FY 17 Free Cash Certification

posted Jan 18, 2018, 1:57 PM by Jason Hoch

DOR has certified our free cash for the end of the last fiscal year. Free cash is our undesignated fund balance. It is used when budgeting to offset tax impact, both operationally and for certain non-recurring expenses. A portion is also reserved each year to remain in "float" as this also covers routine cash flow since revenues do not always neatly align with expenses.  When we use it to smooth over tax impacts for routine operations, best practice is not to dramatically increase the use to offset recurring expenses as there is no guaranty that it is replenished in the following year. The majority of free cash comes from revenues that overperform expectations when budgeting and from approved appropriations unspent. We finished the year having committed approximately 95% of appropriations which is in a reasonable place to be. Spending closer to that limits our ability to deal with uncertainty and spending significantly less (i.e. 85% or less) would imply we are raising more than necessary to meet our operational needs. 

This year, the Accounting Office, at my urging, has been working to clean up a variety of lingering entries on our balance sheets of specific purpose funds, for which the purpose may have long expired.  Some of these are eligible to lapse to free cash. As we sort through those opportunities, any lapses to free cash are really one time events, so we will see an jump in free cash with that work.

To that end, for FY 17, the underspend and a portion of overperforming revenues offset our commitment of free cash in the budget process ($486,368), with additional revenues, particularly in building department fees and earnings on investments, pushing this year's number higher. In addition, the reclassification of encumbered funds, yielded around $400,000 in additional free cash this year.

All of this is a preface to explain that our general fund free cash for FY 17 increased by approximately $800,000 from the prior year, from $748,291 to $1,586,087.

It is also worth nothing that the Sewer and Water Enterprise funds also carry a good amount of free cash. This allows them the flexibility to be prepared to fund major capital expenditures as well as how we have been able to hold rates flat while still maintaining the system .

Massachusetts Department of Revenue Division of Local Services
Christopher C. Harding, Commissioner
Sean R. Cronin, Senior Deputy Commissioner of Local Services



Based upon the un-audited balance sheet submitted, I hereby certify that the amount of available funds or "free cash" as of July 1, 2017 for the Town of Williamstown is:

General Fund        $1,586,087.00
Enterprise Fund  Sewer    $1,059,310.00
Enterprise Fund  Water    $1,849,187.00
Enterprise Fund  Landfill    $48,878.00

This certification is in accordance with the provisions of G. L. Chapter 59, §23, as amended.

Certification letters will be emailed to the mayor/manager, board of selectmen, prudential committee, finance director and treasurer immediately upon approval, provided an email address is reported in DLS' Local Officials Directory. Please forward to other officials as you deem appropriate.


Director of Accounts signature

Mary Jane Handy
Director of Accounts
Massachusetts Department of Revenue

Steinerfilm assistance 1/12

posted Jan 17, 2018, 8:40 AM by Jason Hoch

The combination of warm weather and ice melt on 1/12, led to a ice damming situation along Broad Brook by railroad trestle. This caused water to backup filling in the access driveway to Steinerfilm. DPW mobilized their Army truck to evacuate employees and we transported them to other rides/Town Hall with Council on Aging van. Once the ice dam was cleared by Pam Am (only real access was from the top on their railroad), DPW was able to clear debris that accumulated under bridge.

Sale of Solar Credit capacity

posted Jan 16, 2018, 10:34 AM by Jason Hoch

You may recall that earlier this year I mentioned that our solar consultant, Beth Greenblatt, had introduced me to firm that was looking to use some of our allocation of solar credits (recall that by registering with the state to manage the credits coming off the landfill project, we had credit capacity beyond what was necessary locally). At the time, we knew that it was speculative as to whether the company would be able to proceed with their project within the program deadlines. They have advised that they will not be able to proceed within the necessary timeframe and thus will not need to buy credit capacity from us. Beth continues to look for other potentially interested parties with whom we can partner.

Police Station

posted Dec 22, 2017, 6:57 AM by Jason Hoch

The project team for the Police Station design had a marathon session on 1/18 working through site issues, room layout and function and specifications for each room.  Things are moving very well and it appears that we are still on track to meet the aggressive timetable I've proposed. I'm very pleased with the progress so far and the input of both the architect and the owner's project manager.

We've had a rundown of all building systems operation from Turner House's manager, in preparation for taking ownership of the property.

The attorneys are working through paperwork associated with closing and we should be on track to close on the property by the end of the month.

Bike Path Update

posted Dec 20, 2017, 12:11 PM by Jason Hoch


posted Jul 13, 2017, 8:14 AM by Jason Hoch

December Sales Report attached.

Council on Aging

posted Jul 10, 2017, 11:31 AM by Jason Hoch   [ updated Jan 22, 2018, 9:16 AM ]

The eldest Williamstown resident and holder of he Boston Post Cane, Marion Shaw, has passed. Mrs. Shaw was 104 years old. Her late husband, Alex John Shaw, a former basketball coach at Williams, had also held the cane as Williamstown's eldest.The husband and wife duo of cane holders is truly unique and whether this scenario has been repeated anywhere else is unknown.
Town Clerk Mary Kennedy has provided information on the Towns eldest residents to COA Director Brian O'Grady and the process for naming a new cane recipient is under way. The eldest receives a certificate identifying as the eldest and his/her name is engraved on the plaque identifying them as eldest. The cane itself remains on permanent display at the Harper Center and is  no longer actually given out.

Appointment slots for the annual AARP Tax Aide program are filling quickly this year. AARP Tax Aide program provides free assistance to tax payers of moderate means to complete and file their 2017 state and federal income taxes. Sessions with a certified tax aide take approximately one hour, are always on Tuesday evening  and reservations are required. This is a first come, first serve service and appointments can be made by calling the COA at 458.8250. Participants are asked to bring their 2016 tax return and any pertinent 2017 paperwork with them to their session.

The Matter of Balance class, also known as MOB returns to Harper for the 6th time in February. matter of balance is a cutting edge program which focuses entirely on avoiding falls thru awareness of ones surroundings and core strengthening exercises designed to be easily completed at home. Sessions begin Monday morning, February 5th at 9:00, last for 2 hours and run for 8 weeks. call the Harper Center for information, 458.8250

Town Clerk

posted Jun 7, 2017, 10:12 AM by Jason Hoch

The 2018 Annual Street Listing (Census) will be mailed to all residents  the first week of January.   Residents are urged to return them promptly.   

Community Development

posted May 23, 2016, 5:48 AM by Jason Hoch

Police Department

posted Mar 10, 2016, 8:34 AM by Jason Hoch   [ updated Jan 22, 2018, 7:11 AM ]

TM REPORT 012218

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