FY 2015 Interim and One Year Goals

Last updated on 12/15/15. The following items were updated: 
  • A3, A4, A6a, A6c, A6e
  • B5, B8, B9, B10
Previously updated on 10/22/15. The following items were updated: 
  • A2, A3, A4, A5, A6a, A6c, A6e
  • B1, B2, B8
Previously updated on 5/13/15. The following items were updated:

  • A1, A2, A3, A6a, A6c, A6e
  • B1, B2, B3,  B6, B7
Previously updated on 2/23/15. The following items were updated:
  • A1, A3, A6b, A6c, A6d
  • B1, B7
A. Improve the Town’s Fiscal Stability and overall Financial Administration:
1. Submission of the FY 2016 Budget Message and Budget Preparation using best practices.

Under the changes made in the new Town Charter, the Town Administrator shall request and receive from all town agencies, officers and multiple member bodies the estimated revenues for the preparation of the FY 2016 town budget (Charter: Section 6-4-a-d.).  After consultation with the Town Administrator and the Finance Committee, a policy statement on the upcoming budget shall be issued by the Board of Selectmen.  Subsequently, the Town Administrator shall submit a comprehensive budget and accompanying budget message to the Board of Selectmen and Finance Committee.  Moreover, I will follow the provisions of the Charter and the following budget principles and purposes:

BUDGETING PRINCIPLES AND PURPOSES

a) Policy Planning: considering the alternative policy  choices and relative benefits and costs of these choices in relation to the financial resources available;

b) Resource Allocation:  making the decisions which allocate certain levels of funding to each public policy goal established in the policy planning process;

c) Management Control:  enhancing the efficient use of dollars by establishing, monitoring and enforcing productivity and performance goals;

d) Fiscal Control:  ensuring the legality of amounts and purposes of expenditures in relation to the budget by maintaining expenditure controls and financial reporting mechanisms.
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This item has been completed.  THE RESULT: On Monday May 4, 2015 at our Annual Town Meeting the FY 2016 Operating and Capital budgets were unanimously approved.   (1) The Town Administrator coordinated a hearings schedule for all members of the Leadership Team, Departments and Boards, Commissions and Committees with Melissa Tzanoudakis, Chair of the Finance and Advisory Committee.  Please see the listing of Finance Committee Meetings with Members of our Leadership Team.

FY 2016 Finance Committee Budget Schedule

Date Department/Board/Commission/Committee

January 21, 2015 at 7:15 PM

Conservation Commission

Emergency Management

Appeals

Building Dept.

Inspectors (Gas, Plumbing, Wire)

Sealer- Weights/Measure


January 29, 2015 at 7:15 PM

Planning—7:15pm

Council on Aging--7:30pm (Moved to March 5th)

Veterans—7:45pm

Town Clerk—8:00PM

Elections—8:15PM

Registration—8:30PM

Summer Playground—8:45PM(Moved to March 5th)

Community Center—9:00PM (Moved to March 5th)

