The city could get specific on its savings policy if the City Council approves a measure proposed by Councilor Sara-Lynn Reynolds. She faces opposition from the council president and the head of the budget committee.
Although the council approved a measure last month calling for the city to increase targets for cash reserve accounts, Reynolds said at last week's meeting this was "kind of just a fluff policy, there was nothing really set in stone." She has proposed the outline of an ordinance that she said would "put more teeth to it."
Reynolds' proposal states, "The city of Attleboro requires and must maintain a cash reserve policy that includes stated targeted balances for the stabilization fund and other reserve funds or a percentage of the total annual budget/revenues must be stated as a projected target balance and a schedule of annual appropriations citing actual dollar amounts will be presented that will be reviewed biennially."
The council voted to forward her proposal to the council's Committee on Budget & Appropriations for review. Committee Chair Brian Kirby said he was "concerned" about the measure.
"If we set out an ordinance and then we don't have a good season or we have [local aid cuts], I'd hate to have an ordinance that states that we have to set money aside and possibly cut positions," Kirby said.
Councilors Richard Conti and Jonathan Weydt were more enthusiastic about the concept, with both making positive comments. Weydt said he "loved" the idea and wished he had proposed it.
"I think it's a plus for the city and probably the treasurer as well," Weydt said. "I just can't wait to have a discussion on it."
Not sharing their enthusiasm was Council President Frank Cook, who was behind the measure approved by the council last month. He calmly said he disagreed with Reynolds' characterization of it as "fluff." She then said she may have used a poor choice of words, but stood by her statement that the approved measure was not strong enough.
While Cook was calm in his criticism during the meeting, he apparently was not once the DoubleACS cameras turned off. Sources say Cook yelled at Reynolds and Weydt after the meeting as people walked through City Hall headed toward the election's office to see the results. His screams were so loud, sources say, that Council Vice President Peter Blais had to intervene to calm the scene.