NEWBURY — The Capital Planning Committee seeks to get the town's policies on budget and debt in sync.
At a meeting with selectmen on Tuesday, Chairman Bob Connors of the CPC identified two pages of recommended policies contained in the first annual CPC report, and stressed the importance of having spending and acquisition of debt governed by one cohesive policy through all town departments.
Selectmen Chairman Joe Story agreed to add a discussion on the policy recommendations to the board's next meeting on April 10.
Items listed by the CPC as recommended budget policies include:
Making all capital improvements in accordance with an adopted capital improvement program
Developing and annually updating a multiyear plan for capital improvements
Enacting an annual capital budget based on the capital plan with future expenditures necessitated by changes to population, real estate development or the town's economic base calculated and included in the budget projections
Coordinating the capital budget with the operating budget and making sure anticipated operating costs related to new capital improvements are projected and included in the operating budget forecast
Ensuring intergovernmental assistance will only be used to finance capital improvements consistent with the established plan and priorities and that operating and maintenance costs are included in budget forecasts
Maintaining assets at a level that protects the town's capital investment and minimizes future maintenance and replacement costs.
Developing a maintenance and replacement schedule based on projected equipment needs over the next several years that are updated annually
Identifying potential costs and funding sources for each capital project proposal submitted for Town Meeting approval
Determining the least costly financing method for all new projects
Recommended policies governing debt include:
Confining long-term borrowing to capital improvements or projects that can't be financed from current revenues
Paying back bonds issued on capital projects within the expected useful life of the project
Making a down payment of the total project costs from current revenues on all debt-financed projects
Determining total debt service for general obligation debt
Keeping general-obligation debt within the limits of what's provided in state statues
Using special assessment, revenues or other self-supporting bonds when possible.
Not using long-term debt for current operations
Retiring bond anticipation debt within six months after the project is completed
Maintaining good communications with bond rating agencies about the town's financial conditions and providing full disclosure on every financial report and bond prospectus
Story called the CPC report "a road map" that will help the town to "plan ahead instead of just react." It is available at www.townofnewbury.org and will be presented to voters at the Annual Town Meeting on May 22.
In other business, the board held a public hearing on National Grid's plans to construct a line of underground electric conduits under and across Rolfe's Lane to Wilshire Road in order to service eight new homes. Public safety officials and the water department will be notified. Work should begin within a couple weeks.
Selectmen agreed to schedule a public hearing on acceptance of Colby Lane on April 10. Selectman Chuck Bear said input from the fire chief is needed before he can vote to approve bringing it to Town Meeting floor.
The Insurance Advisory Committee will be reactivated at the request of Town Administrator Tracy Blais. The five-member board will discuss possible plan design changes.
Planner Martha Taylor discussed plans to update the town's Hazard Mitigation plan with the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission, effective 2013-2018, in order to remain viable to receive Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency grants. Taylor also stressed the need for residents to review new FEMA flood maps to make sure they have proper insurance before the maps go into effect on July 3. Acting now would grandfather in some properties and help preserve their market values. The new maps are available for review in the Newbury Conservation Office or via the Conservation Commission link at www.townofnewbury.org.
Selectmen approved a request to have live music inside at the Plum Island Beachcoma on April 20 from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. in celebration of Earth Day. The evening aims to raise money for the PI Beautification Fund.
A license for Beauty, Bait, and Grooming for Karen's Dog Grooming of Plum Island, 49 Northern Blvd., was renewed, and a new business license was granted to Unrestricted Motorsports and Tuning, 61 Main St.
Bill Wendt was appointed as a member of the Recreation Committee, Carol Larocque was nominated as inspector of animals for Mass. Division of Animal Health, and Matthew Lipinski was named associate animal control officer.