
town of $400,000, which is presently under appeal; and


•    A potentially higher than expected bill for renovation of the high school auditorium.

Also beginning this year is cost associated with the Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB)
requirements.


This pinpoints the town and school unfunded liability for post employment benefits for retirees. And that
total sits at $12.1 million, with $10.4 million for schools and $1.7 million for the town. Mr. Landry said that
$56,000 will be needed in the coming fiscal year’s budget to cover those costs.


Another issue is the pending findings from the Kaestle Boos report reviewing the town’s facilities. A draft
of that report is due as early as this week, according to Mr. Landry.


“Once you have had a chance to look at the reports, then you can decide how deep into the fund balance
you want to go,” said Mr. Landry.


Fund balance

The town administrator said he recommends a conservative approach, keeping the fund balance at 12%
of next year’s target budget of $63 million, which would mean paring the fund by some $2 million to be
spent as the selectmen and finance boards see fit.


The finance board first broached the subject of paring down the ever-growing fund balance earlier this year,
with the Board of Selectmen and Mr. Landry recommending that a policy be created to keep the general
fund somewhere between 8% and 12% of the town’s total budget.


While the finance board, at that time, chose not to set a definite number for the fund balance size, the
members did decide on a policy that will “endeavor to keep the fund balance level adequate to maintain
the town’s Aaa bond rating,” while not focusing on a specific number.


In conducting an annual review of the fund balance, Jerry Sargent, finance board chairman, said at the
time that his board would look at the financial condition of the town — specifically, the current spending
levels, forecasts for upcoming operational and capital expenditures, and potential contingency liabilities,
such as the estimated long-term costs of new GASB 45 requirements.


“We will consider all of these things in determining the appropriateness of the fund balance,” stated Mr.
Sargent at the time the finance board established this policy.


Earlier this year, Mr. Landry’s recommendation was for the fund balance to sit somewhere between 8%
and 12% of the town’s total budget. For the 2004-05 fiscal year, the fund balance was $6,988,749, or
12.8% of the total budget of $49,247,494.


In the 2005-06 fiscal year, the fund balance was about $8.4 million, or 14.6% of the total town budget of
$54,531,078.


The unaudited estimates for the 2006-07 fiscal year fund balance are even higher, with the fund balance
amounting to more than 15% of the total town budget of some $57.7 million.


And Mr. Landry reiterated Thursday his support for a drawdown. He recommended what he called a
conservative reduction of $2 million, which would leave the fund balance at some $7.6 million, or about
12% of next year’s estimated budget of $63 million.


Increases

Projected increases to the 2008-09 town budget include: $155,000 for a 3.5% payroll adjustment; and a
$110,000 hike when factoring in 4% increases on all other general budget items such as salaries, health
insurance, pension, social security, liability insurance and energy.


Mr. Landry also estimated increased costs such as $69,000 for Kids in Crisis; $21,000 for the town hall
annex operating costs; $55,000 for a full-time zoning enforcement officer; and $56,000 set aside for the
new GASB 45 liability.
________________________________________________________________________________________

NOTE:  November 8th there was a "re-vote" and it passed
Money for FAA lawsuit - Finance board denies request
Weston FORUM
by BRIAN GIOIELE and KIMBERLY DONNELLY
Oct 24, 2007

The Board of Selectmen’s plans to join a lawsuit challenging the Federal Aviation Administration’s recently
approved plane redirection proposal have stalled.


By a 1-4 vote, with Chairman Jerry Sargent the lone yes vote and Bob Atkinson abstaining, the Board of
Finance Monday denied the selectmen’s request for a supplemental appropriation of as much as $58,000.
The money would have been used to pay Weston’s portion of the initial legal expenses.


Mr. Sargent, in an e-mail response Tuesday morning, said his board “struggled to see the impact of the
FAA’s proposed change on Weston, and further questioned whether a lawsuit is the most effective way to
change the proposal.”


