Mayor’s Memo: Responses to FY20 Budget Questions


To: Otis Wheeler, Chair of the Ways and Means Subcommittee

CC: Greenfield City Council

From: William Martin, Mayor

Date: May 7, 2019

Re: FY2020 Budget Questions from Ways and Means

During Ways and Means meetings on the FY20 budget, several questions requiring follow-up or clarification were posed.

Below are responses to these questions. Attachments have been uploaded to the Council’s Google Drive.


When was the last time the operating budget was increased greater than 4.5%?
Please note that the Mayor’s proposed budget is not a 4.5% increase over the FY19. The budget has not increased more than 4.5% during Mayor Martin’s term.

Can we get the Pay Equity Opinion from the Attorney?
Please see attached letter from the City’s Attorney’s Office.

What authority does the Council have to cut overall expenses that would result in insufficient funds for a contract that the Mayor has previously signed, but the Council has not voted on? And what violation would the City be in for breaking the contract?
City contracts are all created for a purpose. They support City services and operations.

Chapter 5-6 of the City Charter and Massachusetts General Laws, Section 32 of Chapter 44 govern the budget process. “The city council may by majority vote make appropriations for the purposes recommended and may reduce or reject any amount recommended in the annual budget.” Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 30B, section 12, gives the procurement officer ability to enter into contracts not “exceeding three years” and states “Payment and performance obligations for succeeding fiscal years shall depend on the availability and appropriation of funds.” Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 40, Section 2: “A town may in its corporate capacity sue and be sued by its name, and may appoint necessary agents therefor.”

Can we have a summary of Mayor/Executive/Procurement and staffing chart to understand where staffing is moving?

July 1, 2019 Staffing
o Mayor’s Office - 1.5 people
o Executive Administration - 1 person
o Procurement - 2 people
January 1, 2020 Staffing
o Mayor’s Office - 1.5 people
o Executive Administration - 0 people
o Procurement - 2 people

Does this fall under Section 6-1 Charter - organizational changes?
There is no organizational change in this plan; it is reverting to the preexisting staffing levels.

Can we formalize Kelly methodology to pick an auditor?
The recommendation of Lane Kelly pertained to the change in auditors for FY18, as the Audit had already begun and recommended implementing new auditors for FY19. The Council already made the decision to not follow Director Kelly’s recommendation. Please see my veto message of October 12, 2018.

Per section 5-11, the Council shall award an independent audit on or before September 15. As the Audit is required for the Retirement System and must be completed by the end of December, waiting until September to award a contract is not recommended. Previously, contracts for the audit were signed in June. We would encourage the Council to work with the Clerk and the Procurement Office as soon as possible to identify an independent audit contractor. Please note that this process can take up to six weeks.

Why the increase in Property Assessment line?
We have the same staffing positions in the Assessors Office.

The Mayor recognized that the City needed more expertise and professional representation to maintain a compliant and accurate portfolio, therefore, the City went out to bid for an expanded scope of specialized services. The previous vendor did not apply, and RRG was the responsive bidder. Additional compliance services provided by RRG includes: representation at the Appellate Tax Board; assistance to the Board of Assessors in accurately completing Department of Revenue forms; preparing and attending tax rate setting; providing technical assistance, training, and support to the Assistant Assessor; advise on PILOT and TIF/STA agreements; perform a 100% commercial revaluation; and perform analysis and review of pertinent sales information each year that will affect the five year sales evaluation. These expanded services cost more, however they protect the City from liabilities and improve the accuracy of the data.

What is the cost of the Health Insurance per employee on average?
The Town has over 550 employees who elect Health Insurance, with many different plans offered. At a budget of $6,158,414, that averages approximately $11,197.12 per employee. See 2020 Health Insurance Rate Sheet for specific costs associated with each plan.

What % of OPEB are we funded?
See GASB 45 and GASB 74 Disclosure Report.

Will you send us a dedicated revenue order for Marijuana tax?
In February, I sent the Council a memo outlining my intent to dedicate Marijuana tax revenues. I requested the Council’s input on what funds would benefit most from this new revenue stream. I heard from one Councilor about dedicating revenues to OPEB. We’re working to write an order to submit to Council.

Why do you think you need one employee in Procurement in FY21 when you plan to have two for FY20?
The procurement office was set up in the summer of 2018, following the retirement of Lane Kelly. We’ve had two employees staffing that department as it has ramped up. They have set up a new office; developed standard operating procedures for the Office and the City; established new procedures to ensure conformity with MGL and City policies; worked to control cross-department purchases; and are working with Accounting on implementing electronic workflow through the MUNIS procurement module. All while managing the RFPs/RFQs/IFBs across the City. This work is extensive and requires two people. I have funded two positions in that office through FY20.

During the budget meeting, I conjectured that by the time the FY21 budget is crafted, the MUNIS module may be implemented and the other intensive work to set up the office and establish purchasing controls may result in the ability to reduce this department to one position. Clearly, this will be up to the Mayor crafting the FY21 budget and these realizations may or may not occur.

