TOWN OF TOLLAND DISCUSSION ON PLANNING & COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT, GENERAL GOVERNMENT AND FINANCE FY 2010-2011 BUDGETS March 25, 2010 PLANNING & COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT RESPONSIBILITIES PLANNING & COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT – 1 Director, 1 Building Official, 1 Zoning Officer/Inland Wetland Agent, 1.8 Secretaries (0.8 secretarial position vacant – 0.3 temp. filling in) Building Department Plan Reviews The Building Official performs plan reviews of all permit applications that are accompanied by plans and/or specifications and evaluates the structure, occupancy, means of egress, life safety, accessibility, plumbing, electrical and mechanical systems. If the plans are not found to be in compliance with the State Building Code, the Building Official notifies the applicant in writing of the necessary changes or additional information needed. The State of Connecticut mandates that plan reviews are performed and applicants are notified within 30 days of the results. RESPONSIBILITIES Permit Issuance Permit applications are submitted and evaluated by the Building Official for complete and accurate information and as well as licenses and are processed by the secretarial staff by routing the permits for sign-offs by all necessary staff (tax, health, zoning, planning, engineering, etc.) and entering data into database, processing fees, contacting applicant and filing permits. Inspections The Building Official performs and schedules inspections and site visits of all ongoing construction projects in Town, from footings to Certificates of Occupancy. Inspection requests are consistently responded to within a 24 hour period. Secretaries schedule the majority of inspections. RESPONSIBILITIES Certificate of Use or Occupancy A final inspection evaluation is performed by the Building Official on all projects to assure substantial Code compliance. The Building Official also coordinates with the applicants, contractors, and design professionals to verify that all of the required construction documents have been submitted and any changes noted and approved. Secretaries coordinate all staff inspections and prepare CO documents. Complaints/Inquiries The Building Department responds to complaints regarding illegal use and/or occupancy, as well as work performed without required permits or town approvals. We also receive inquiries regarding code questions and requirements for updating existing structures. RESPONSIBILITIES Permit Follow-up Last year we determined that approximately 1500 addresses in town had open/outstanding permits including swimming pools and other projects with public safety implications. We contact the owners of the property by letter, phone call or site visit, to ensure code compliance and attempt to close out permits. Support The Building Official provides technical support pertaining to the adopted code to other town departments, boards and commissions such as the Energy Task Force, as well as taxpayers and contractors. RESPONSIBILITIES Planning & Zoning Commission The Planning Director acts as technical advisor to the Planning & Zoning Commission on the: • Update of the Plan of Conservation & Development. • Development of Zoning & Subdivision Regulations and Low Impact Development Design Manual. • Subdivision, Special Permit and Site Plan applications. • Coordinates staff reviews and pre-application meeting with engineers and developers. RESPONSIBILITIES • Coordinates review of Site Analysis Plans and any site walks by Conservation and Wetlands Commissions. • Assembles staff reviews in a memo for the PZC regarding drainage, road design, vegetation, Open Space, architecture, landscaping, compliance with regulations and density. • Collect bonds for performance and maintenance of public infrastructure. • Reviews for filing on the Land Records all final plan mylars, conservation and drainage easements and deeds. • Coordinates technical data for appeals of PZC decisions to Superior Court. • Serves as a resource to the business community: “First Stop” for information to potential and existing businesses and coordinates with Economic Development Commission. RESPONSIBILITIES Open Space Preservation Grants The Planning Director identifies grant funding assistance for open space/farmland acquisition, compiles grants and administers funding. Geographic Information System (GIS-computer mapping) Provide GIS computer mapping for the Town for Capital Projects, Open Space grants, Plan of Conservation and Development, Land Acquisition, Conservation Commission, Assessor’s Tax Maps, permits and Pavement Management Program. The Planning Director administers the program, coordinates upgrades and training and works with the consultant on new data and website hosting. The Zoning/Wetlands Agent produces maps, coordinates the receipt of new digital data, provides GIS to town consultants and government agencies, creates new layers and uses GPS unit to map fire hydrants and other infrastructure. RESPONSIBILITIES Inland Wetlands & Watercourses Commission The Inland Wetlands & Watercourses Commission regulates activities within and around wetlands through the issuance of permits, enforcement of regulations and public education programs to reduce the impacts on the Town’s wetlands and watercourses. The Zoning/Wetlands Agent provides administrative and technical assistance to the Wetlands Commission, inspect sites with pending applications, to monitor activities that have active permits and for enforcement purposes, coordinates technical data for appeals of decisions, testifies in court as needed and keeps current on State Statutes. Zoning Board of Appeals Hears petitions from property owners seeking relief from a strict interpretation of the Zoning Regulations, hears appeals from any order, requirement or decision made by the Zoning Enforcement Officer and approves Certificates of Location for motor vehicle