Louis Chalifoux calls on councilors to adjust budget expectations to residents' resources. 'You work for us; we don't work for you.'
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Mayor Richard Alcombright laid out a Plan B strategy on Tuesday night of layoffs, furloughs and "devastating" line item cuts that would affect almost every service in the city and wipe $1 million from the budget.
Using the City Council meeting for the first of six planned presentations to convince voters to pass a Proposition 2 1/2 override, the mayor listed some $500,000 in reductions and some 30 full- and part-time job cuts already made from the city and school budgets for next year.
He warned that if the override didn't pass, the city would have to institute two-week unpaid furloughs for nonunion workers, eliminate another 15 positions (including eight teachers) and cut programs such as drama and the Juvenile Resource Center, and implement fees for preschool and athletics. (The full list of reductions totaling $1.13 million are in the mayor's presentation below.)
The city has seen its costs rise even as its state aid has shrunk from 53 percent of its revenues to 45 percent, said Alcombright, or $3.2 million less than four years ago.
"We held this problem at bay with our reserves; our reserves are gone," said Alcombright, summing up with "we need to fix this before we can go forward."
But if the crowd packed into City Hall was any indication, the mayor will have a tough time convincing voters to raise taxes to plug the $1 million hole in the fiscal 2012 budget. A police officer was stationed in the chambers at the council president's request, prompting regular critic Robert Cardimino to accuse the administration of intimidation — especially when he wasn't allowed to bring a sign stating his opposition to the override into the room.
Calls to use what little is left in the city's reserves sparked applause in the council chambers while explanations of the 1 percent raises for city workers met with groans.
Louis Chalifoux urged the City Council to do more research, saying the city had lost population and half of what was left weren't homeowners, putting more of a burden on those who were. "The mayor and the council should go back to work and take look at the resources we have and put together a program based upon that."
The city should assess the larger nonprofits like North Adams Regional Hospital and get payment in lieu of taxes from them, he said, and Alcombright should go to Boston plead for funds.
Others spoke of neighbors who couldn't afford bus fare or medical prescriptions; Ron Gardner said his water bill had already doubled because of recent hikes and the city's services were terrible.
"The people in this city who pay taxes have no incentive to be here anymore," he said. "My personal taxes have almost doubled ... now if this passes, that's an extra $400 a year on my taxes."
Alcombright countered that even with the override passing, North Adams would remain one of the five lowest-taxed communities in the commonwealth.
"It's like paying your mortgage with your savings account, sooner or later you have to find more income or sell the house," he said. "I'm telling you right now I'm doing this because I don't want to sell the house."
Spending down the half-million left in reserves would not restore the millions spent balancing budgets the last few years, he said. "My goal is to build reserves, not to reduce reserves." There's little expectation of more aid from the state this year because Beacon Hill is concentrating on replenishing the "rainy day" it's had to use to get through the recession, said Alcombright.
The mayor and his predecessor John Barrett III continued to play out the 2009 campaign over spending policies. Barrett, who spoke against setting the vote on the override, appeared within minutes of Councilor David Bond saying his administration "mismanaged" the medical insurance trust fund, leaving the city to pay out an $800,000 settlement to clean it up.
Tuesday, May 31, Drury High School
Friday, June 10, Drury High School
Monday, June 13, Greylock Elementary
Wednesday, June 15, Drury High School
Friday, June 17, Greylock Elementary
All presentations begin at 7 p.m.
Barrett vigorously defended himself but the debate between he and Alcombright swiftly turned to "no, I didn't; yes, you did" over various actions taken during Barrett's tenure.
The former mayor said Alcombright hadn't been tough enough with the unions and that it was "unconscionable" to talk about cuts in the school programs when he'd handed the teachers raises.
"If you took all steps to reduce the spending as much as possible I'd be the first to say let's have a Prop 2 1/2 override," claimed Barrett. "However, what I don't understand is why you can give out pay raises and then say, 'let's increase it.'"
Alcombright countered that it was easy to balance a budget when Barrett had millions in reserve at the time. "It's not so easy to cut, but it was very easy to spend these monies down," he said, calling it a "philosophical difference."
"I'm not going to argue but we cannot continue to fund with reserves."
A Kemp Avenue resident said people had to think outside the box.