Library—9:15PM

February 5, 2015 at 7:15 PM

Police—7:15pm

Fire—7:45pm

Ambulance—8:15pm

Communications—8:30pm

Central Telecom—8:45pm


February 12, 2015 at 7:15 PM

Treasurer/Collector—7:15pm

Tax Title—7:30pm

Postage—7:45pm

Town Hall—7:55pm

Selectman—8:05pm

Town Administrator—8:15pm

Legal—8:25pm

Personnel Board—8:35pm

Info Systems—8:50pm

Assessors—8:50pm

GIS—9:05pm

Constables—9:15pm

Street Lights—9:20pm

Memorial Day—9:25pm

Animal Control—9:35pm

Belmont Springs—9:45pm

General II—9:50pm

General III—10:00pm

Short Term Interest—10:10pm

Benefits—10:20pm

General Insurance—10:30pm

Finance Committee—10:40pm

Accounting—10:50pm


2. Implement a “Zero Based Budgeting” program beginning in FY 2015 (Mid-Fiscal Year 2nd-4th Quarters as part of the FY 2016 budget planning process) and for the FY 2016 budget cycle.
Implement a comprehensive “Zero Based Budgeting” action plan that is inclusive with input from all Department Heads. Zero-based budgeting is an approach to planning and decision-making that reverses the working process of traditional budgeting. In traditional incremental budgeting (Historic Budgeting), departmental managers justify only variances versus past years, based on the assumption that the "baseline" is automatically approved. By contrast, in zero-based budgeting, every line item of the budget must be approved, rather than only changes.  Zero-based budgeting requires the budget request be re-evaluated thoroughly, starting from the zero-base. This process is independent of whether the total budget or specific line items are increasing or decreasing and can, if used effectively, motivate a “trust factor” in the end.


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This item has been completed.  THE RESULT:  (1) As part of the FY 2016 budget development, a comprehensive and detailed analysis of all line item appropriations has been initiated.  This includes, “labor related costs, supplies and expenses, contracts and capital needs. This process was completed in a timely manner and the FY 2016 budget passed by unanimous vote at our Annual Town Meeting on May 4, 2015.
3. Draft a “Request for Proposals” (RFP) for the “Bulk Tax Lien” program with the help of the Treasurer/Collector (Outstanding liens at $346,000 as of the date of this report).  Evaluate and make recommendations on a program to use these one-time funds to the Board of Selectmen.
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This item has been completed.  THE RESULT: (1) I have been working closely with Debbie Nutter, our Treasurer/Collector to develop a comprehensive plan for outstanding delinquent tax properties and we are drafting a “Request for Proposals” (RFP) for the “Bulk Tax Lien” program.  We have a template draft “Request for Proposals” (RFP) that was used by the Town of Methuen and we are tailoring it to meet our needs. Please note that the Town Tax Collector & Treasurer collected $671,000 from December 1, 2014 through September 1, 2015.  This collections program has been a huge success!! Last, the refinancing of our long term debt in August of 2015 resulted in a savings of $250,000.  These three actions were top priorities and saved the town $1,121,000 in my year’s tenure as Town Administrator.  (TO BE COMPLETED BY MARCH 15, 2015): COMPLETED DECEMBER 14, 2015
4. Pursue options available to the Town that maximize the reuse of buildings and property in the most strategic and financially advantageous manner (Charter: Section 4-2-g & i).
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This item has been Completed.  THE RESULT: The Town Administration has worked to encourage the reuse of the Peter Fitzpatrick School.  This effort has centered upon the highest and best use in conjunction with the North Middlesex Regional School District Offices.  In addition, I have worked cooperatively with local realtors and developers to explore the reuse under existing zoning code. Please be advised that I met with Mr. Ted Carmen, President of Concord Square Planning & Development, Inc. of Boston and Superintendent Joan Landers to review the Peter Fitzpatrick school buildings.  We met and completed a site tour of the buildings and facilities.  This planning process was funded by Article 6 of the Fall Special Town Meeting that passed in October 2014.  This program includes the following parcels: the Peter Fitzpatrick School, 90 Park Street and Brookline Street properties.  A preliminary appraisal and assessment plan is being developed.  An interim report has been prepared by these professional planners and was presented to the Board of Selectmen on December 14, 2015. COMPLETED DECEMBER 14, 2015  
5. Certify the Town’s Free Cash and make recommendations along with the Town Accountant to the Board of Selectmen for the use of these funds. 