sales and service. RESPONSIBILITIES The Zoning/Wetlands Agent acts as technical advisor to the ZBA: and keeps current on all applicable State Statutes; assists applicants with preparation of plot plans, etc; prepares all legal documents, and maintains a comprehensive file on all applications. Zoning Enforcement The Wetlands/Zoning Agent enforces the Zoning Regulations and Erosion and Sedimentation control measures with some assistance from the Planning Director for commercial/industrial properties. Reviews all building/Zoning Permits for compliance with Zoning Regulations and inspects final construction. Investigates complaints and follows up with Notices of Violation, Cease Desist Orders citations or fines, involvement of the Town Attorney and Superior Court testimony if required. Inspect and enforce erosion and sedimentation control measures. Research title and history on Land Records to determine non-conforming status. RESPONSIBILITIES Eastern Highlands Health District (EHHD) The mission of the Eastern Highlands Health District (EHHD) is to preserve public health through the prevention of illness and promotion of wellness within its local communities through enforcing state and local health regulations; monitoring the health status of the community; informing and educating citizens on health issues; operating programs that support community health efforts; and collaborating with other public health partners in pursuit of our common goal. EHHD staff are located in the Development office. They monitor wells, septic systems, all new construction, proposed subdivisions, soil testing, and food establishments. Secretarial support is provided by the Development office secretaries. BUDGET Planning & Community Development Accomplishments Building Inspection Services • Closed out a very large number of “open” permits including pools, which could cause a public safety concern. Letters were sent to property owners and inspections conducted to ensure compliance with codes and safety. • Conducted plan review and permit issuance of entire Star Hill Athletic Center as well as worked with other owners and contractors to assist them in meeting their very aggressive timeline for opening prior to the winter months. • Worked with Fire Marshal and State Building Official to conduct extensive research and to evaluate code requirements for a 105,000 square foot air support structure. • Worked with Beverly Bellody and consultants on the grant and development of plans for the Hicks Geothermal and other town projects. • Published and distributed new informational handouts providing clear, concise requirements for decks, finished basements and smoke and CO Detectors. Planning & Community Development Accomplishments Zoning Board of Appeals • Worked with the public to explain the need for and process for applying for variances and to process applications in a timely and courteous manner. Public Health Services • Updated food protection program components. • Updated permit tracking and web based information systems. • Procured $84,000 in obesity prevention grants and $99,000 in public health preparedness grants. • Vaccinated over 7,000 persons against 2009 H1N1 Influenza A. • Expanded Be Well Employee Wellness Program to other public employers in the community. Planning & Community Development Accomplishments Planning & Zoning Services • Worked with the Tankerhoosen Watershed Task Force on the development and implementation of the Management Plan, as well Tolland’s LID Regulations. • Participated as a speaker at several conferences on Low Impact Development regulations. • Worked with consultants and the Planning & Zoning Commission on the development of a Concept Plan and ultimately regulations for the Tolland Village Area (formerly known as the Gateway/South Green Area). • Conducted an extensive sign enforcement campaign that involved over 100 hundred notices regarding illegal signs. Planning & Community Development Accomplishments Planning & Zoning Services GIS • Updated GIS data from state as new layers became available. Represented Towns of less than 30,000 on State GIS Council. Grants • Received a $50,000 HOME CT Incentive Housing Grant from OPM to evaluate suitable location(s) for affordable work force housing. • Received an EPA Smart Growth Grant with CRCOG and 3 other towns to develop regulations for environmentally sustainable mixed use developments and green building requirements that include affordable housing. • Submitted with CRCOG and several member communities an Energy and Conservation Block Grant to continue to work on sustainable Development Regulations and review current regulations for barriers. Planning & Community Development Accomplishments Planning & Zoning Services Plan of Conservation and Development • Set up Plan of Conservation and Development update on website. • Worked with consultant, Planning & Zoning Commission, other boards and commissions and the public in the development of the plan, which was adopted in November 2009. Planning & Community Development Accomplishments Inland Wetlands Commission • The Inland Wetlands Commission has joined with the Friends of the Hockanum River Linear Park of Vernon, Inc. to implement their Tankerhoosen River Watershed Management Plan. • Meeting with property owners along Gages Brook and its tributaries and to work with residential property owners to clean up the banks of the tributaries and encourage them to create and maintain vegetative buffers between their lawn and the brooks. • The Commission was named Inland Wetlands Commission of the Year by the Connecticut Association of Conservation and Inland Wetlands Commissions. Planning & Community Development Accomplishments Planning and Zoning Commission • Continued the two year process of doing a comprehensive update to the Plan of Conservation & Development, which was adopted in November 2009. Held public forums and presentations to boards and commissions on the POCD update. • Worked