Published in the October 29, 2015 edition.
By MARK SARDELLA
WAKEFIELD — The town closed fiscal year 2015 “in great shape,” according Town Administrator Stephen P. Maio.
As of July 1, 2014, the state had certified Wakefield’s “Free Cash” in the amount of $8,491,969, Maio told the Board of Selectmen this week. Even after Town Meeting voters approved spending $1,150,000 of its Free Cash reserves in FY 2015, the town still had a balance of $7,341,969, Maio said.
Maio reminded the board that Free Cash comes from unspent money returned from town departmental budgets along with revenues that exceed the projected amount for a fiscal year. Last year, Maio said, town departments returned to the town a combined total of close to $900,000 in unspent money. In addition, revenues for last fiscal year came in $1,368,113 higher than Maio’s conservative projections.
Several years ago, the selectmen adopted a financial policy stating that the town’s Free Cash should be between 2 and 8 percent of the the town’s operating budget, which this year would amount to $1.6 to $6.5 million.
With the amounts returned from town budgets and the unanticipated revenues, the town’s current Free Cash balance of $9.6 million is significantly higher than that — but not for long, Maio said. At the 2015 Annual Town Meeting, voters approved a large increase in the School Department budget as well as $1.2 million in snow and ice overdrafts from last winter. Those amounts comprise the bulk of the $2,965,874 that voters at next month’s Regular Town Meeting will be asked to appropriate in order to balance the FY 2016 budget.
That will still leave $6.6 million in Free Cash at the close of the November Town Meeting, still higher than the amount targeted in the board’s financial policy.
In other business this week, the Board of Selectmen:
• Tabled a request from Brandon Auto Sales, 4 Middlesex Ave., for a Class II used auto dealer’s license.
• Approved a request from the Department of Public Works to accept and expend a gift from The Savings Bank in the amount of $2,990.
• Approved a request from the Fire Department to accept and expend a gift of $1,000 from the Rotary Club of Wakefield.
• Approved a request from the Fire Department to accept and expend a gift of $25 from Mrs. Mary Lally.