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This item has been Completed.  THE RESULT:  (1) On January 13, 2015, the Massachusetts Department of Revenue certified the Town of Pepperell’s Free Cash. (2) In addition the Town submitted and received State Department of Revenue certification of FY 2015 “free cash” as listed below from the report.
“I hereby certify that the amount of available funds or "free cash" as of July 1, 2015 for the Town of Pepperell is:

General Fund $1,298,390
Water Enterprise Fund $1,039,620
Sewer Enterprise Fund $1,392,688
Transfer Station Enterprise Fund $151,722



This certification is in accordance with the provisions of G. L. Chapter 59, §23, as amended.”  The certification for FY 2015 is the earliest in many years and assisted the town move forward in our fiscal affairs.
6. Work to implement “Opportunities for the Future” that will maximize new revenues and bring efficiencies to various Town programs. The Town Administrator has designed and developed a series of new policies and creative programs aimed at increasing revenues and closely monitoring expenditures.  Key components selected are as follows:

a) Sponsor an Economic Development Summit and Adopt “New Economic Development Programs” designed to invigorate the local economy by following the Committee’s recommendations coupled with new tools recently passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor as “An Act to Promote Economic Growth in the Commonwealth”.  The primary purpose will be to support the initiatives of the Economic Development Advisory Committee and its mission coupled with the Board of Selectmen.  This includes supporting new and expanding businesses with available Federal, State and Local economic development tools that create jobs and stimulate local property tax values and base.
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This item has been Completed.  THE RESULT:  (1) I met with the Economic Development Advisory Committee on December 10, 2014 to ascertain a baseline of economic development activity.  Subsequently, on January 20, 2015 I attended the regional “Economic Development Incentive Program Informational Session with Roland Nutter and Chet Babineau of the Economic Development Advisory Committee.  This was an important asset inventory of new tools for municipalities, such as Pepperell.  In addition, I seized the opportunity to promote the development of our new economic development program by calling into WCAP of Lowell on January 7, 2015.  THE RESULT: COMPLETED (1) This item has been completed, as the town held a “stakeholders economic development summit on Thursday September 17, 2015 at the Lawrence Library.  This summit covered a myriad of economic matters and was well attended by the Pepperell business, educational and civic leaders. In addition, a follow up meeting was conducted on December 10, 2015 and a report was issued by Professor Barry Bluestein of Northeastern University.   (TO BE COMPLETED BY DECEMBER 15, 2015) COMPLETED DECEMBER 14, 2015
 b) Aggressively seek out new grant funding opportunities that will take fiscal pressure off of the local tax base (Charter: Section 4-2-q.).
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This item has been partially completed.  THE RESULT:  The Town Administration has secured assistance from the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office through the Community Work Program.  This program is designed to use “free” labor for community projects, such as the remodeling of the Board of Health Office and Conference Room B. at Town Hall.  The Town saved approximately $3,000 in moving these offices, painting and preparing for VCT tile installation.  Under this program, the Town is responsible for tools, supplies and coffee/donuts and lunch for the work crews.  In addition, the Town Administration is working to implement a similar program to clear fire hydrants from snow and ice.  The design of the program is underway.
 c) Review “Green Community” grant funding to ascertain the prospect of making Pepperell a “Green Community”.  Make recommendations for the use of these grant funds to the Board of Selectmen.
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This item has been Completed.  THE RESULT:  On Monday May 4, 2015 at our Annual Town Meeting, the body unanimously approved Article #12, the Stretch Energy Code.  We are working to finalize the Town’s application to the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources for this new grant program.  We anticipate an initial grant of $150,000.  Background information includes: (1) I hosted a “Green Communities Development” meeting with Kelly Brown Regional Coordinator for the Green Communities Division of DOER and Danielle Mucciarone, Energy Director for the North Middlesex Council of Governments (NMCOG) along with Stephen Themelis, Board of Selectmen on January 14, 2015.  The Town attained various documents, including a draft template article, power point presentations and a legal opinion from a neighboring community.  A presentation is scheduled for the Board of Selectmen on April 6, 2015.  Fact finding will continue. The Board of Selectmen adopted the Green Communities program, including an Energy Reduction Plan, a budget to be used for the initial grant award and various program components on September 28, 2015.  Subsequently, the Town Administration will make a formal application on October 20, 2015.  Grant funding in the amount of $150,000 is anticipated later this fall/winter.  Additionally, I have prepared a log for you. “Please see the “Executive Summary of the Year’s Grants and Planned Savings Log below”: 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY OF GRANTS & PLANNED SAVINGS LOG