with engineering consultant to develop regulations and mapping for implementation of Low Impact Development storm water techniques in a village density. • Continued working on the $50,000 HOME CT Technical Assistance Grant to evaluate several parcels for suitability of affordable housing and develop a Concept Plan and regulations for Incentive Housing Zone(s). Planning & Community Development Accomplishments Planning and Zoning Commission • Worked with the Tankerhoosen Watershed Task Force on the development and implementation of the Management Plan to protect groundwater resources. Conservation Commission • Developed Management Plans for several newly acquired passive open space properties (ongoing). • Worked closely with the Tolland Conservation Corps on the development of trails, implementation of approved Management Plans and stewarding of open space (ongoing). Planning & Community Development Needs Fill vacant .8 secretarial position with a full time Secretary • Department had a full time Secretary eliminated in March 2009. • Death of .8 Secretary in December 2009 – position currently vacant. • Department provides Administration for 7 land use boards and commissions (9 or more meetings per month minimum), Town Engineer, Planning Director, Building Official and Eastern Highlands Health District. • Office averages 30 phone calls and over 15 visitors at the counter per day. • Several grants and planning projects are administered in the department. • The Water Commission, at their meeting of March 10, 2010, has agreed to allocate up to $10,000 for administrative support which can be used to make this position full-time. Planning & Community Development Needs Increase Development and Training Budget • National Planning Conference for Planner has been cut the past two years, but Planner has attended regional conference. • Planner needs 32 credits and Ethics & Law courses every 2 years to maintain certification. Difficult to fulfill in state. • National Planning Conference is in Boston this year, so there will be no regional conference and funding has been reduced so that Planner will not be able to attend. • Tolland is known for being on cutting edge of planning and natural resource protection – skills acquired at National Conference. Building Department Needs • A communications budget increase would allow for a wireless card contract for the department laptop, allowing remote access to the Town network for entering inspection reports, looking up permits and licenses, answering E-mail, and other remote functions without the need to return to town hall. • Keeping the training budget up allows for more education and the ability to keep up with ever changing codes and technologies, and to pass that information on to our customers. • Increased clerical staffing levels would allow the Building Official to spend less time at the counter, answering the phone, handling questions that can be handled by the secretaries. And being able to spend more time with actual building code related questions and problems. Building Department Needs • A counter top, customer usable, computer terminal located in the Development Group, would allow our customers to use our new online permit capabilities, use the Town website, and access town GIS at the counter. This would ultimately save the staff time, getting the customers to do their own data entry, and allow us to coach the customers through advancements in technology with the ultimate goal of helping them work remotely with the department, saving them a trip to town hall. GENERAL GOVERNMENT RESPONSIBILITIES TOWN MANAGER’S OFFICE – 1 Town Manager, 1.5 Staff Community Relations To respond to resident questions and requests which could include research, site visits, meetings and memo writing. Forms of communication include phone, email, newsletters, annual reports, budget material, meetings, mailings, webpage and email blasts. Financial Management To provide professional oversight in the preparation and administration of the Town’s annual budget which begins in October and concludes in May-July with the passage of the Town wide budget referendum, and to monitor the on-going fiscal affairs of the Town including daily expenditures, audit, borrowing and credit rating activities. RESPONSIBILITIES Intergovernmental Relations To participate as the Town’s representative at meetings held by a variety of different regional organizations that provide the Town with administrative support, information and municipal lobbying efforts. Main regional groups are CCM, COST and CRCOG. Project Administration To provide professional oversight to the many varied projects taking place within Town government on a regular basis such as capital projects, special projects, and facility projects including the high school project. Town Council Services To provide administrative assistance to the Town Council which includes on a bi-weekly basis agenda preparation, attendance at Town Council meetings, preparing 14 Town Council agenda packets, proof and reformat Town Council minutes, prepare monthly events listing, preparation of Town Manager’s Report RESPONSIBILITIES monthly, preparation of letters, emails, website updates as they relate to Town Council activities, meet with constituents as necessary and respond to requests for information from Council members. Town Management To provide professional oversight to the 19 Town departments and approximately 100 employees in the daily operation of Town Services. Oversight includes meetings, direct contact, emails, evaluation of management concerns, resolution of issues, and administrative assistance to other entities such as the BOE and handling matters related to economic development. Budget Town Manager: No significant changes for 2010/2011 budget. Accomplishments • Produced a budget for FY10-11 which limits expenditure increases. • Completed a number of capital projects including water line extensions to the Middle