Municipal finances healthy at year’s end

Jul 3, 2018 by

Published in the July 4, 2018 edition

By DAN TOMASELLO

LYNNFIELD — Fiscal year 2018 ended in the black on June 30, Town Administrator Rob Dolan said recently.

The town’s FY’18 budget totaled $53.2 million. Dolan said municipal administration is “hitting all revenue marks across the town.”

“That is exactly where you want to be,” said Dolan. “Collections are very high.”

Dolan said the town will not be carrying over any debt from the snow and ice budget into FY’19. The town budgeted $120,000 for snow and ice removal, but spent $308,000.

“Snow and ice is the only line item that municipalities are allowed to carry a deficit,” said Dolan. “The winter started slow, but ended really hard.”

Dolan said the town was able to absorb the increase in the snow and ice budget by transferring funds and using Free Cash. He said the selectmen might need to transfer additional funds in July in order to balance the FY’18 budget.

“This includes police and dispatch,” said Dolan. “We had a long-term injury in dispatch that caused some additional overtime. That position is being filled. We had a leave of absence in our Police Department that caused an increase in overtime. We are negotiating with our dispatchers, which have one retro year that we would like to settle in the next few weeks to close out (FY’18).”

Dolan said the town’s health insurance costs are “on the mark.”

Additionally, Dolan anticipates the town will exceed its $750,000 appropriation for the EMS Enterprise Budget.

“We are estimating the ambulance will bring in $25,000 to $50,000 over that,” said Dolan. “However, we need to reconcile that at the end of the fiscal year. By meeting that revenue projection, we will be able to make our indirect payments as we have done in the past to offset those indirect costs that we charge to the ambulance.”

Dolan said the Golf Enterprise Fund’s revenue has increased by $100,000 in FY’18, which was originally budgeted for $950,000. He said Golf Director Don Lyons attributed the increase to warm weather over the course of the last few months of FY’18 as well as a new trailer located at King Rail Golf Reserve.

“(The new trailer) has a clean bathroom and sells some basic golf equipment,” said Dolan. “People have commented it has improved the golf course. In fact, King Rail Golf Course is up 14 percent in one year. That is really positive. The Reedy Meadow course has a smaller increase, but it’s an increase none the less.”

The King Rail Golf Course has been the subject of debate the last few years. Partridge Lane resident Harry LeCours made a motion at April Town Meeting that sought to amend the Golf Enterprise Fund by closing King Rail. After a lengthy and lively discussion, Town Meeting voted to reject LeCours’ motion on a voice vote and keep the King Rail Reserve Golf Course open.

While Dolan said “some work needs to be done with staffing” for the golf courses during the offseason, he said the increase in revenue for the two courses is “a very good sign for the state of golf in the town.”

In response to a question from Selectmen Chairman Dick Dalton, Town Accountant Julie McCarthy said the town charges for indirect costs for both enterprise funds.

“We have used a consistent methodology since the inception of the enterprise funds,” said Dolan. “We will be able to charge 100 percent of the indirect costs. There have been some years we had to charge a little bit less because there wasn’t a surplus large enough and we didn’t want to force the fund into a deficit. Last year, we probably charged around 80 percent for golf. This year, we can absolutely charge 100 percent, which is for all of the costs for the different insurances and any kind of unemployment costs, plus a fraction for the Town Hall folks that process and do work on behalf of the enterprise funds.”

Dalton said he’s pleased the only line item that was over budget in FY’18 was the snow and ice budget.

“Everything else seems very much in line,” said Dalton.

Selectman Phil Crawford said he was pleased the line item for Town Counsel Tom Mullen was less than previous years.

“I am glad we don’t have some of the frivolous litigation going on this year that bumped it up in previous years,” said Crawford.

Related Posts

Tags

Share This