Published May 19, 2021
By DAN TOMASELLO
LYNNFIELD — The Select Board closed the Spring Town Meeting warrant during a May 12 meeting.
Assistant Town Administrator Bob Curtin gave an overview of the 20 articles included on the warrant. The spring session of Town Meeting will take place at Lynnfield High School’s Pioneer Stadium on Saturday, June 12.
Curtin said Article 6 will ask Town Meeting to approve the proposed fiscal year 2022 operating budget, which totals $60,843,604.35. He said Article 7 will request Town Meeting to approve the town’s proposed capital budget for FY22, equaling $1,045,431.
Town Administrator Rob Dolan informed the Villager that Article 13 will ask Town Meeting to appropriate $1.75 million for security equipment, drainage improvements, site improvements and material costs for the $17 million elementary schools’ expansion project.
“There are no cost overruns,” said Dolan.
Dolan said a portion of the funds will be used to make drainage improvements around both elementary schools after abutters told local officials about flooding problems that have occurred over the past 20 years.
“We want to fix the entire area,” said Dolan.
Fire Chief/Emergency Management Director Glenn Davis informed the Villager that funds will also be used to replace Summer Street School’s bi-directional amplifier (BDA) system.
“It’s a Building Code requirement for any new commercial construction or any renovation projects deemed as substantial,” said Davis. “It guarantees police and fire’s ability to communicate with radios inside the schools. The system at Huckleberry Hill passed, but the system at Summer Street failed.”
Dolan also said funds will be used to increase the expansion project’s contingency budget. He said the cost for materials such as steel and wood has increased significantly.
“It will not affect the debt exclusion or taxation,” said Dolan. “We want to increase the contingency to 8 percent of the project to recognize this kind of historic price jump. If we do not need it, we will not spend it.”
Curtin said Article 15 will ask Town Meeting to approve a “lease purchasing financing agreement for the acquisition of energy efficient improvements.” The $6 million bond seeks to upgrade aging equipment in the town’s buildings.
“We would acquire equipment through the issuance of debt,” said Curtin. “The town would work with an energy efficiency firm by purchasing energy systems such as HVAC. The town pays back the cost through the savings realized in the town’s energy bills.”
Additional warrant articles
Article 1 will request Town Meeting to act on the reports of town officials and special committees. Article 2 will choose all town officers “not required to be chosen by ballot,” which are three field drivers, one pound keeper and three wood measurers.
Curtin said Article 3 will request Town Meeting to approve the salaries for the Board of Assessors and the Select Board. He noted that those are the only boards in town that get paid.
“The Select Board hasn’t had a raise in over 40 years,” said Curtin. “The last time the pay was adjusted, it was reduced.”
According to the warrant, Article 4 will ask Town Meeting to “vote to raise and appropriate or appropriate by transfer from available funds, sums of money to supplement certain accounts in the current 2021 fiscal year where balances are below projected expenditures for various reasons.”
“That information won’t be ready until shortly before Town Meeting,” said Curtin.
Curtin said Article 5 will ask Town Meeting to approve paying overdue bills from a prior fiscal year.
Article 8 will ask Town Meeting to vote to appropriate $50,000 to the Capital Facilities Fund. Article 9 will request Town Meeting to allocate $150,000 to the Stabilization Fund.
“The Capital Facilities Fund sets aside funds so that we can pay for certain capital improvements,” said Curtin. “The Stabilization Fund includes reserves to use on a rainy day if the town needs extra funds due to shortfalls in revenue.”
Article 10 will set spending limits for the town’s revolving funds. The limit for the Council on Aging’s revolving fund totals $50,000. The Board of Health’s revolving fund’s limit is $15,000. The Lynnfield Public Library’s revolving fund limit totals $10,000. Lynnfield Recreation’s revolving fund limit equals $325,000. The DPW’s fields’ revolving fund limit totals $75,000. The DPW’s revolving fund limit for the Al Merritt Media and Cultural Center is $10,000.
Curtin said Article 11 will appropriate funds to the Emergency Medical Service Enterprise Fund’s budget. Article 12 requests Town Meeting to allocate funds from “Golf Enterprise receipts and/or Golf Enterprise Retained Earnings to pay expenses and contractual services required to operate the Reedy Meadow Golf Course and King Rail Golf Course.”
“These budgets pay for services through fees and revenue collected by the ambulance and the golf courses,” said Curtin.
Curtin said Article 14 will ask Town Meeting to “rescind the borrowing authorizations approved by prior Town Meetings for projects that have been completed.”
“This includes money set aside for septic loan programs, the Senior Center van, the purchase of the Reedy Meadow Golf Course and the purchase of Centre Farm,” said Curtin.
Curtin said Article 16 will ask Town Meeting to amend its the portion of the General Bylaws pertaining to fees. He recalled that the 2020 October Town Meeting approved the town’s existing fee structure.
“We asked town departments to review their fees to make sure they are keeping pace with the actual cost of service as well as what is being charged by surrounding and similar communities,” said Curtin. “A number of departments submitted changes.”
Curtin said Article 17 will ask Town Meeting to approve increasing the number of hours seniors can work as part of the Senior Tax Reduction program.
“Eligible seniors are able to come into Town Hall and help out departments with various clerical type tasks,” said Curtin. “They get to work off a portion of their tax bill. This would increase the number of hours seniors can work to 125.”
Curtin said Article 18 will ask Town Meeting to accept the provisions in a state law that will “allow the town to match the state’s amount for certain real estate tax exemptions for disabled veterans, the blind and senior citizens who meet state qualifications based on their assets and income.”
Article 19 will ask Town Meeting to accept Zepaj Lane as a public way.
Town Engineer Charlie Richter said Article 20 will ask Town Meeting to approve amending the Stormwater Management Bylaw.
“The changes to the Stormwater Bylaw are pretty innocuous,” said Richter. “We have to make sure we are compliant with the EPA’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System. We are permitted by the EPA to discharge stormwater into the waterways of the United States. As part of that, we are required to meet several standards they require us to implement over the period of the permit. These changes are meant to ensure compliance with that permit. We are also planning to change some rules and regulations for the Conservation Commission and Planning Board.”