School and Old Post Village Senior Housing Complex. • Initiated single stream recycling. Department Needs Additional Departmental Professional Training Last year was the first year money was not budgeted for the Town Manager to attend the ICMA National Conference – Cost $2,500. TOWN COUNCIL RESPONSIBILITIES Under the Council-Manager form of government prescribed in the Town Charter, the Town Council is the legislative or policy determining branch of the municipal government. This legislative body is composed of seven members who are elected at-large for two-year terms. The Town Council provides the oversight and leadership required to establish policies that guide the direction of the Town and ensure the optimum delivery of services to residents in the most cost effective manner possible. The policies that are established by the Town Council are delegated to the Office of the Town Manager for execution. Budget Town Council: $Change % INC/DEC ($3,832) -10.5% Printing – Town newsletter now being funded by outside (2,400) Other Services & Fees – move e-blast services to Communications in IT/Telecommunications budget (1,020) ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT RESPONSIBILITIES The purpose of economic development is to enhance the Town’s tax base by increasing business property investment. The Town Manager appoints members of the Economic Development Commission who, in turn, elect a chairperson. The Economic Development Commission works with the Town Manager’s Office to plan, organize and administer an economic development program and promote the orderly growth of the Town’s business resources. The staff of the Division of Planning and Community Development also plays a significant role in this process by assisting private developers and business oriented groups with achieving their goals for growth within existing zoning requirements. Budget Economic Development Commission: No significant changes for 2010/2011 budget. HUMAN RESOURCE ADMINISTRATION HUMAN RESOURCE BENEFITS RESPONSIBILITIES HUMAN RESOURCES – 1 Director, 1 Staff (2 Positions) Benefit Administration To provide benefit administration to the benefited employees which includes implementing and managing benefits; signing up new employees; changing benefits for employees; reviewing benefit plans and problem solving benefit issues. Classification and Compensation Help Town Manager prepare wage adjustments for non-union employees. Update pay and classification plans for all employees. Employee Relations To provide professional oversight to the approximately 88 employees relating to the areas of labor relations and contract negotiations. RESPONSIBILITIES Recruitment and Selection Manage the recruitment and selection process for all vacant positions on an annual basis. Risk Management To provide professional oversight in the preparation and administration of the Town’s insurance policies and risk management programs including Liability/Auto/Property and Workers’ Compensation. Solid Waste Service The Town provides curbside residential pickup and disposal of household trash, recyclable items, and bulky wastes. Additionally, Tolland participates in a regional Hazardous Waste program which provides residents with the opportunity to dispose of household hazardous materials during the spring, summer and fall months. RESPONSIBILITIES Training and Development Coordinate and attend training for Town employees. Budget $Change % INC/DEC Accomplishments HR Administration • Recruited and filled vacant full-time and part-time positions: Building Official; Town Engineer and Animal Control Officer. • Helped implement Identification Card System with Fire Department. • Helped engage interim engineering services through a consulting firm. • Attended multiple training opportunities in human resource areas. Accomplishments HR Benefits • 67% of Worker’s Compensation cases reported within 3 days. • ICMA meetings held with individual employees related to pension investments. • Met with Healthcare provider and distributed updated wellness/prevention information to employees. • Implemented HDHP with Health Savings Accounts for non-union employees which included over 25% premium savings. Accomplishments Town wide Insurance • No Property and Liability claims reported within first six months. • Obtained third party reimbursement of damages to Town property. • Completed Stewardship Report for Town’s insurer CIRMA. • Working with Public Works to obtain an updated mitigation plan for 1125 Tolland Stage Road property. • Initiated TULIP program with Insurance Advisor for outside entities to obtain short term insurance coverage. Volunteer Firefighter Insurance • Continued to review policies for overlap with other Town insurance policies. MISCELLANEOUS SUPPORT SERVICES RESPONSIBILITIES The purpose of the Administrative Support Services program is to provide funding for services and equipment required to support effective communication and administration throughout the organization. The program provides funding for service contracts on central office equipment, such as copiers and the postage machine, and maintenance and fuel for “pooled vehicles”. It also funds postage and general office supplies. Budget Miscellaneous Support Services: $Change % INC/DEC ($2,326) -4.3% Communication – reduction in postage (permit being used more) ($2,000). IT/TELECOMMUNICATIONS RESPONSIBILITIES This program provides for immediate and uninterrupted information and communication via current technology. To accomplish this goal it is necessary to provide for maintenance and upgrades of computer hardware and software, telephone system, web page and network. Budget IT/Telecommunications: $Change % INC/DEC ($1,748) -2.1% Professional Services – fixed contract increase +912 Communications – change in the telephone contract ($1,560) Computer Software – spam firewall warranty on a two-year cycle ($1,100) LEGAL SERVICES RESPONSIBILITIES Legal Services-Town Attorney