The City Auditor and CFO would both have you believe their tall, sanctimonious tales of fiscal accountability, always quick to wave Standard and Poors around or anything else that sounds officious.
All the hype around so-called free cash is misleading in a major way. Sure, no responsible budgeting should leave no reserves for emergencies, settlements (there are many more in Melrose than are ever disclosed), staffing issues. But that is only one little strand of the story.
The $2.4 million that the brouhaha is about right now is the remainder of last October's $3.5 million. There will be at least that much, and likely a great deal more come this October 30.
What isn't being said is that the same people who cried wolf about shutting down the Milano Ctr or stopping the filling of potholes or watering the hanging plants on Main Street--all unethical scare tactics by the unethical ONE cabal and the city governance (all of it, except MM)--knew full well that this money was sitting there and fully available for the pet projects now being unveiled (and votes being bought in plain view). Sure, it's not fiscally responsible to commit to hiring new staff on one-time leftover funds, but all these other threats were totally disingenuous manipulation tactics because they all knew the money would be there for those minor expenses. Sure, the school system may very well need more money for the 11% raises (over 3 years, on top of the 3-25% raises in the most recent contract), but that isn't the full truth, and PDR knew this full well, as did every one of those "responsible" for budgeting.
The bigger point is that budgeting is a total shell game and sham in Melrose, and that's what should be getting the attention, along with the many many correct things that people like Gerry Mroz have brought to our attention over the last decade. That $5 million NOT spent on school security is a big deal because everyone who claimed those line items were correct (CFO, City Auditor, Mayor, BOA, SC, and certainly CT) knew full well that the budgets as presented are full of outrageous lies and gaping holes of vague blanket "projections" instead of actual truthful numbers. Melrose city administration lies through its proverbial teeth, and they do it with the full support of the SC and BOA, meaning there are in effect zero checks and balances coming from that direction. The public is the only check or balance left, and except for Gerry and a handful of others, Melrose is pathetic and needs to clean up its act.