AOS staffing decision means changes for Edgecomb

Tue, 01/14/2020 - 1:00pm

A recent Alternative Organizational Structure (AOS) 98 board decision to outsource work formerly done by finance manager Kathleen Pearce created a change in process for Edgecomb, town officials were told at the Jan. 13 selectboard meeting.

Superintendent Keith Laser, Marc Roy of Berry, Talbot and Royer and Fred Brewer of William H. Brewer & Co. met with Edgecomb selectmen and Town Clerk and Treasurer Claudia Coffin to explain the changes needed for school finance processes.

Laser told officials the school board received 17 applications for the finance job but opted instead to outsource to Berry, Talbot and Royer which does the school’s accounting. “It’s a hard job with six different budgets,” Laser said of the finance manager job. “And it’s getting harder to get and keep people.”

Previously, school expenses were sent to the town and a warrant was prepared. After selectboard approval, expenses were paid. Coffin also combined school information with Edgecomb’s payroll and reported to the IRS.

Under the new arrangement with the firm, a separate EIN (IRS employer id number) will be obtained and a new checking account opened. Edgecomb will pay 1/12 of the annual school budget into the account each month, in effect treating the payment as an assessment, according to Roy.

Saying he heard of a $17,000 savings as a result of the change, Selectman Ted Hugger asked Laser how much the town would see. “It’s a wash,” Roy answered.

Laser said the approximately $100,000 savings from Pearce’s salary, benefits and costs associated with a needed software program would be offset by the $108,000 year one contract with the firm; the contract includes financial and some human resources work.  There could be some savings in audit costs, he added.

Selectmen gave the firm the nod to secure an EIN and open a separate checking account and deferred a final vote until the correct wording for the motion is provided. The target date for the first payroll under the new EIN is Feb. 13.

Also Monday, realtor Nancy Carleton presented an offer of $22,500 for the 3.3-acre Lallis property on McKay Road, contingent on using the property for a home-based machine shop and the buyer has asked for seven days to confirm the possible use. After closing and other costs, the town will receive $20,350 from the sale. Selectmen voted to accept the offer.

Condolences were extended to the family and friends of Deb Beam. Selectman Mike Smith said there will be a gathering in her honor at Edgecomb Eddy School on Saturday, Jan. 18. For more information, contact the school at 882-5515.

Selectmen voted to give this year’s Spirit of America award to Lisa and Joe McSwain in appreciation for their many years of volunteer efforts in support of the town.

It was announced that Boothbay Region Land Trust donated $500 to Edgecomb, to be received after the town votes to accept the funds at the 2020 town meeting. Budget Committee Chair Jack Brennan suggested the donation go to Schmid Preserve.

EMA Director Bill Witzell reported the fire department received 12 service calls in December. Four were for motor vehicle accidents, four for medical assistance, one for transport, two for downed trees and one in response to a fire alarm.

Changes in the meeting schedule will take place over the next few weeks. The selectmen’s meeting planed for Jan. 27 will not be held, but the budget committee will meet on that date at 6 p.m. Selectmen will hold a brief meeting at noon Jan. 23 to approve warrant items, and selectmen will meet at 6 p.m. Feb. 3.

This article has been updated from its original posting.