By Joseph Domelowicz Jr.
Lynn City Council President Darren Cyr said Tuesday night that he is “pleased” with the progress that the Mayor, City Council and Chief Financial Officer Peter Carron are making toward closing a gaping budget deficit in the coming year, Fiscal 2018 budget.
Cyr spoke briefly before Tuesday night’s Council meeting about the budget process, a proposed meals tax and other measures that the Mayor and the Council are working on to balance the FY 2018 budget and maintain city services.
“(Mayor Kennedy) has been making a real, unbelievable effort to work with the council and the department heads to find ways to balance this budget and everything is on the table in terms of finding new revenues,” said Cyr. “Even though the final budget is still up to the Mayor, I am pleased.”
The Council’s Committee on Budget met with Chief Financial Officer Peter Carron for about 30 minutes Monday evening to discuss expanding the meals tax in the city of Lynn and other measures, such as a possible trash fee, to close the gap between anticipated revenues and expenses in fiscal year 2018.
“Any of things that are going to be done, they are being reviewed and looked at closely,” said Cyr. “We have to know that if things like a trash fee, or selling public property are going to be used to close the gap, we have to know that they are going to have a real positive impact and brings the highest possible revenues.”
Cyr noted that the Council is working with the Mayor, the City Solicitor’s office and the finance department on a committee to review city owned properties, determine their real value in the market and develop request for proposals (RFPs) to sell those properties to create revenue for the budget.
Revenue collected from the sale of publicly owned property cannot be used to directly pay for operating expenses, but the funds can be used on other budgetary needs, such as capital improvements to buildings. That would allow flexibility to direct more general fund revenues to balancing the operating budget of the city.
Cyr said that the Mayor’s office is not prepared yet to make final all of her budget recommendations for the coming year, but that he fully expects that Mayor’s budget to be presented to the City Council by the end of the May, as is required by city ordinance.
She has until May 30 to present us with her budget for the coming year and then we have 30 days from that time to have a hearing on the budget and ratify it,” said Cyr.