"It's become way too personalized, you need to think bigger," she said. "I'm on a fixed income, I'm a homeowner, I'm a taxpayer, but I'm willing to pay for someone else's kid to get a good education because that's the most important thing."
In other business, the council passed a compensation plan for a 1 percent retroactive raise (about $9,000 total) for Department of Public Works employees but not without reiterating some of their objections from two weeks ago. The plan passed the second reading 8-1 with Councilor Marie Harpin voting against.
"It's very hard for me to vote for increases when we're laying off people in the city and we're asking the people of the city to vote for an override," she said.
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue. Name-calling, personal attacks, libel, slander or foul language is not allowed. All comments are reviewed before posting and will be deleted or edited as necessary.
Comments are closed for this blog. If you would like to contribute information on this blog, e-mail us at info@iBerkshires.com
Charges for kindergarten? Isn't kindergarten mandatory? If fees will be charged will the section 8 crowd whose kids seem to make up a high percentage of the school population get yet another free ride? How much more will busing cost if we go to a half day for kindergarten?
In defense of John Barrett, he certainly has a way of lying that makes people believe him. Even when it is clear from the State and yes, the A-U-D-I-T, that he screwed up royally. More than screwed up, shall we say --mis...app..rop.....? He did. He wouldn't need to defend himself with such anxiety and anger, if he were correct at all. There is one sign I will be holding on the day of the Prop 2.5 override vote-- "Negative $800,000, Love--JBIII" And, thank you to David Bond for pointing it out. It's nice to see some Councilors stand up to the old bully. Thank you to Mayor Alcombright for taking the time to reflect with oh--facts, figures, and reality. Too bad the public doesn't understand that the cuts are directly linked to years of an artificially low tax rate. The people complaining about a tax hike, will be the first ones to complain when services are cut. The absolute first.
I watched with interest last night's City Council meeting. Mayor Alcombright articulated very well where the City of North Adams stands financially at this time. He has been very transparent in all he has done and needs the support of this community. Nothing is ever easy, but cutting necessary services is never the answer, especially shortchanging our children's future.
Williamstown & Adams are two communities with populations and infrastructure that are incredibly consistent with North Adams, yet do not have full-time fire departments. Recently, a motor vehicle crashed into a home in South Williamstown, the driver was trapped while the house and vehicle burned, yet the gentleman was saved by a volunteer firefighter (so donít buy into the scare tactics)
Its time for N.A. to either run a city ambulance managed by the fire department for profit, or begin to eliminate FD positions. Personally, I like the first option, let the NAFD run EMS calls for profit to avoid lay-offs. However, if the politically connected board of directors for North Adams Ambulance continue to influence City Hall, then fine, then ley Ďem off because we cant afford to have a full-time FD with this small population to respond to fender benders in the Wal-Mart parking lot to justify calls or those out dated fire boxes that are only pulled by intoxicated people looking to pull a prank from the 1970ís!!!
Nice to see the bobbing heads who want to pay more and more and more so that the unions can keep getting their payday from Alcombright are out in force. Maybe you didn't read the article closely enough, but people in this city have had enough of increases. First it's tax up to the levy limit (it's called a limit for a reason folks), then it's raise the water rates, then impose a sewer fee, and now let's cough up another million and change for teachers, police, firefighters and dpw to get raises and not fear layoffs. Why is it that the private sector has had layoffs for three years, pay cuts, furloughs, you name it, but here in lovely union village our city workers haven't lost one job? Sorry, Mayor, but you can implement your scary, scary scenario. The only ones it will frighten are the union workers who refuse to accept concessions.
Editor: The override would permanently increase the tax levy limit. I Agree (0) - I Disagree (0)
Isn't it about time for Mayor Alcombright and Councilor Bond to stop trying to blame former Mayor Barrett for their own inexperience and inability to manage the city's budget? Enough is enough - if you can't do the job, resign. We can't afford any more taxes - period.
I would like to thank John for going to the meeting and speeking out. Councilor bond did try and speek out but when faced with the truth he was soon backed down. As expected the mayor is using scare tatcties. Lets be real, we will still have schools, we will still have police, our roads will still be plowed, the grass will still be mowed, the sky will not fall. So please stop with cheep scare tacties. After all the mayor has shown he has a hard time with the truth. LIKE 1.6 million dollar override not 1.2 million ??? When are we going to be told the truth?????