First Selectman Woody Bliss told the finance board that the $58,000 would enable Weston to join
neighboring towns in filing the appeal, acquiring lobbyists, and beginning a grassroots organization to
respond to the issue.


Based on population

Contributions from towns interested in the appeal process are based on population size. Estimates of
contribution amounts show Westport at $80,720, Redding at $55,000, Greenwich at $129,000, Norwalk at
$112,000, Stamford at $145,000, Wilton at $68,000, Ridgefield at $77,000, New Canaan at $71,000,
Darien at $72,000, and Pound Ridge, N.Y., at $50,000. According to Mr. Bliss, the initial payment would
require each town to deposit $30,000.


But Mr. Sargent said the finance board questioned whether the Connecticut towns had considered joining
one of the four other parties already suing “as a potentially more efficient way to address the issue. An
answer was not offered at the meeting.”   


After the vote and discussion on a different matter, Mr. Bliss requested the board reopen the discussion
regarding the FAA decision, so that he could possibly bring in Judy Neville, first selectman of New
Canaan, to speak with the finance board.


That request was denied by a vote of 3-3 (a tie vote meant the motion failed), with Mr. Sargent, Mike
O’Brien, and Dick Nichols opposed. Board members Dave Muller, Bob Atkinson, and Patty Kopas voted
in favor of reopening discussion.


On Tuesday, however, Mr. Bliss said he is still hopeful the town will be able to join the alliance’s lawsuit,
and that the finance board did leave the issue open to discussion in the future. “They said that if we have
more information, we can still bring it forward for them to consider,” Mr. Bliss said.


He said he plans to do just that. “I think this is a real concern for Weston,” he said.

As to the question of why the alliance was not joining other lawsuits that had already been filed, Mr. Bliss
said Tuesday that he did answer that question. “With regard to concerns, the concerns are the same
among the parties who have filed suits,” Mr. Bliss said. “However, when it comes to solutions, they are
different.” Ultimately, the lawsuits may end up being combined, he added.


“Frankly, the state ought to do it. But there is the question of whether state has standing,” Mr. Bliss said.

At the selectmen’s meeting

The finance board decision came four days after the selectmen voted unanimously to join 10 other
communities — a group calling itself the Alliance for Sensible Airspace Planning — in legally challenging
the FAA plan, which would redirect planes descending to LaGuardia Airport over southern Fairfield County
and areas of New York at peak travel times.


“It is the position of the town that this plan is dangerous,” said First Selectman Woody Bliss during last
Thursday’s selectmen meeting. “They are moving traffic patterns about 20 miles to the northeast, which
brings more air traffic to the towns in Fairfield County, including Weston.”


“It’s times like this I am grateful for the size of the general fund we have,” added Selectman Glenn Major,
“so we can step up, like in this case, and preserve the style we expect in Weston. The flight patterns
moving over the town would be quite detrimental.”


Mr. Bliss said that the alliance interviewed four law firms but focused the Chicago, Ill.-based international
law firm McDermott, Will & Emery LLP, which, the first selectman said, is one of the top three firms in the
country in aviation law.


Each community that joins the suit must put at least $30,000 in a general pool of cash. The $58,000
Mr. Bliss requested would have been a maximum, but that number could have gone down if more towns
joined the legal action.


Mr. Bliss said Thursday the alliance wants to take a “three-pronged approach,” saying that the
communities are not only using the law firm but also employing a lobbying firm in Washington, D.C., and
sparking grassroots organizations to urge the state legislators to take action.


Alliance members first announced the selection of attorney Steven Pflaum, a senior partner with
McDermott, Will & Emery LLP, after an Oct. 9 meeting at New Canaan Town Hall. Mr. Pflaum will serve
as counsel in any legal action against the FAA’s plan to redirect flight paths over southern Fairfield County.


Mr. Bliss said the alliance is working in concert with state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who said
he is weighing what options his office could take.


