“The City has recently provided additional supporting documentation at our request and the review is ongoing.”
That was the official response from the DOR when I emailed them to ask why the certification of “free cash” for the last fiscal year wasn’t yet completed.
When I asked Mr. Bertrand of the DOR for specific information such as exactly what the DOR was looking for and whether any letters or emails were available that would show specific questions he responded with ” Any related documents may be considered part of an ongoing deliberative process that has yet to be completed and, therefore, may not be available.”
I’m told by experts in municipal financing that the very low amount of free cash is a huge red flag. The City has stated they expected less than a million dollars to be certified and with a $300,000,000 budget that is a major concern for the DOR.
While this administration is trying to do everything the Council wants they are being tasked with walking a financial tightrope that now has caught the DOR’s attention. It isn’t considered best financial planning having this tight a budget.
I’m not knocking the Administration, they work for the Council and have been tasked with addressing public safety and educational objectives while keeping taxes down and it is time the Council publicly address this financial concern from the DOR!
It is to late to correct last years budget but the Council has to do something to address the financial concern of the DOR in this years budget or face challengers next year who will remind voters what happened when Lowell used most of their reserves or of the State control board in the 1970’s.
Fiscal Safety is as important if not more important than public safety!