LONDONDERRY — The chairman of the Town Council had some words to share with fellow councilors as the fiscal year ends and a new one begins.
At a meeting June 29, Council Chairman John Farrell took time to read a statement about the course of the Council, its goals, and his hope for continuing respect for each other and a strong continuing commitment to the community.
"The next time the Council meets will be the first meeting of the new fiscal year," Farrell said. "In addition to the individual goals set for each councilor, we as a Council need to set a goal for ourselves."
Farrell went on to say due to the COVID-19 response both as a town and as personal responsibility, councilors should be proud of the stewardship from the group, as well as that of the town manager and his staff, fire and police personnel, and other officials and employees.
But at the same time, Farrell said councilors need to recognize an element of distrust and incidents of incivility that happened over the course of the last several months that reflected poorly on the group.
"As we turn the page to the new fiscal year, we also need to return our focus to our commitment to Londonderry and the people we represent," Farrell said. "We need to establish a smoother path to long term success."
Farrell said the group will sometimes seem like a team of rivals. Sometimes that promotes good decision-making
"However, we need to be able to exchange opinions and resolve conflict in a productive, professional manner while always focusing on the people who elected us to serve," Farrell said. "Personal agendas have no place in this discussion. Neither social media nor the local newspaper is a proper place for a councilor to be expressing the councilor’s opinions about a town issue."
Farrell said the Town Council reaches decisions as a body, not as an "I win." It's the goal, he said, to make Londonderry the best place to live it can be.
"Let’s resolve to all be better, particularly during these challenging times, let's show Londonderry that we are the leaders of the community they elected us to be," Farrell concluded. "And let’s do it together. It’s the way it is supposed to be done."
In other Council business:
— Town Manager Kevin Smith reported the community was doing well as the fiscal year came to an official end June 30.
"We are in excellent financial shape," Smith said, adding revenues were running about $750,000 above projections which Smith said "was financially unthinkable" back in March.
Under expenditures, Smith credited town departments for tightening their belts. The town has also been under a budget freeze since March.
Smith added tax collections were going well. With the new fiscal year underway, the budget freeze would remain through the first quarter.
"It's the best posture to take at this time," Smith said, "to see how revenues are trending."
— Assistant Town Manager Lisa Drabik told councilors that the community may want to watch drought conditions. She said the town enacted an official water restriction ordinance several years ago that could be put back in action if need be.
"The last time we did it we were in a severe drought," Drabik said.
— Drabik also reported that the Old Home Day Committee continues to meet to plan what is to be a one-day festival this August, as opposed to the traditional five-day schedule of events due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"We are looking to put on four activities in one day," Drabik said.
Those activities would be the parade, a road race, benefit first responder softball game, and fireworks in the evening.
The committee meets again on July 16 in the Londonderry High School cafeteria.
"We are hoping folks in the community will still be interested in helping out," Drabik said.