Sunday Notes – Unintentionally Ruffling Feathers Already!

I”m no fiscal expert, fiscal watchdog or anything close but I do have a general understanding of Municipal Finance thanks to tutoring from Tom Moses, Bernie Lynch, Jay Lang, Jim Duggan, Warren Shaw, Connor Baldwin, Rodney Conley and on 1 occasion Bob Healy who was kind enough to complement me on my understanding of municipal finance. So when I post about finances it tends to ruffle feathers and upset people.

In the 2020 budget Transmittal letter from the City Manager it CLEARLY States – FY2020 operating budgets for the city’s general fund and three enterprise funds, which begins on July 1, 2019,

In the 2019 budget Transmittal letter from the City Manager it CLEARLY States – To Mayor William J. Samaras and Members of the Lowell City Council:In accordance with the requirements of the Massachusetts General Laws and the Charter of the City of Lowell, I herewith transmit the proposed $361,582,581 Operating Budget and $71,964,330 Capital Budget for Fiscal Year 2019 which begins on July 1, 2018.

The Fiscal Year begins on July 1st of the previous year through June 30th of the following year. So both the City, School and State are in Fiscal year 20 and Fiscal Year 2019 closed June 30th 2019.

I’ve been advised that The State for some unexplained reason however list free cash Certification for the previous year under the current year in this report.

Which means Lowell hasn’t had its 2019 Free Cash Certified and may not even have submitted it yet to be certified!

I was thinking based on the website Lowell was off on their estimated amount of free cash but based on that information, I may be incorrect…. instead of miscalculated it may be that the City is 3 months late filing their report.

So why does the state show Free Cash certification for 2018 under 2019 as of July 1st 2019?

Learned at Dave Nangle’s Sun Santa/All for the Kids Fundraiser:

One new Councilor wanted to make sure he wasn’t the one being considered as the person bringing in the question about what the real PLA numbers are! Telling people so

Former Dracut Town Manager Jim Duggan is considering a run for Dracut Selectman? When asked he just smiled , shrugged and walked onto say hello to others.

A Former Lowell Asst. City Manager, A former Lowell Dept. Head and a current Administrator from a neighboring town are all being speculated as “possible” candidates for Dracut Town Manager though none have confirmed that they will apply.

Medicaid Reimbursement
As of July 1, 2019, the laws changed regarding the Massachusetts School – Based Medicaid Reimbursement program that has allowed for additional staff to submit services that were not allowed previously to include: non – special education direct services as well as for “ payment for services that are provided to students pursuant to an Individual Health Care Plan (IHCP), an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP), a Section 504 plan, or services that are otherwise medically necessary. Payment for services provided pursuant to an Individualized Education
Program (IEP) will continue to be provided under the expanded program” (Mass Health, http://www.mass. gov/masshealth).


Other Positive School information that has also been shared with the Newspaper , according to Superintendent Boyd..

• Site- based budgeting: the next budget will allow schools to allocate a portion of the district’s funds as each school sees fit. With the local impact of the $ 1.5 billion infusion into the state’s public school system still up in the air, the exact portion of the district’s budget to go to this initiative is not certain yet.

• Universal preschool: A shift to universal preschool would expand on the district’s existing preschool program, which is open to students who turn 4- years- old by the beginning of the school year. The big issue here will be limited space availability.

• Community school model: This model seeks to connect schools to home and students to the services they need in an academic environment. It’s distinct from the neighborhood model, which is based on geography.

Strategic Planning: about 50 people applied for a spot on the steering committee for Lowell Public School’s strategic plan.