By MAUREEN DOHERTY
LYNNFIELD — The operating budgets of town department leaders were due to be submitted to the Town Accountant Julie McCarthy and Town Administrator Bill Gustus Monday. They will be reviewed this week prior to being submitted to the Finance Committee next Wednesday. Formal budget reviews with the Board of Selectmen begin Jan. 5 and continue through February.
Capital expenditure budgets are due Friday, Jan. 16 and the School Department’s budget is due Friday, Jan. 30. The tenure of Gustus and new Town Administrator James Boudreau will overlap during the week of Jan. 5 as Gustus prepares to hand over the reins upon his retirement on Friday, Jan. 9.
Anticipated budget needs of smaller departments presented during the annual budget summit roundtable earlier this month are listed below:
• Recreation Commission
Recreation Commission Chairman Matt Monkiewicz said they remain an active volunteer board. The only full-time employee is Director Julie Mallett, whose position increased from part-time to full-time mid-way through the year. They also increased hours of the fields director to 19 hours per week to monitor field scheduling “which is self-funded through fees,” he said, adding Recreation is responsible for field maintenance and where the fees will be allocated.
Recreation added several programs last year and the summer recreation program’s early morning drop off is popular, he said. The summer program has 350 participants while over 200 kids enjoyed the summer excursions. Tricentennial fireworks sponsorship in October was their biggest program of the year, drawing an estimated 2,000 people.
• Town Clerk
Town Clerk Trudy Reid said one-time expenses were incurred this year by her department to bring the elections process up to speed and keep it better organized. Document preservation is another priority in FY’16, she said, because a lot of documents in her care are required to be maintained on a permanent basis. “There are a lot of documents in need of repair and preservation,” she said, particularly those that concern the town’s history.
• Assessor’s office
“For the second year in a row the budget for the assessor’s department will be lower,” said Board of Assessor’s Chairman Don Garrity. Last year it was a $7,600 reduction. This year they’re requesting an $800 reduction because “tasks that were previously entrusted to consultants are now being done by the assessing manager and the assessors,” he said.
The FY’16 budget includes a software maintenance increase of $1,700 and a reduction of $2,500 in expenses related to personal property evaluations because Phase 1 of MarketStreet has been completed, he said. It also includes $18,300 for assessing consultant services, with $8,300 for required one-ninth cyclical review and $10,000 reserved for the town “to defend the commercial valuations that we have recently established, especially those at MarketStreet,” Garrity said. Funds not expended for that purpose would be returned to the general fund, he said.
• Council on Aging (COA)
Council on Aging (COA) Director Linda Naccara said the Senior Center continues “to see an enormous amount of growth” as they serve about 250 meals per day. “We are on target with this year’s budget with the exception of the meal program and that line item has already been spent,” Naccara said. One capital request for new phones will be made by the COA. When their old phones broke three years ago they were given refurbished phones that are now breaking down and cannot be fixed because they are 19 years old.
Library Director Nancy Ryan said her budget is also on target and next year’s budget will likely increase by 2.4 percent. The town was awarded a state planning grant on the needs of library facility and Ryan said it is important that this application be completed in FY’16.
• Veterans’ Agent
Veterans’ Agent Jason Kimball would like to use unexpended Chapter 115 funds to upgrade the town’s war memorial. These funds vary from year to year to provide assistance to veterans with a 75 percent reimbursement rate by the state. This year, he said many local veterans of the Global War on Terrorism have called to request updates to the war memorial.
• Historical Commission
Historical Commission Chairman Nan Hockenbury said during the town’s 2014 bicentennial/tricentennial anniversary year the commission reviewed site access to a Civil War memorial at the former Camp Stanton on Rte. 1, located on private property. In FY’16 they will seek a grant to “move it to a more public area. It is an important landmark for our town that we had a Civil War camp muster,” Hockenbury said.
A hole in the roof of the barn at the Historical Centre must be repaired, she said. Preservation work on the town’s historic burying grounds will continue and they will replace historic landmark signs next year. They will also create a “disaster plan to secure our building in flooding or weather that could affect the collection and documents,” she said.