Town Board seeks to manage resources and reduce debt

Minerva Town Hall

Minerva Town Hall Photo by John Grybos.

— Members of the Minerva Town Board considered various options for budgeting a road repair project during their March 1 meeting.

Members weighed the relative merits of having the work done as either a one-, two-or three-year project. At issue was how much of the fund balance should be used, how much should be kept in reserve, and whether there were other things the money could be spent on that would better serve the town.

Using some of the fund balance money to pay off the loan on truck that the town had purchased was suggested. Board members decided to evaluate the benefits of the various proposals and make a decision at their next meeting.

Options for paving the parking lot for Minerva Beach were also discussed. Specific concerns centered on different alternatives and the associated costs. Supervisor Sue Montgomery Corey raised the possibility of a permeable surface that would allow water to pass through without causing damage. She indicated that there might be funding available and that this might also be a solution for restoring the tennis courts in town. The board agreed to take a closer look at these options.

Councilman Steven McNally introduced a motion to use $37,620 from the fund balance, in addition to the amount already budgeted toward payments, to eliminate a loan that they town had taken.

“It just doesn’t make financial sense not to when the interest charged against the principal of the loan is more than the interest earned by the money in the fund balance,” McNally said.

The majority of the board passed the resolution.

The supervisor spoke about the importance of developing a capital plan where all town resources would be evaluated and estimates made on a multi-year basis for maintenance, repair, and replacement costs. This would provide a big picture view of present and upcoming expenses that would allow for more effective management of resources and would decrease the likelihood of being caught off guard by unexpected costs. After some discussion about the best way to create this capital plan, several members of the board suggested that all departments be asked to present a report with estimated costs for their resources for a given time period.

Councilman David LaBar said that he “didn’t want the lack of a capital plan become a stumbling block for making decisions.” He suggested that the board remain focused and plan follow-ups for establishing a capital plan for the town. The discussion of how best to implement a capital plan will continue at the next board meeting, 7 p.m. Thursday, March 15 at the Town Hall.

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