How does the Fire Department manage decontamination?
The current station's apparatus floor is located in the center of the building with the living quarters above the apparatus floor. We have taken steps to place vapor seals around the doors going from the apparatus floor. We are currently evaluating methods to seal the pole holes from vapor penetration.

We have limited decon facilities and do not have a current decon room. We have a sink located off the apparatus floor. We do have procedures for when a truck comes back from a fire to limit the amount of contaminant exposure and we do have cleaning procedures for gear. Currently, however, there is no infrastructure to have a dedicated decontamination area.

The new station, if built, will separate the apparatus floor from the rest of the building and it will also have its own decon room. All support for the firefighters will be off the apparatus floor. The turnout gear will have a locker room attached to the apparatus floor. Currently, turnout gear is stored on the apparatus floor.

Can you provide the order from the Office of Dam Safety that forces us to do this?
• Please see attached December 10, 2018 letter from William C. Salomaa, Director of the Office of Dam Safety ordering Emergency Action Plans to be completed by December 31, 2019 for the Upper Glen Reservoir Dam, the Pumping Station Dam, and the Greenfield Electric Light & Power Dam.
• Related to the Wiley-Russell Dam, please see attached January 5, 2015 letter from John Murray, Commissioner of DCR, Office of Dam Safety reclassification of the dam and engineering report by Fuss & O’Neil.

What's the consequence of not making the Office of Dam Safety engineering studies on time?
In accordance with M.G.L. c. 253 s. 47 and Office of Dam Safety 302 CMR 10.15 fines can be issued up to $5,000 per offence per day.

Do the phones and iPad come with the plan - and how do other departments pay for their equipment?
Line item 01004110.5341 was budgeted $4,800. It is the item in question. This item includes:
• Trenching and conduit from 189 Wells to 201 Wells in order to hook up the 201 Wells building to GCET, so the City can stop paying a private company for internet at 201 Wells.
• Replacing the phone system at 201 Wells. The current phone system is obsolete and dysfunctional.
Director Fleury will be at Ways and Means on Thursday and can answer questions regarding the policies for replacing cell phones and ipads.

What's the Planning Board going to do if we don't put up the fence?
Have we come to the point of resisting ourselves? We require all businesses and residents to follow the Planning Board’s requirements. The insinuation that the City is going to ignore its own Planning Board is a dangerous precedent. The Planning Board could request that the Code Enforcement Official issue an enforcement letter. If the enforcement letter is ignored, fines could be issued.

Why did we increase the Traffic salary line in FY19?
We did not increase the Traffic salary line in FY19. In FY16, there was $80,381 spent on salaries in the 01004250.5111 account. In FY17, the line was budgeted for two employees at $82,790 and $73,632 was expended. In FY18, the line was again budgeted for two employees at $81,805, however one employee was injured and not paid out of this line item, therefore only $49,590 was expended in FY18. In FY19, the line was again budgeted for two employees; however we’ve been able to cover the responsibilities of this division with one employee. Therefore, this line is only funds one employee for FY20.

Since the Mayoral form of Government, how many contracts have we paid 2-year retros on?
Previously, the City only paid 1 year of retros, however due to a ruling, the City has to pay full retros. Therefore, there's little incentive to end negotiations.

How often do water/sewer or general fund employees perform services not in the department they are paid out of?
Employees are cross-trained to reduce the total number of staff to cover for absences. Many skills are applicable across the General Fund/Water/Sewer departments and we leverage these as needed to complete the work for the City. As long as we know, this has been the practice of the DPW.

How much is the increase of two employees in waste collections vs. contractual increases?
$82,600.There are no new positions here. The DPW Director built the FY20 budget accounting for each employee in the DPW. A key punch error in the FY19 budget may have been the issue here. No budget information was left behind by previous Director, as two other accounts ending in 5111 cover the 5111 in Solid Waste.

What's the repercussion from not repairing the Wiley Russell Dam? Are there fines?
See above reference to Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and Office of Dam Safety (ODS).

What is the chapter 90 list?
See attached.

What forces the City to fix I&I?
Since May 11, 2016, the City has been under an Administrative Consent Order with Penalty, ACOP-WE-16-1N001, for noncompliance at the Greenfield WPCF and Sewer Collection System. See attached.
• Please note Section 8.D.1: “Respondent shall review its sewer rates yearly to determine feasible funding mechanisms in order to perform the requirements of this Consent Order. The identified funding mechanisms shall be implemented to assure all work associated with this Consent Order is funded.”
Not complying with consent orders opens the City up for liability and possible Federal fines and penalties.

What communities have been fined for I&I?
From January 2019 to March 2019 DEP issued fines to the City of Northampton, the Town of Dalton, and the Ashfield Water District.

Attached Files:

Calendar of Events
Thu, Feb 2, 2023, 6:00 pm
Planning Board Meeting -- CANCELLED
Thu, Feb 2, 2023, 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm
John Zon Community Center, 35 Pleasant Street
Fri, Feb 3, 2023, 9:00 am - 10:00 am
Remote Only
Posted to: Public Schools