The FAA claims its flight plan over southern Fairfield County will reduce airport congestion, delays and
pollution from aircraft. But residents of towns in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania
have complained that noise from jets will negatively impact their quality of life.


Mr. Bliss said the lawsuit would be based on a number of issues, including “that the plan is not a proper
plan, the process they used coming up with it is incorrect, and there were many items that should have
been considered but were not, including safety, noise, and quality of life.”


According to Mr. Bliss, there is the question of environmental impact studies, none of which were filed by
the FAA during the approval process. He said FAA officials claimed that they were under no obligation to
file such studies.


“The only argument [the FAA] used to defend its plan was safety, that this would reduce delays,” Mr.
Bliss said. “But computer models showed that delays would be reduced by an average of only three
minutes per flight.”


Mr. Bliss said the real problem is the limited number of runways, gates and terminals. But increasing
those at the New York airports could take as many as 15 years when factoring in permit processes.


“What amazed me the most was the number of pilots and air traffic controllers who testified at the public
hearings against the plan,” Mr. Bliss said, adding that he also testified at past hearings in New Canaan
and Stamford.


The first selectman said pilots and controllers stated there are already too many “near misses” between
planes in the air. Those same airline experts said changing the gap in the air from five miles to three miles
 — as is proposed — would only increase that number, according to Mr. Bliss.


The new FAA plan would not only create additional traffic flying over the area, but now there is also a
proposed new holding pattern at 5,000 feet over Fairfield County. While FAA officials have said this would
be used rarely, Mr. Bliss said there is no guarantee.
________________________________________________________________________________________



Revson fix gets the OK
 Weston FORUM
by BRIAN GIOIELE and KIMBERLY DONNELLY
Oct 17, 2007

The Weston Board of Finance approved funding a quick, less costly fix for Revson Field’s drainage
problems, but not without urging local leaders to fix their sights on legal action against those potentially
responsible for the field’s condition.


Only two days after the Board of Selectmen finally approved funding a field fix-up plan, the finance board
last Thursday, Oct. 11, supported separate supplemental appropriations, one for $65,000 for drainage
improvements at Revson Field, and a second for $3,500 to have an updated survey done of the field.


“There is wisdom in paying the $65,000 to fix the field,” said Jerry Sargent, finance board chairman, “but
there is a concern from many on this board about throwing more money at a problem that is not of our
own making.”


Mr. Sargent then urged First Selectman Woody Bliss — who was present, along with Building Committee
member Don Gary, to push for approval of the funding request — to again obtain town counsel’s advice
on possible legal action against those firms involved in designing and constructing the field.


“My sense is that we’d be spending money over and over again here,” said finance board member Michael
O’Brien about repairing the Revson Field drainage conditions.

“There is something wrong with this whole thing," said Mr. O'Brien.

“I’m surprised that the town didn’t ask for some relief from the four parties involved (in the field
construction),” added Mr. O’Brien. “That’s the whole point of bringing professionals in to do a job like this.
Once the work is done, we have the right to bring them back in and put them on notice. There was a
faulty job here, and we have the right to look for repairs and reparations.”


Fellow finance board member Richard Nichols agreed, saying that from the facts before him, the firms that
designed and constructed the field could be held liable for the present conditions.


“There was something wrong with the design here,” said Mr. Nichols. “We don’t need a brain trust to tell
us something is wrong here. If the Board of Selectmen decided not to go forward on facts not known to
us, we should be made aware of those facts. I’m very troubled by all of this. We are spending other
people’s money, and we need to be very judicious in how we do this.”


At that point, Mr. Bliss said that the town had explored legal action but would not elaborate in open
session. The finance board then voted to enter executive session to discuss the legal issues.


Some 20 minutes later, the finance board returned from executive session and rendered its approval for
the two supplemental appropriations.


Revson Field’s faulty drainage situation has become well known, with local baseball officials saying the
present state of the field is dangerous for players.


