Lynch already winning praise in Winchendon

Manager Lynch

Manager Lynch

For those wondering how former City Manager Lynch is doing in Winchendon, he has brought along former Lowell Auditor Cheryl Wright to assist and on their 1st day resolved a $93,000 SCHOOL DEPARTMENT Special Ed Transportation shortfall. This from the Gardner News.

Interim Town Manager Resolves Bus Issue
By Damien Fisher

New Town Manager Bernie Lynch’s contract is already paying dividends for the town as Mr. Lynch was able to solve the special education transportation deficit in his first few days on the job.

“We were able to pay that bill this week,” Mr. Lynch said.

The deficit in the special education transportation budget, estimated at $45,000 on Monday night during a select board meeting, and then estimated again at $93,000 Tuesday night during a meeting of the Finance Committee, is no longer an issue after Mr. Lynch and his financial advisor were able to work with Town Hall staff on the budget. Reclassifying some expenses and using money that was being unnecessarily held for other expenses allowed Mr. Lynch and the staff to work through the issue quickly.

The town will still need a special Town Meeting at the end of the month to go through some year-end transfers to close out the fiscal 2015 books. There are issues in the unemployment budget, as well as veterans services, to name a few.

“We’re talking some pretty large numbers,” he said.

Read more in The Gardner News.

In Fact the so-called “shortfall” was mostly an easily correctable accounting issue that was able to be quickly identified and addressed.

The Veterans shortfall numbers is $100,000 , a $184,000 Snow and Ice Overrun (after FEMA reimbursement) and a large unemployment deficit of $86,00 but they have “found” $300,000 to transfer at a special town meeting Tuesday night (6/30) to close a large portion of that. They will still have a $70,000 deficit for 2015

Besides the deficit in the Special Ed Transportation that was resolved the School Dept. is “Projected” to finish the year with at most $1,000 extra!

In his report on the budget to the selectman, when ask why the deficit in Veterans and Unemployment, Lynch made sure NOT to place blame on the past administration but instead said we need to take a better look at forecasting to insure it doesn’t happen again. He also stated that the snow and ice could deficit could be spread over a 3 year period but he was NOT a fan of doing that.

Has it stands now, they are looking at least a $64,000 shortfall for Fiscal 2016 before they have had a chance to look at projections in the unemployment, veterans and other accounts so that will have to be done and addressed at an October Town meeting.

The towns biggest issue is the large deficit in the health care trust fund. Much like when Lowell was self insured, Winchendon had a trust fund to pay claims that apparently was never adequately funded and the town is facing a $400,000-$500,000 deficit that will have to be addressed.

In the June 23rd meeting Manager Lynch suggested to the Selectman that they consider forming an Ad-Hoc committee composed of members of the Selectman, School Committee, Town Administrator, Auditor, Supt. of Schools and School Business Manager to study revenue projections for the next few years and economic development opportunities. (Where have I heard of a similar group?)