Finance Committee Assesses Loans, CIP Fund

By Lura Jackson

 

The finance committee of the City of Calais met on Wednesday, July 19th to discuss several topics, including delinquent and proposed loans, Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funds availability, and to review the proposed purchase of a police vehicle and a V-plow. Finance committee members Eddie Moreside, Mike Sherrard, and Scott Geel were all present, along with Councilor Marcia Rogers and Finance Director Crystal Gallina. 

The city manages several loans as part of its revolving and economic development loan funds. Some of those loans were brought before the loan committee at an earlier date and Gallina presented the finance committee with their recommendations. Per the loan committee, a loan to Julianna’s restaurant – made in September of 2007 for an initial amount of $10,000 and with a remaining balance of $8,763 – will be sent to the legal department. A loan to Richard Davis – first made in April of 2012 for $15,000 and with a remaining balance of $15,276 – is already in legal due to probate status. A loan to Mercier’s Hair Salon – made in October of 2013 for an amount of $10,000 and with $8,337 remaining – will be sent to legal. A loan made to Lea Brown for Gallery 207 – initiated in June of 2016 for $5,000 with $5,036 remaining for a balance – will be written off by the city due to the fact that Brown has left the state and the city is unable to reach her.

One new loan was discussed by the loan committee. Gallina said that a loan application to Antony Noyes for Just South of the Border in the amount of $30,000 was declined, although he is invited to apply again when more collateral is established. Gallina said that there are a lot of rules related to how much collateral is required and how much has to be real property for larger loans. Gallina said the committee also suggested that a revolving loan would be a better fit.

There are two kinds of loans managed by the city, Gallina explained: one is a revolving loan for amounts between $3,000 and $15,000 and the other is an economic development loan for amounts between $15,000 and $100,000. For the economic development loan, 70 percent of the requested amount must be secured by collateral. “The mission of the board is to help small businesses – that’s why we’re here – but at the same time, we’re very cautious about giving out large loans that may hurt the business rather than help them,” Gallina said.

The finance committee determined that approximately $35,000 is available to purchase a new police vehicle to replace the 2013 cruiser, which has around 170,000 miles on it. Gallina said that there may be additional funds available if a heavier duty vehicle is desired. Police Chief David Randall is seeking bids on potential cars, trucks, or SUVs and is expected to present his findings at the August 24th council meeting.

Public Works Director Skeet Seelye received permission from the committee to seek bids on a V-plow for the winter season. Seelye will be seeking bids that allow for a trade-in of the city’s existing straight edge plow as well as ones that involve purchasing the V-plow outright.

The final item reviewed was the CIP fund. At present, the city has a balance of $272,000 in savings for CIP items. Gallina said that typical CIP items include replacing police cars, fire trucks, performing paving, and doing building maintenance. The city is not adding to the CIP fund at this time as the finance committee is aiming to hold workshops with the city council to discuss where the city is headed and what kind of savings may be needed for the future.

Asked if she felt the CIP balance was in a comfortable spot to handle potential emergencies, Gallina replied, “It’s not as high as my comfort level. However, I’m a conservative accountant. We want expenses to be overstated and revenue to be understated when planning and budgeting, that way we’re pleasantly surprised.”