Lynn Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy said the city has $17 million in reserves during her address at the Lynn Area Chamber of Commerce Breakfast held Friday at the Lynn Museum.
The mayor told the gathering of business people and LACC members, “As I stand here today, I can unequivocally say that Lynn is on solid financial ground. We are investing in our future and I am continuing to challenge our workforce to conduct the business of government in a new and fresh manner.”
Kennedy highlighted other achievements including the implementation of “good business practices,” the hiring of a full-time grant writer, and the transparency of Lynn city government.
Kennedy also spoke about such projects as the Commercial Façade Program in the downtown area and the Downtown Community Policing initiative and the success of the shows that have been held at the Lynn Auditorium.
Following is the text of the Mayor’s address:
As I stand here today I can unequivocally say that Lynn is on solid financial ground. We are investing in our future and I am continuing to challenge our workforce to conduct the business of government in a new and fresh manner.
We have $17 million worth of reserves, and our auditors are quick to note that only a handful of communities across the Commonwealth can boast of reserves like this. Our bond rating is steady at BAA1, our health insurance trust fund is running a surplus, and our budget is well without our means.
One of the reasons that our reserves are so robust is that we were able to work collaboratively with our unions, and after many months of coalition bargaining, we were able to produce a $4,000,000 savings in what we fund for health insurance. This agreement will carry us through the next fiscal year without the City having to worry about how to fund health care costs, and without the union memberships having to face joining the government-preferred GIC or some other inferior health insurance program.
Sometimes I ask myself, “Why is Lynn’s financial footing relatively solid, yet when I talk to my fellow Mayors in other cities they are facing tough choices involving layoffs, cutbacks, large tax increases, and the like?” The best answer I have come up with to date is because I have always been willing to look at less-obvious solutions, to consider the road less traveled. When I became Mayor I was constantly asking questions as to why things were being done a certain way. The answer I almost always got was, “That’s they way we’ve always done it.” I am pretty sure that in the last two and half years, that phrase has all but vanished from the patios of City Hall, and everybody from the department heads to the part-time workers has been willing to consider new approaches. To date, we have had some notable success.
Let me offer some examples.