Fiscal Year 2020 and calendar year 2020 were like no other due to the pandemic. The costs, grants, other funds and regulations changed daily. The employees of the Town of Nahant as well as the committees, elected officials and volunteers handled these unprecedented times exceptionally well. Sometimes it takes times like these to notice what wonderful and dedicated people we work with daily. Many schools and town halls were closed, but Nahant kept things going and worked even harder. The police, fire, emergency management and DPW handled all the PPE, grants, questions and fears exceptionally well. The council on aging did a fantastic job taking care of our seniors. The library found innovative ways to offer services to our residents. We had our first town meeting outside behind the fire station. We had monthly budgets for four months and the annual budget was voted at the annual town meeting. That was five budgets approved by the Department of Revenue for one year. The board of selectmen, finance committee, town moderator, town clerk, community preservation committee as well as all employees and volunteers handled their duties during this pandemic well. Tony Barletta led us through the ever changing issues and still continues to do so. As a fellow employee and resident, thank you all! Masks on all the while.
This is my last report as I am retiring on January 31, 2021. It has been a pleasure serving my home town. I have met so many wonderful, dedicated people through it all and I have appreciation for the concerned citizens as well as the employees and volunteers of our little town.
Fiscal Year 2020 saw the lowest percentage of collections, during my twenty-six years due to people losing jobs and fear, but the treasurer/collector’s office did a fine job. It was beneficial that we estimated the revenue conservatively and that the departments heeding Tony’s spending freeze. Every department needed to help offset the revenue shortage from our biggest revenue source, real estate taxes. Due to these efforts by all, the Certified Free Cash is $805,111. (Free Cash is the fund balance less mandated state adjustments-See next page.) This was $183,189 more than last year. We must continue to be careful in order to grow and avoid a free cash deficit. The Town’s revenue budget is only an estimate. This revenue budget is what supports the appropriation budget. It is prudent to use free cash available for any revenue deficits, other unforeseen events that can occur and capital improvements. The future years may require reduced appropriations and/or an override. The certified Water/Sewer Enterprise Fund balance is $275,976 and the Rubbish Enterprise Fund balance is $221,416 for Fiscal Year 2020.
Thanks again to all who have worked to maintain a positive fund balance again in FY 20. Special thanks to all of the department heads who work diligently to stay within their budgets and make necessary cuts and all of the dedicated people who donate so much of their time to make Nahant a better place.
The town’s outstanding debt as of 6/30/20 is $11,365,919 – $2,689,630 is in long-term debt and $8,676,289 is in temporary short-term debt. The Authorized and Unissued Debt totals $9,900 as detailed in the attached Statement of Indebtedness. During Fiscal Year 2020 the board of selectmen, the finance department and the finance committee have tried their best to support necessary capital improvements with minimal borrowing, stabilize the water and sewer rates and rubbish rates and maintain a stabilization fund, all the while supporting ever increasing budgets for a better Nahant. These are great goals that took a tremendous deal of planning and hard work and have become impossible to attain.
Our infrastructure has been deteriorating rapidly, as shown with Storm Riley and the water and sewer breaks. We have borrowed for capital and therefore are paying interest over the term of the borrowings for our capital. We use some free cash for our operating budget. We must have funds in savings and buy capital without borrowing. We must balance our budget without free cash. Most of the Town’s revenue comes from real estate taxes. We receive a small percentage of state aid compared to most communities. We have little new growth with no place to grow.
On the following pages are reports that cover the twelve-month period from July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020. (FY 20) Please take time to review these reports. Additional information or clarification desired by a Nahant resident will be gladly furnished upon a written request.
Due to the pandemic, the town has not yet completed the annual audit, at the time of going to the printer for this report. It has begun, but like all things during these times, the auditors are behind schedule. This report includes financial reports completed in-house.
Also, the FY 2021 appropriated budget and expenditures are included at the end of this report. The actual expenditures are through 12/31/20.
A very special thank you to Lisa Arena, assistant accountant. Also, a special thank you to Miranda Nocera for all you have done for the Town this year. We have had many issues and transitions this past year. Thank you to our town administrator, Antonio Barletta and his assistant, Kristen Taylor. They are both full of enthusiasm and have been working diligently to improve Nahant. I am also so grateful to Brendan Carritte, Kathy Famulari and Kim Koscilecki for all the hard work in the treasurer/collector’s office. Mary Lowe has been a big help with all the FEMA and CARES reporting as well as her regular duties. Sheila Hambleton has been a valuable employee to the Town’s finance team for many years. Welcome to Diane Dunfee, our new town clerk. Happy retirement to Peggy Barile. Of course, thanks to all the members of Town Hall staff, including Linda Peterson, Joyce Haynes, Carol Nelson and Kim Campo. Thanks to all of the staff and volunteers in the council of aging, especially this year. The public safety and school departments are also on the top of the thank you list this year. Welcome Zach Taylor as DPW Superintendent and thanks to you and your department. Congratulations to Chief Palombo, Nahant’s new fire chief! Welcome to Alison Nieto, Nahant’s Finance Director! You have your work cut out for you, but will do a great job. Also, I can’t forget to thank Tom Mazzaferro for keeping the townhall clean and sanitized and working around all the papers in my office.
Deborah A. Waters