Disability Reimbursements to be Credited to Town Departments

In an effort to provide relief for overtime expenditures due to long-term disability payments, particularly to the Fire Department, Chief Financial Officer Doug Smith said the Town plans to begin crediting departments for insurance reimbursements. “Due to long-term disability activity, we were getting reimbursed, but the departments weren’t able to have relief based on that reimbursement because it was going somewhere else in that accounting structure,” he said, noting staff researched ways to better account for health insurance payments, rather than accounting for them as revenue.

Smith said it makes sense to run disability payments through payroll to account for taxes and retirement contributions. Starting in FY15, the Town will continue to budget estimated insurance payments as estimated revenue; however, as payments come in, the Town will record them in the accounting system as a credit toward appropriations for salaries. “This should provide some relief to each department,” he said.

“I think that was the intent of our request,” Councilor Tom Dolan said. “We were getting reimbursed and weren’t able to account for reimbursements in the budget; so it looked like departments were running higher and higher overtime, where the net was much lower than that, but we weren’t able to take credit for the reimbursements.”

Councilor Joe Green suggested adding a budget line item under payroll for the credits to ensure each department sees the money they were charged come back in. Town Manager Kevin Smith said the credits will be returned to the bottom line salary budgets for each department – and those departments will see relief for the amounts they paid for employees receiving disability benefits. In other business at Monday night’s Town Council meeting:

• Lt. Michael Roberts will assume the position of Londonderry Firefighter’s Union President, taking over for Bo Butler.
Roberts told the Council he has lived in town since 1988 and his children all went through Londonderry schools. He has held several positions with Local 3160.
“I have enjoyed my tenure here in Londonderry and I look forward to working with each of you,” he said.

• Kevin Smith reported he is working with Kinder Morgan to set a date for a public question and answer session about the proposed gas pipeline, which the Town Council would moderate.
“We are looking at the first or second week of June. As soon as I have firm date, we will publicize the event,” he said.

• The Council voted 5-0 to accept a $380 expenditure from the Maintenance Trust Funds for plumbing work at the Town Hall and repairs at the Senior Center.
• The Council voted 5-0 to authorize a master lease-purchase agreement with First Niagara Leasing, Inc. The Town would use First Niagara, the lowest cost lease-purchase financing proposal received after the service was put out to bid, to acquire miscellaneous equipment during FY 2015 to 2019 in an aggregate principal amount of up to $3.4 million.

• The Council waived the first reading of an amendment to rezone the lot at 105 Hillside Ave., for the construction of more affordable housing for seniors and families at a lower density than is permitted under the Town’s Workforce Housing Ordinance (see related story page xx). The Planning Board recommended at its May 13 meeting that the Council approve the rezoning request.

The Council will hold a public hearing to consider the amendment at its June 15 meeting.
• The Council also waived a first reading for an amendment related to individual sewage disposal systems. A public hearing for the proposed amendment was also scheduled for the Council’s June 15 meeting.

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