The Town Attorney provides the Town Manager and other Town officials with comprehensive advice regarding a range of legal topics. The Town Council appoints the Town Attorney for a two-year term. The Town Attorney serves as the primary legal advisor to the Town Council, Town Manager, Town officials and the Town boards and commissions. This attorney prepares legal opinions, deeds, easements, contracts, ordinances, resolutions and other legal instruments on an as needed basis. The Town Attorney also represents the interests of the Town in matters of litigation including such actions as condemnations, appeals from decisions by regulatory boards and commissions and lawsuits. Mr. Richard “Rick” Conti of the law offices of Diana, Conti & Tunila was appointed as the current Town Attorney in 2003. RESPONSIBILITIES Legal Services-Personnel Labor Counsel serves as chief spokesperson in labor negotiations and provides Town officials with advice concerning non-routine aspects of labor relations. These aspects include the disposition of advanced stage grievances. The Labor Attorney is also instrumental in providing information and counsel to Town administrators throughout contract negotiations with the Town’s three labor unions. Town employees are represented by the Teamsters, CSEA (Connecticut Service Employees Association) and IAFF (International Association of Fire Fighters). Management and confidential employees are not represented. Labor Counsel services are provided by Mr. Patrick McHale of Kainen, Escalera and McHale. Budget Legal Services: Town Attorney $Change % INC/DEC ($19,000) -38.8% Town Attorney Professional Services – based on past expenditures ($19,000) Legal Services: Personnel No significant changes for 2010/2011 budget Accomplishments Legal Services-Town Attorney • Helped draft firearm safety ordinance. • Reviewed various contracts for Town of Tolland. • Handled numerous planning and zoning legal issues. Legal Services-Personnel • Settled contracts with Fire and CSEA employees with no wage increase in FY2010. • Obtained settlement agreement with Teamster employees relating to foregoing 2% wage increase in FY2010. • Updated FMLA and Personnel Polices and Procedures. • Negotiated agreement with CSEA employees for continued 4-day workweek. • Helped prepare and review Workplace Violence policy. PROBATE SERVICES RESPONSIBILITIES The Probate Court is operated in accordance with the General Statutes of the State of Connecticut. The court has jurisdiction over the probate of wills and the administration of the estates of deceased persons in the towns of Tolland and Willington. Adoptions, parental rights matters, guardianship, conservatorship, trust estates, commitments, marriage waivers, name changes and passports are all within the province of the Probate Court. Residents of Tolland and Willington elect the Judge of Probate for a four-year term. The towns, by statute, must support the court by providing office space and by funding office expenses. The expenses of the court are shared between the towns of Tolland (2/3) and Willington (1/3). This ratio is based on the grand list of each town. Budget PROBATE SERVICES: No significant changes for 2010/2011 budget. Accomplishments • Continued laser fiche project. • Worked towards unification of consolidated courts. FINANCE RESPONSIBILITIES FINANCE – 1 Finance Director, 1 Assistant Finance Director/Treasurer, 1 Accountant & 1 Senior Account Clerk Accounts Payable To process payment of 4,600 accounts payable invoices within 30 days of receipt in order to maximize discounts and ensure timely payment of vendors. The payable process begins with the receipt of invoices, departmental approval of the purchase or service, through budget scrutiny and allocation, to the production of checks and distribution of payment. Administration To provide assistance and direction to the Finance division heads in an effort to ensure effective operation and promote cooperation among employees. Together the staff provides financial information to the Town Manager, Town Council, BOE and residents. The Finance staff also works hand-in-hand with all departments with regards to daily operations as they pertain to budgetary necessities. Additionally, it conducts research on special projects, attends training and meetings, and responds to outside e-mails and phone calls. RESPONSIBILITIES Audit To accurately and timely record, report, and analyze account transactions in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles. Financial Statements are prepared in accordance with GFOA’s Certificate of Achievement Standards to accurately relate the financial position of the Town on a budgetary, GAAP and net assets basis. Additionally, a Management Discussion and Analysis is prepared to give the reader of the Comprehensive Financial Statements an overview of the Town’s financial status and activity for the fiscal year. The audit process also requires an annual review of the books and accounts of the Town by an independent certified accounting firm, currently done by Blum Shapiro. Cash Management To oversee the inflow of tax payments, state grants and miscellaneous deposits as well as maintain timely funding sources for outgoing payments. The Town fully utilizes pooled cash accounting to attain maximum investing power for the town funds. Activities include: daily deposits, wires and transfers, reconciliation of the pooled cash account on a weekly basis, investigation of differences as needed and bank vs. ledger reconciliations monthly. RESPONSIBILITIES Debt Management To issue debt with which to provide funding for capital needs (i.e. school construction and improvements, land acquisition and road resurfacing) while mindful of the future impact of debt service on the General Fund budget as a whole. General Accounting To maintain accounting ledgers and to provide information in a timely manner to the Town Council, the Town Manager, Town Staff, the State and other