In one instance, a local player broke an ankle just running the bases. Baseball officials in attendance
Thursday told the finance board that on another occasion, a team from Brookfield refused to play on the
field.


“The varsity team is embarrassed by the field,” said Ed Nussbaum. “It’s the laughingstock of the whole
South West Conference. This is not something that the kids should have to bear the brunt of.”


In the wake of the poor conditions, the Building Committee commissioned a report about potential fixes to
the situation, but Mr. Gary said that those solutions ranged from a partial repair for $500,000 to a complete
renovation of the field for some $1.25 million.


Those huge costs forced the Building Committee to take a more pragmatic view of the field repair,
said Mr. Gary.


The proposal — first presented by Mr. Gary at the Sept. 6 Board of Selectmen meeting — would address
Revson’s drainage problems by using a “shattered aeration” process.


Concerns

At that time, concerns were raised by members of the public about whether this was the best course
of action, since the aeration technique would not address the underlying cause of the drainage problems:
compaction of the subsoil.


But after an ensuing investigation, the Building Committee stood by its original plans to hire Athletic Field
Services, which would use special equipment that simultaneously aerates and vibrates, creating fissures
in the topsoil. The surface is then top dressed with a special sand and soil mixture, and then reseeded.


While the aeration method cannot be guaranteed, it has been successful in other places, Mr. Gary said.

“In this case, our expert opinion stated that a guaranteed fix would cost $1.25 million,” Mr. Gary said.
“We’re trying to do something here that is good for the baseball teams and field without needing a huge
capital outlay.”


The Board of Selectmen, at the urging of several members of the public, requested Mr. Gary first see
about getting someone to survey the Revson property and put together an “existing condition” map before
it approved funding for field remediation.


He did so, and at a Special Meeting Tuesday, Oct. 9, the selectmen approved up to $3,500 for the survey
work, and up to $65,000 for field remediation.


Mr. Gary said last Friday that he expected the surveyor, Brautigan Land Surveyors of Newtown, would be
on site at the field this week determining where the survey is to be done.


Actual survey work would likely take place by the end of this week or the beginning of next, Mr. Gary said;
it will take about two days of field work and at least one day of computer work.

The surveyor will mark approximately 450 points on the field, making the existing condition map accurate
to about a quarter-inch on the hard surface of the field and to about one inch on the soft.


There was initially a question as to whether construction would begin before during or after the survey.
“We would like to get the construction guys there as the surveyors are winding up,” Mr. Gary said.

‘Wrong decision’

Had the finance board not approved the funds Thursday, Mr. Gary said the window of opportunity to begin
work this fall — so that only the fall sports season would be impacted rather than the spring baseball
season — would likely have been missed.


But that did not stop one resident in attendance, Bob Machson of White Birch Ridge, saying that the
board was making a poor decision for all the best reasons.


“From what I hear, the expert you hired to be an expert hasn’t told you to do this,” he said. “You are
making the wrong decision here.”


He went on to question the town legal counsel, saying that every avenue for recouping funds for the poor
design and construction of the field should be explored.

At that point, Town Administrator Tom Landry said that there had been extensive discussions between
town counsel and local leaders about seeking reparations in this case. But with four different companies,
all denying fault, involved, Mr. Landry said it was determined that it would difficult to win, thereby costing
the town another estimated $150,000 for nothing.


“If we spend $100,000 of our money to take that course, I would be happy,” said Mr. Machson. “None of
this makes any sense.”
_______________________________________________________________________________________



ANOTHER ASPECT OF A COMMUNITY'S FINANCIAL PICTURE IS THE COST OF INSURANCE
Not the Boardof Finance  in Weston there is an Insurance Advisory Committee, begun under Woody
Bliss; September 6, 2012 Selectmen's meeting made or renewed appointments to that volunteer group.

