Local Government and Politics, News

Lynnfield’s budget summit on track for 2021

This article was published 2 year(s) and 4 month(s) ago.

LYNNFIELD — As the saying goes, it all comes out in the wash. The same appears to be true for Lynnfield’s fiscal year 2021 budget, which has remained on track for each town department, despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Board of Selectmen met with various department, board and committee heads to discuss the town’s spending during a budget summit this week.

“The FY21 budget is holding, and the community remains strong,” Town Administrator Rob Dolan said at Monday’s meeting. 

The budget summit featured brief presentations from more than 15 groups from various departments, boards, and committees, including the Historical and Recreation commissions, the Lynnfield Public Library, and the Police and Fire departments. 

Nearly every presentation began with the same introduction: “This was a difficult and challenging year.” 

At the Senior Center, the Council on Aging experienced unforeseen expenses in the form of packaging for “grab and go” meals when COVID-19 hit, and the Recreation Department had to issue refunds to various families after it was forced to cancel spring events, such as “Mother Son Bowling.”

Still, other groups, such as Veterans Services and Planning and Conservation, actually saw some expenses decrease in the wake of the pandemic, as traveling to conferences and holding large gatherings quickly became obsolete. 

But, the real winner of 2020 — as odd as that phrase may sound — was golf. Donnie Lyons, the PGA director of golf in Lynnfield, said the sport is “thriving,” adding that a season with more than 150 days without rain has been “extraordinary.” 

The town’s two golf courses, Reedy Meadow and King Rail, will remain open all winter as long as the weather permits, and Lyons was pleased to report that there have been no COVID-related issues at either facility. 

As for schools, Public Works Director John Tomasz said the town will continue to contract outside groups to clean and disinfect the school buildings — an expense he believes will carry into the next school year, and subsequently, fiscal year 2022, beginning in October. 

Superintendent Kristen Vogel added that the school budget is being planned for a normal fall opening, as the focus remains on what best supports students. The district is hoping to receive more money from the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), and is also looking for grant money to help finance the cost of technology in education — in past years, the cost has been around $250,000. 

For obvious reasons, the town’s emergency management services have been hit especially hard during the pandemic, according to the Lynnfield Fire Department.  

“Be an emergency management director, they said. It’ll be fun, they said,” Fire Chief Glenn Davis said jokingly. 

Nevertheless, Davis has been increasingly resourceful, having been successful in receiving grant money totaling more than $100,000 to help the department secure the personal protective equipment (PPE) they require, as well as capital items they need, he said. Despite the challenges, Davis said the budget is on track for FY21. 

“We can’t thank you [all] enough for your dedication,” Board Chairman Chris Barrett said. “We’ll come together as a team to deliver the best for the residents of Lynnfield.” 

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