outside entities. This enables the Town to provide a sound basis for all required Financial Statements. Besides monitoring on-going activities in the context of the current year’s budget, much time is spent on long-term financial planning and projections of revenue and expenditures for the future. RESPONSIBILITIES IT To provide immediate and uninterrupted information and communication via current technology. Major components include internet connections, server hardware and software applications. It is necessary to provide and maintain those services onsite everyday and for the Finance Department to be the liaison to the Town’s outside service technician. The outside service (consultant) responds to the Town’s service tickets for the more complicated issues, maintains the servers, and acts in an advisory capacity for all technological needs. Payroll To process 4,000 payroll checks accurately and on time and remit all information and appropriate monies to the State and Federal Government as well as to benefit providers on a biweekly, quarterly and annual basis for 90 regular and 125 seasonal employees. RESPONSIBILITIES Town Budget and Capital Budget To gather data from departments and produce a final budget in conjunction with the Town Manager which is accurate, informative and completed within Charter Deadlines. The 2010 budget format was expanded to meet the requirements for the GFOA Distinguished Budget Award Program and was successful in achieving that recognition. Subsequently work is done with Town Council to present a budget that meets the needs of the Town and the goals of the Council until approved by referendum voted on by the citizens. The Budget process begins with the Capital Budget in early November and ends with an approval by the residents at referendum in May. Budget Accomplishments Accounting Services Received the award for excellence in financial reporting in July 2009 for the 2007/2008 CAFR. Received the GFOA Distinguished Budget Award for 2009/2010 budget document. Established a trust to receive funding for Other Post Employment Benefits and began funding it. Designed investment portfolio to exceed the average of three-month U.S. Treasury Bill rates throughout budgetary and economic cycles, taking into account investment risk constraints and municipality’s liquidity requirements. Prepared a Request for Proposal for Town-wide Auditor Services for 06/30/2010 and will select auditor by May 1, 2010. Accomplishments Independent Audit The audit was completed in early November and the CAFR issued in mid- December. There were no findings of material weaknesses and a clean opinion was issued. Department Needs Finance Additional departmental professional training: • GFOA National Conference $2000 • Munis National Conference $2000 IT 2 spare Iwatsu telephones $1600 ASSESSMENT SERVICES RESPONSIBILITIES ASSESSOR’S OFFICE – 1 Assessor, 1 Deputy Assessor, 1 Assessment Technician Administration Coordinate two staff members’ work schedule to complete yearly Grand List on time; recheck all work for 100% accuracy. Research and implement new program and software; provide for continued education for office staff. Coordinate vendors that provide various programs utilized by the Assessor’s Office. Prepare and support an annual budget. Conduct 5-year revaluation and prepare associated bid/contract document. RESPONSIBILITIES Apply All Other Exemptions Receive and process all applications for state and local benefits or exemptions. File reports with the state at specific deadlines to avoid mandated penalties. Applications received are: manufacturing, heavy trucks, blind, solar, handicap vehicles, prorate new real estate construction, disabled. Elderly Homeowner To administer state and local tax credit programs for the elderly and 100% disabled. We assist the applicants in completing the required forms. Collect all information pertaining to the applicant’s income and expenses to determine eligibility. RESPONSIBILITIES Personal Property Valuation of Grand List To review all previous personal property accounts; determine if still located in Tolland; drive entire Town to discover new accounts; send out personal property forms; receive all completed forms and review for accuracy; apply depreciation and legal exemptions; review problems with accountants/taxpayers. Produce Grand List-Motor Vehicle Receive listing of all vehicles registered in the Town as of October 1st; price all vehicles; price Motor Vehicle Supplement List received in November; price unpriced vehicles not valued by DMV. Produce Grand List-Real Estate Organize building permits; receive sales/transfer information from Town Clerk; receive, review and change information from Planning & Development; create new property and map cards; input change into software programs. RESPONSIBILITIES Inspect all new construction residential and commercial, enter data into CAMA Valuation Program. Review final values. Prepare information for defending values in court. Works with Board of Assessment Appeals to explain values and methods used to arrive at values. Public Act 490 Farm, Forest and Open Space To implement a land classification program required by the state that requires that land meeting specific requirement be valued for tax purposes at its use value, not market value. Land classifications used are farm, forest and open space. Tax Map Updates The State of Connecticut O.P.M. requires that Towns annually update tax maps to reflect all changes that have occurred in boundary lines; new subdivisions are plotted as of October 1st; each deed recorded in the Town Clerk’s Office is read; all boundary line dimensions are all confirmed; new map summary cards are created; all new house numbers are assigned by the Assessor’s Office. RESPONSIBILITIES Veteran Exemption Received DD214 discharge forms from the Town Clerk; set up file for benefits for individual and spouse; review service dates to determine if during periods of