_______________________________________________________________________________________



Raters Ignored Proof of Unsafe Loans, Panel Is Told
NYTIMES
By GRETCHEN MORGENSON
September 26, 2010

As the mortgage market grew frothy in 2006 — leading to a housing bubble that nearly brought down the
banking system two years later — ratings agencies charged with assessing risk in mortgage pools
dismissed conclusive evidence that many of the loans were dubious, according to testimony given last
week to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.

The commission, a bipartisan Congressional panel, has been holding hearings on the origins of the
financial crisis. D. Keith Johnson, a former president of Clayton Holdings, a company that analyzed
mortgage pools for the Wall Street firms that sold them, told the commission on Thursday that almost
half the mortgages Clayton sampled from the beginning of 2006 through June 2007 failed to meet crucial
quality benchmarks that banks had promised to investors.

Yet, Clayton found, Wall Street was placing many of the troubled loans into bundles known as mortgage
securities.

Mr. Johnson said he took this data to officials at Standard & Poor’s, Fitch Ratings and to the executive
team at Moody’s Investors Service.

“We went to the ratings agencies and said, ‘Wouldn’t this information be great for you to have as you
assign tranche levels of risk?’ ” Mr. Johnson testified last week. But none of the agencies took him up
on his offer, he said, indicating that it was against their business interests to be too critical of Wall Street.

“If any one of them would have adopted it,” he testified, “they would have lost market share.”

In the aftermath of the financial crisis, which has required billions of dollars in taxpayer money to bail out
Wall Street, ratings agencies have been sharply criticized for failing to properly assess the securities they
were reviewing, and federal regulators are investigating the agencies for the role they played in the credit
crisis.

The agencies have said that they had closely watched the mortgage market but had not anticipated how
quickly it would deteriorate.

“Moody’s aggressively monitored market conditions as the crisis continued to unfold to assess the impact
of how the various market participants — including the borrowers, the mortgage servicers, the mortgage
originators and the federal government — might respond to the extremely fast-changing conditions,”
Raymond W. McDaniel, the chief executive of Moody’s, said in Congressional testimony in April.

Mr. Johnson’s testimony last week, however, cast a new light on that assertion.

Asked about the testimony, officials at Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s said they had worked hard to
assess an array of data on the mortgage market in 2006 and 2007. Michael Adler, a spokesman for
Moody’s, said the company “considers a range of information from various market participants about
factors that could affect the credit quality of the transactions we rate.”

“During this period, Moody’s did in fact observe the trend of loosening underwriting standards, reported
on it repeatedly in our research and commentary, and incorporated it into our credit analysis,” Mr. Adler
said.

Fitch said it was not aware of a meeting with Clayton.

It has been more than four years since Mr. Johnson and his colleagues at Clayton Holdings started noting
that disturbing numbers of mortgages did not meet the lending criteria promised to investors in
prospectuses used to market the securities.

Details of what Wall Street firms knew about the loans they were selling to investors, and when they knew
it, are still trickling out in regulatory actions and private lawsuits.

The Massachusetts attorney general recently accused Morgan Stanley of deceptive practices in its
financing of mortgage lenders during this period, saying that the firm had knowingly placed dubious
mortgages into securitized pools. Morgan Stanley settled with the attorney general in June and paid
$102 million. The facts in that case relied on Clayton reports of loan quality commissioned by Morgan
Stanley.

But until Mr. Johnson’s testimony last week, it was largely unknown that the ratings agencies had been
told that vast numbers of loans were being packaged as securities even though they failed to meet
underwriting standards.

Before assembling mortgage pools, brokerage firms hired independent analytical companies like Clayton
to sample loans and flag any that were problematic. Clayton was one of two large due diligence
companies that watched for loans that did not meet specifications like geographic diversity and the
loan-to-value ratios between a mortgage and the home that secured it, as well as the credit scores and
incomes of borrowers.

It was a trust-but-verify approach to a lucrative business, a way for Wall Street to look over the shoulders
of lenders whose operations they did not control but whose mortgages they were buying nonetheless.