FY 2015-2016

Grant Opportunity:

Status:

Estimated Amount:

State Grants (8 total)

Completed

$656,753

Federal Grants (1 total)

Completed

  $48,055

MMA - MIIA

Completed

  $15,000

FEMA – MIIA Library Restoration

Completed

$163,000

State Green Communities

(1 total)

Completed – Pending Award

$150,000

FEMA – STORM DISASTER RELIEF

(1 total)

Completed – Pending Award

$100,000

GIFTS & DONATIONS

Completed – Pending Award

$10,000

TOTAL GRANTS

$1,142,808

TAX RECOVERY & REFINANCING PLAN

Completed

$1,121,000

GRAND TOTAL

$2,263,808

 d) Pursue the Community Innovation Challenge Grant Program (Based on the Availability of Funding).  Survey area prospects (e.g. towns, regional school district) for the inclusion in this program.
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PLEASE NOTE: THIS PROGRAM WAS ELIMINATED BY THE STATE.  FUTURE FUNDING MAY BE AVAILABLE IN THE FY 2016 STATE BUDGET.
 e) Work with the Town Accountant and Fiscal Staff to close FY 2015 and provide supporting documentation to the outside independent auditing firm. 

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This item has been substantially completed.  THE RESULT: The field audit work for FY 2014 is complete and draft financial statements and management letter are in process.  Please be advised that closing instructions have been put in place for all Departments and a FY 2015 Year End Closing Plan is underway. This item has been completed and we have a new audit cycle in place.  This item has been completed and we have a new audit cycle in place. TO BE COMPLETED BY DECEMBER 15, 2015)THE RESULT: COMPLETED DECEMBER 14, 2015
B. Review the organizational effectiveness of Town operations and use of resources and make administrative adjustments that improve the delivery of services to our residents:
1. Work to enhance the Town’s website.  These efforts will be centered on improved communication with all Town Departments, Boards, Commissions, Committees and private citizens.  It is my intention to help write and promote “Town Topics” in a newsletter format that emphasizes important matters in Town.  Also, I will encourage various “Chair’s Reports” of our Boards, Commissions and Committees for posting on our website.  Also, these new reports will be developed and will provide more information to the public (Charter: Section 4-2-p).

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This item has been completed. THE RESULT:  (1) A new segment of the website has been designed, developed and implemented as of December 22, 2014.  A “Volunteers Page entitled Resident Request for Appointment to Volunteer Board or Committee” that outlines the need for filling various positions on Boards, Commissions and Committees has been completed.  This segment provides background for the prospective applicant to list: experience or special skills, including volunteering, social services and business; time availability or number of hours per week, and any other skill that the applicant may have.  In addition, we unveiled a new cable TV program entitled “Your Town Administrators Report” in early January 2015.  This report is aimed at bringing key policy and program issues directly to the residents of Pepperell.  As of the publishing of this report, a total of nine (9) cable programs (an average of one show per month) have been produced and are streaming on our website.

Moreover, on Tuesday May 12, 2015, a premier of the first “YouTube” broadcast was made and placed on air as an additional venue to get important information out to the residents of Pepperell.  Please see below:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlVLjs42bos

2. Set reasonable and measurable goals and objectives with Department Heads and perform an annual employee performance review. The annual employee performance review is estimated to be completed by the end of October 2015 (Charter: Section 4-2-c.).   


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Actually, due to contract timelines, I have begun the annual employee performance review for the Town Accountant and Police Chief in May 2015.  In addition, a personnel staffing plan will be maintained and kept on file.  Moreover, I began goal setting meetings with Staff under this new provision of the Charter in June of 2015.  This process is complete.