conflict; review disability statements yearly; apply exemptions to real estate or motor vehicles; received applications from Veterans that have low income to determine if they qualify for additional benefits; a review of all income tax returns is required; exempt vehicles owned by service men/women kept out of state. Budget Assessment Service: $ Change % INC/DEC ($24,361) -26.2% Professional Services – decrease in revaluation and other services ($22,878) Training and Development – decrease in classes taken ($1,313) Accomplishments • Completed revaluation project started in spring of 2009; review sales and establish final market values. • Random audits of personal property accounts. • Work with Census Bureau. Department Needs • Attend professional out-of-state conferences $4,500. • Fax machine and connection line $300. BOARD OF ASSESSMENT APPEALS RESPONSIBILITIES The Board of Assessment Appeals is an appointed three member board. The responsibility of this Board is to make decisions concerning taxpayer appeals of assessments. Budget Board of Assessment Appeals: No significant changes for the 2010/2011 budget. Accomplishments • Scheduled eight hearing dates. • 88 appeals for assessment received for Real Estate, Motor Vehicles and Personal Property. • Reductions granted for 40 accounts. • $1,000,000 reduction in assessment granted. REGISTRAR OF VOTERS RESPONSIBILITIES The Registrars of Voters are elected officials authorized by the Connecticut General Statutes to conduct elections, maintain the records of all registered voters and to hold special registration sessions for new voters. Voter information is maintained by Registrars on a statewide database. The Registrars supervise and run all elections, primaries and special referendums for the Town of Tolland in accordance with State Statutes and maintains voting machine use in these elections. Budget Registrar of Voters: $Change % INC/DEC $1,725 5.4% Temporary Help – addition of dual primary for State election +$2,800 Printing – ballot printing to be paid out of 2009/2010 budget ($1,775) Referendum ballots continue to be budgeted as paper ballots. Cost per referendum is approximately $2,500. Accomplishments • Established informative website and integrated it into the Town website. Department Needs Additional referendum added to budget. REVENUE SERVICES RESPONSIBILITIES REVENUE SERVICES – 1 Collector, 2 Assistant Collectors of Revenue Administration To plan, organize, implement, improve and oversee daily activities of the Office of the Collector of Revenue. To supervise staff and staff training and to ensure proper levels of staff coverage. To recommend policies, procedures, work methods and rules of operation to ensure up-to-date best practices are optimized. To prepare and submit the departmental budget, to monitor spending to ensure budget compliance, to prepare materials for the audit and respond to the auditors’ needs and recommendations. To be alert to new technologies, recommend new software and methodologies as needed, implement enhanced collection programs, provide for on-going training and stay current with new legislation and Town policies. RESPONSIBILITIES To provide recommendations, surveys and reports to the Finance Director, Town Manager, and/or Town Council as warranted. To design new initiatives and programs to improve collections and customer service and to meet budgetary goals. Audit To provide records, reports and documents to the Finance Director and the Auditors as required, including but not limited to rate bill and tax warrant, reconciliation of assessor abstract to rate books, reports of revenues received, certificates of change, refunds, suspense listings and collections, uncollected taxes and balancing documents for monthly and year-end activities. To respond to auditors’ requests and recommendations to ensure that processes and reports are accurate, clear and credible. RESPONSIBILITIES Cash Controls To ensure absolute accuracy and accountability in handling all cash, checks, credit card payments and wires. To ensure posting to proper accounts, swift and accurate deposit preparation and recordation, quickest possible turnover of funds to the bank and to establish appropriate segregation of duties. To maintain and balance cash controls on a monthly basis, monitor collection rates, respond to internal and external trends, balance and prepare reports annually and refund excess payments according to State law. Current Tax Collection To provide approximately 24,500 tax bills, per State law, to property owners, leasing companies and banks, to publish and post legal notices, per State law, as well as press releases, eBlasts and signage to ensure prompt payment of current taxes. To keep up with changes including new owner transfers, changes in bank codes, address corrections, elderly exemption/programs, Assessor corrections and pro-rates and other adjustments which must be mailed in a timely manner according to State law and provisions of the Town Charter. RESPONSIBILITIES Customer Service To provide polite and helpful customer service to taxpayers, attorneys, title searchers, real estate agents, banks and tax accountants in a knowledgeable and helpful manner through phone inquiries, legal notices, press releases, eBlasts, web site updates and by responding to notes and questions sent in with payments. This covers real estate, personal property, motor vehicle and supplemental motor vehicle taxes as well as water and sewer assessments, Tolland Non-Profit Housing and Rehab payments as well as helping people figure out which offices they need to get to work with and how to navigate the building. Delinquent Tax Collection To provide monthly past due tax notices and/or demands, to issue alias tax warrants, intent to lien notices, file and release liens, generate motor vehicle put-ons and take-offs, make collection calls, research land records to determine other encumbrances and deed or mortgage provisions, work with