OMG! Only in Lowell can State Agency voluntarily contribute $60,000 and our two “established” media outlets make it seem like a grassy knoll event. The agreement is attached above.
To HELL with looking at the School Superintendents claim of a $7.8 MILLION Dollar shortfall we found something to bash Lynch with..quick cue Rodney!!!
Here is some information that hasn’t been mentioned in the SUN or up until 8:00 when I stopped listening on the radio.
1) How is ANYTHING a “Secret” when the City Lawyer who still works for this administration signed off on the Agreement? Christine P. O’Connor City Solicitor, City of Lowell or Steven O’Riordan , Associate Vice Chancellor for Financial Services at ULOWELL
The following people were copied on the agreement -CC: City Manager Bernie Lynch, Chancellor Martin Meehan, Assistant City Manager Adam Baacke, Vice Chancellor Joanne Yestramski, Executive Director Katharine Craven
2) In fact the agreement calls for an ADDITIONAL 5% INCREASE EVERY 2ND YEAR and runs through 2018
3) The money is in all likelihood being paid by the UMBA listed as a contribution to the Community Improvement account. (U Mass Building Authority) but just looking at the check would tell City Officials
4) The money gets recorded in an account that is NOT included in the budget. They are called “Special Revenue Accounts” and are maintained by the City Auditor (who works for the City Council) a record of the receipt of the payment along with the details would be on file for the yearly audits.
Another Municipal official who understand finance had this to say:
It is possibly an agency fund. Why? An agency fund is a fund that they city holds for the benefit on some other entity. Typically they are used to hold a developer’s good faith deposit on a subdivision. If the developer does not install sidewalks right, or fails to pave the road properly, etc., the city uses the money to do so. Otherwise, at the end of the project and its acceptance by the city, the money is returned to the developer.
In this case, it is even more like a traditional escrow fund. Even with an agency fund, they city has sole authority over its use. In this case section 3 establishes joint control. For this reason, it may not even be on the city’s books!
The other notable feature is in section 4. The City may allow the University to spend the funds on its own. In years where the City does this, they would not even receive payment. In any event, this payment is definitely NOT in the City budget, nor should it be.
IF you recall when the City Clerk a few years ago was accused of misappropriations of funds, it showed a lack of Oversite by the City Council. Apparently judging by the reaction of City Councilor Elliot either the Council in general doesn’t ask or know about these type of revenues or doesn’t look at them. (since RE was a Town Administrator at one point shouldn’t he know?)
Does this “supposed” secret agreement mean that this City Manager claims he didn’t know about it? Isn’t Bob Healy the finance guru? Would he have never looked at the Auditors accts? Wait, weren’t we paying him to be the “Acting Auditor”? How could he not know?
The entire $318,000,000 budget was approved in an hour and a half, yet I’ve never heard the Fiscal Watchdog or ANY councilor EVER ask about these special accounts.
What ever happened to reviewing the City Manager, Clerk and Auditor the three people who the City Council are charged with hiring? Oh wait, we had a difficult time hiring an auditor because of the reputation of the City Council.
Only in Lowell can an agreement in lieu of taxes be turned into a negative for petty political bullshit!
It was a settlement like many others that was VERY PUBLIC , the money was and is accountable and documented. Just because they chose to to publicize it doesn’t mean it isn’t above board.
The problem seems to really be AGAIN THE CITY COUNCIL WHO IS SUPPOSED TO OVERSEE THE AUDITOR DOESN’T DO SO OR DOESN’T QUESTION WHAT THESE ACCOUNTS ARE.
Maybe a Councilor will ask for a COMPLETE REPORT on how many of these type of accounts exist and how much money is involved.