At the fall town meeting on Monday, October 21, town residents will be asked to approve - among other warrant articles - $250,000 for engineering and design services for the proposed athletic field upgrades in town.
A forum held last week hosted by Fields Committee Chairman Arthur Bourque laid out the case for supporting the proposal - which would set the stage for voters to then approve funding for the broader project at the April town meeting. More information from last week's forum can be viewed at this link.
On Friday, David Miller of Lynnfield provided the following letter to local media on why he believes voters should not support the fields project article at next week's town meeting. The complete text is below:
"With the advent of new revenue to the town of Lynnfield we can now plan for Real Estate tax reduction—a concept that is important and deserved by homeowners particularly in light of the approximate 40% increase in the tax levy over the last 10 years. Our new Market Street project and golf courses will in the future provide continuous and stable cash flows.
Though the Market Street funds are not available yet, and to some extent are unknown, there is a rush to spend on new playing fields and capital projects such as new police/fire stations, town hall and library buildings with major technology upgrades. A Capital Needs Committee is just now being formed to put together a comprehensive view of our needs. Approving one of the many potential projects in advance of knowing what the other Town needs and costs are does not make good planning, fiscal or budgetary sense. By so doing we are putting “the cart before the horse”.
What is needed is time to plan—a plan which would balance, over say the next 5 years, Real Estate tax reductions, possible town capital/infrastructure investments [buildings, roads, sidewalks, etc.] against verifiable income, cash flows and total current Town debt and debt capacity. Properly commissioned, the Capital Needs Committee Report will accomplish this.
Informed by the Capital Needs Committee Report we will be able to prioritize and select the investment and tax reduction alternatives which are most important to the Town and which we can afford. Even Town’s have tax and debt capacity limits.
Let us arrest the rush to spend by voting NO on the Fields Article 7 at the upcoming Town Meeting thereby postponing a final decision until after completion of the Capital Needs Committee report. Armed with all the facts the Town Meeting can then make the best decisions for the Town."