banks and attorneys, negotiate and monitor payment plans, plan enforcement action such as tax sales and foreclosures, and file proofs of claim in bankruptcy cases and monitor those cases. RESPONSIBILITIES Miscellaneous Revenues & Special Assessments/Functions In addition to Water and Sewer Assessment billings and processes, as well as Tolland Non-Profit Housing and Rehab loans, to receipt, deposit and account for monies collected by other Town offices, including Library, Building, Planning and Zoning, Town Clerk, Public Safety, Assessor, Human Services and 25 other miscellaneous funds. Town Budget To provide a Revenue Services Department operating budget for each fiscal year, research budget statistics, assist the Finance Director and Town Manager with estimated tax revenue projections for budget referenda as well as bonding reports. To compare monthly revenues with prior year records as well as percentage of anticipated income. Budget Revenue Services: $ Change % INC/DEC ($7,826) -23.8% (expense portion only) Printing – decrease in envelopes and bills printed ($2,000) Other Services and Fees – prior year refunds moved to Contingency ($6,000) Accomplishments • Significant progress has been made in developing the interface between the Quality Data System used in Collection and Munis used in Accounting. • Improvement in ergonomics for employees and ability to better see and serve customers. • Research has been conducted regarding on-line payments and ACH options Real Estate Tax accounts have been flagged to allow cross-reference to utilities. • Several initiatives were passed at Council level which have helped to improve customer service, cash flow and collection rate. • Collection rates were retained and/or surpassed during a very difficult year of widespread fiscal downturn. • Successfully converted four major banks to wired deposit of escrow funds and emailed payment files. Department Needs Restore part time helper for seasonal work. (July, late December, January) Opening mail, going to the post office so we can have our mail a day earlier, and answering the telephone. We utilized volunteers from other offices last year whose tasks were limited to opening and checking on the mail. This person would enhance customer service (by screening calls and answering routine questions) and improve cash flow (by going to the post office late mornings after the day’s mail has been sorted) $2,500. TOWN CLERK RESPONSIBILITIES TOWN CLERK’S OFFICE – 1 Town Clerk, 1 Assistant Town Clerk . Absentee Ballots Request picture ID, issue application then absentee ballot. Track name, address and serial numbered envelopes. Maintain ballots by district and street filing. Report to state of all variety of serial numbered envelopes and absentee ballots issued to voters. Secure all election materials for the time specified per state statutes. Agenda, Minutes & List of Boards Post agendas for all meetings, date and file agendas and minutes (some are copied on archive paper and put into binders and then microfilmed), continually maintaining list of members of a multitude of elected and appointed commissions which also include vacancies. RESPONSIBILITIES Dog Licenses To provide notification every June to dog owners that licensing is required and to inform them of proper verification for each dog needed. Provide licensing in person or by mail. Provide information, issuing and tracking of licensing to town and state. Grant We have been applying for State Preservation Grants to preserve land records. Any volume that has typed pages will be scanned and put into smaller volumes. We are also going back to have microfilm scanned and have images put on disk to incorporate them digitally for coping purposes. Legal Notices To inform residents of upcoming activities as they relate to Town Council meetings, elections, primaries, budget referendums and bond issues. RESPONSIBILITIES Notary Public Notarizing documents and renewing notary commissions. Peddlers License Applications are given to peddlers/hawkers for going door to door or to set up a stand within the Town of Tolland. Each peddler fills out the application which then has to be approved from the Resident State Trooper and the Town Manager. Once they have the approvals, we can then issue the actual license. Recording Land Records and Maps Upon receipt, immediate processing of land records to include subdivision maps. Processing includes indexing, verifying, scanning and printing of all documents received. Land record volumes are produced by the Town Clerk’s office and all indexes for land and maps are printed by ACS. Adkins scans maps and searched by database for more efficient accessibility. RESPONSIBILITIES Vital Statistics To issue marriage licenses, civil unions and burial permits and to provide certified copies of civil unions, marriage licenses, and death and birth certificates to the public, state and other towns. Budget Town Clerk: $ Change % INC/DEC ($4,214) -12.3% Professional Services – State grant decreased because of decrease in land records being filed in all towns and State budget shortfalls ($2,000) Printing – decrease in scanning and microfilming ($1,774) Accomplishments • No State Preservation Grant available for 2009/2010. The State withdrew $900,000 from Town Clerk’s Historic Preservation Grant monies. • Received updated program and equipment from ACS to input all related monies collected in the Town Clerk’s Office for dog licenses, recording, indexing and scanning land records, recording and indexing maps and a multiple of other jobs. • Utilized preservation monies to obtain two large cabinets from DuPont Systems that lock to secure vitals and military discharge records. • We also used monies to have marriage licenses from 1980-2007 scanned and downloaded onto personal computers to obtain certified copies for the public. Department Needs May through July temporary help is needed.
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