According to testimony last week, from January 2006 to June 2007, Clayton reviewed 911,000 loans for
23 investment or commercial banks, including Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, UBS, Merrill
Lynch, Bear Stearns and Morgan Stanley.

The statistics provided by these samples, according to Mr. Johnson and Vicki Beal, a senior vice
president at Clayton who also testified before the inquiry commission, indicated that only 54 percent of
the loans met the lenders’ underwriting standards, regardless of how stringent or weak they were.

Some 28 percent of the loans sampled over the period were outright failures — that is, they were unable
to meet numerous underwriting standards and did not have positive factors that compensated for their
failings. And yet, 39 percent of these troubled loans still went into mortgage pools sold to investors during
the period, Clayton’s figures showed.

The results varied from firm to firm. At Citigroup, for example, 29 percent of the sample failed to meet
underwriting standards over the period, but almost a third of those substandard loans made it into
securities pools.

At Goldman Sachs, 19 percent of loans failed to make the grade in the final quarter of 2006 and the first
half of 2007, but 34 percent of those loans were still sold by the firm. Throughout this period, Goldman
Sachs was also betting against the mortgage market for its own account, according to documents
provided to government investigators.

About 17 percent of the loans financed by Deutsche Bank did not make the grade, but the firm still put
50 percent of them into the securities sold to investors, the Clayton report showed.

Deutsche Bank and Citigroup declined to comment.

A Goldman Sachs spokesman said the percentage of deficient loans that went into its pools was smaller
than Clayton’s average, indicating that the firm had done a better job than its peers.

Because these loan samples were provided to the Wall Street investment banks that commissioned
them, they could see throughout 2006 and into 2007 that the mortgages they were financing and selling
to investors were becoming increasingly sketchy.

The results of the Clayton analyses were not disclosed to investors buying the loan pools. Instead, Wall
Street firms used the information to pressure the lenders issuing the most troubled loans to accept a
lower price for them, according to prosecutors who have investigated these cases.

A more proper procedure, analysts said, would have been for lenders like these — New Century Financial
and Fremont Investment and Loan among them — to buy back the problem loans and replace them with
higher-quality mortgages. But because these companies did not have enough capital to do that, they
were happy to sell the troubled mortgages cheaply to the brokerage firms.

Since Wall Street firms were paying lower prices for the troubled loans, they could have passed along
those discounts to customers, reducing investor risk. But Wall Street charged investors the same high
prices associated with better-quality loans, thereby increasing their own profits on the problematic
securities, according to a law enforcement official and executives with Wall Street companies. To be
sure, the prospectuses detailing the types of loans in these pools contained brief warnings that some of
the mortgages might not meet stated underwriting standards. But few investors probably realized that
huge portions of the pools had failed to meet the benchmarks.

The Clayton figures took into account only small samples of the loan pools that were sold to investors.
The 911,000 loans Clayton analyzed over the 18-month period were roughly 10 percent of the total number
of mortgages in the securities it was contracted to review.

As a result, it is very likely that many of the loans that were not sampled also failed to meet underwriting
standards but were packaged into the securities anyway.
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Town of Weston, CT Financial Report (full copy at the Town Clerk's Office)
McGladrey & Pullen, L.L.P., C.P.A.
June 30, 2007

Link here to the Table of Contents (report in in the Town Clerk's Office), Independent Auditor's intro-
ductory statement; and the "narative overview" including tables on changes in Town debt, Capital Assets
and Dereciation, Net Assets and Changes in Net Assests, plus comments on how the Town is run.
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ELSEWHERE...

IMAGES OF ECONOMIC DISASTER, TITANIC SINKING AND "PERFORMANCE"
The coming self-destruction possibilities...pick an analogy.  The French Revolution?

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HISTORY:  Board of Finance agrees at May 13, 2004 meeting to go out for $21 million bonding early
(to lock in rates)...auditorium bonding to be in a separate issue, later;  O.P.E.B. link here.


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