3. Develop and produce regular financial and administrative updates to the Board of Selectmen that will culminate in an “Annual State of the Town” report to the Board of Selectmen that illustrates attainment of Town Administrator’s goals.  This report will be made available to the general public (Charter: Section 4-2-e.).  
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This item has been completed. THE RESULT:  (1) The Town Administrator’s report is posted on the Town’s website; and (2) a cable TV program entitled “The Town Administrator’s Report” that showcases key policies and programs authorized by the Board of Selectmen is under development.  Additionally, this new program is on the Leadership Team agenda for our meeting scheduled for Tuesday January 13, 2015. The first taping of the “The Town Administrator’s Report was completed on Friday January 16, 2015. This series is ongoing as of the publication of this report.   

 (A THREE MONTH REPORT TO BE COMPLETED BY MARCH 15, 2015) 

4. Work with the Chief of Police to assess the next steps and to begin planning for pursuing full Police Department accreditation from the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission.  

 (ONGOING ONE YEAR GOAL) 

5. Monitor closely all employee fringe benefits, especially health care costs and develop a plan to conduct a “Health Care Audit”. 
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This item has been completed. THE RESULT:   
Under the new health care law in Massachusetts, it is required that all municipal employees be audited for accuracy of records on at least a two (2) year basis.  (ONGOING ONE YEAR GOAL) (TO BE COMPLETED BY DECEMBER 15, 2015)  THE RESULT: COMPLETED DECEMBER 14, 2015



6. Review all utilities for the potential for savings.  Contract to reduce costs of Town telecommunications (Charter: Section 4-2-a.).  

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This item has been completed. THE RESULT:   A contract was initiated with the Chambers Group and the cutover has been completed as of December 19, 2014.  A “Cost Savings” report is under development. We continue to work closely on telecommunications savings. 
7. Develop a plan to join the State of Massachusetts “COMMBUYS” program. This new program connects business with government at the State and Local level and promotes easy online purchases from state certified vendors (Charter: Section 4-2-a.).
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This item has been completed. THE RESULT:   The Town Administrator initiated program contact with Jennifer Forsey, a key member of the COMMBUYS Enablement Team that culminated with the registration of the Town of Pepperell on February 12, 2015.The Town Administrator has been designated at the “Organization Administrator” (OA) and training sessions are in the process of being scheduled. Also, the training module was completed on Tuesday March 31, 2015


8. Vigorously pursue extra insurance credits through the Massachusetts Municipal Association (MIIA) (Charter: Section 4-2-a.).  
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This item has been completed.  THE RESULT:  (1) The Town has undertaken a review of all insurance programs with the Massachusetts Municipal Association’s MIIA.  This includes a cost analysis of the property and casualty coverage of all Town properties and buildings.  This new insurance review program is free. On January 20, 2015 the Town hosted an “Insurance Review Team” at Town Hall.  This Team conducted a site tour of all municipal buildings.  In addition, On January 14, 2015, Peggy Mazzola and I met with Charles Winn, our the Massachusetts Municipal Association’s MIIA Regional Representative on a vast array of insurance matters, including property and casualty coverage, public safety coverage and automobile coverage.  

In addition, we have met with MIIA on an ongoing basis and we have earned substantial savings.
(TO BE COMPLETED BY DECEMBER 15, 2015) THE RESULT: COMPLETED DECEMBER 14, 2015
9. Attain re-certification as a Massachusetts Certified Public Procurement Officer. I was certified in 2003 in State Contracting and will endeavor to be re-certified (Charter: Section 4-2-k).  
I have specific knowledge and understanding of this certification and I am working on an update.  (ONGOING ONE YEAR GOAL THAT IS IN PROCESS)
10. Work closely with the Board of Selectmen and the Northeast Municipal Gas Pipeline Coalition to seek out alternative routing of the pipeline and/or other options.  
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This item has been completed. THE RESULT: I was proud to represent the Coalition with Stephen Themelis, Chairman of the Board of Selectmen at the public hearing held by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in the town of Dracut on August 11, 2015.  The Board of Selectmen unanimously approved a Resolution to be an Intervenor in this federal process on August 10, 2015.  Subsequently, the Board authorized the Town as an Intervenor on December 14, 2015.   (ONGOING ONE YEAR GOAL) THE RESULT: COMPLETED DECEMBER 14, 2015