Library's Expansion | Newspaper Articles
City revels in free cash - Leominster has $6M available
Matthew Bruun, Worcester Telegram & Gazette, November
LEOMINSTER - The city has almost $6 million in certified
free cash, clearing the way for Mayor Dean J. Mazzarella's
plan to pay off a cost overrun for the public library
building project. The mayor also plans to ask the City
Council to approve using the money for millions of dollars
in capital expenses.
City Councilor Dennis A. Rosa, who heads the council Finance
Committee, said he anticipated a higher than normal figure
for free cash after reviewing the city's balance sheets.The
Web site for the state Department of Revenue's Division of
Local Services lists certified free cash for Leominster at
$5,943,576 for fiscal 2007, which started July 1. It's one
of the highest free cash figures in the state and the
highest in the region.
Fitchburg, by comparison, has certified free cash of
$333,440, while Worcester has $2,101,529, according to the
"It takes discipline by all and it's a team effort," Mr.
Mazzarella said last night.
"We're in good financial condition and this proves it," Mr.
So-called free cash includes unexpended funds collected in
the previous fiscal year. In this case, Mr. Rosa said, the
figure was likely boosted by new growth in the city and an
increase in state revenue.
The mayor said the sum also included reimbursements for
The city typically taps free cash, also referred to as the
city's excess and deficiency account, to pay for snow and
ice removal or one-time capital costs.
Regarding the library, Mr. Mazzarella has proposed
short-term borrowing to pay for the $1.3 million overrun,
but will channel $400,000 of the free cash to pay off the
first year's interest, with an eye toward using free cash to
pay off the remainder of the loan over the next seven to 10
Councilors had sought to use some of the forthcoming free
cash to help pay down the $1.3 million overrun.
Mr. Mazzarella said he couldn't promise any such move until
the city's free cash had been certified by the Department of
Revenue and pressed councilors to authorize him to borrow
the required funds.
He is also asking the council to approve numerous capital
projects, including a new ambulance, police cruisers and a
sander for the Department of Public Works. Roof repairs at
Leominster High School are also part of his request,
submitted after the free cash figure had been certified.
"Free cash is for one-time appropriations," the mayor said,
suggesting the funds shouldn't be used to balance the
Mr. Rosa said he supports the mayor's plan for using the
The capital projects will be on the council agenda Monday
night, but are expected to be referred to a committee for