It's time that JB III just stays away. Why do you think he is showing up? JB III is abrasive and a bully. I believe he is at those meetings to prevent the folks of North Adams from the truth. His years of mismanagement. What is wrong with no tax increase.....nothing but the reality is EVERYTHING cost us more! This should have been a red flag to North Adams. How can JB III not raise taxes ever while running the city cost more, just like our own households? Sounds like something shady?
There just seems to be no end in sight for this Mayor and his tax and fee increases. How many have we had to date, in only a year and a half in office? He has never met an increase he doesn't love. Look at other cities across the state. They are cutting, because they know taxpayers can't afford any more. But here, it's tax, tax, tax, fee, fee, fee. And it won't end here. If he gets his override, he'll then ask for a debt exclusion to pay for the school renovations, because if we don't have those, he'll tell us the kids in our city will all be panhandling for a living due to poor education.
Editor: Cutting through your hyperbole, we would note that the mayor outlined $500,000 in cuts for the next budget, affecting 30 positions, and towns and cities are still raising taxes along with cuts. Opinions are welcome but let's at least acknowledge some facts. I Agree (0) - I Disagree (0)
shut down the parade that will save a lots of money .make cuts right across the board .cuts cuts cuts ,ya never hear of any new jobs coming here no matter how small never any job talk just doom and gloom .i realy would like to see the former mayor and the new mayor work side by side in these bad days and i don,t hear any of the city council people coming up with any new ideas ! but for god sake no more taxs ,iam behind now !!!!!!!!!!!!!
Editor: I have removed the comment claiming Councilor Bond owes back taxes after reviewing the cited document on Masslandrecords and after speaking with Mr. Bond. The document was filed to show that ALL TAXES WERE PAID for past years as part of a refinancing of the property. I suggest commenters make an effort to understand what it is they're looking at before making false allegations. THINK BEFORE POSTING, PEOPLE. I Agree (0) - I Disagree (0)
Wrong, wrong wrong.....look at the MLC...it clearly states, in the 4th column "Total now due" 0.00....an MLC is used to show taxes that are paid/due at the time of a mortgage/sales transaction. Once again anonymity allows people like you to make fools of themselves
If you want facts, Editor, then let's use them. Yes, other cities and towns are raising taxes... to either their levy limit or below that. We've already done that. We're at our limit, and as the former Mayor pointed out last night, there is an option to raise some taxes through another levy limit action in the new budget, as the limit goes up each year. Tell me how many other cities and towns are asking for overrides these days? Also, you may call it hyperbole, but to me it's a fact that I'm paying a lot more for taxes than I did a year and a half ago, a lot more for water, and a new sewer fee. Are these hyperbole? Because when I get my bills, they don't seem to say hyperbole. My "opinion" is backed by facts.
Editor: Cheshire. Mayor Barrett pointed out that the city can raise another $320,000 before hitting the levy ceiling. I found a pretty good website for tracking Prop 2.5 requests. Some cities, like Northampton, passed ORs a couple years ago when the magnitude of state aid cuts became apparent; others cut back on services and personnel. What I've always liked about ORs is that voters decide which way to go. I Agree (0) - I Disagree (0)
If you want facts why are you not giving the real facts. As the former Mayor pointed out this override will result in 1.6 million dollars in new taxes and not the 1.2 million figure we were told. From what I can find North Adams is the only city in the state asking for a 2 1/2 override.
Editor: Arlington is voting on a $6.5 million override (ouch!) on June 7. Hanson defeated an override & a debt exclusion over the weekend. Scituate approved a $2.2M override earlier this month. I Agree (0) - I Disagree (0)
facts: Are you joking? Cheshire is doing it right now... and there are some 20 other communities in MA that have it on the table, coming to a vote.
This override vote is indeed for $1.2M levy limit increase as stated, as per the law.
This is not a raise in taxes of $1.2M, mind you... just the levy limit. Every additional cut or increase in revenue over the next Fiscal Year will decrease the actual amount taxed.
You are correct that there is also an increase to the in taxes to the current levy limit, but it does not total $400k. All of the figures and calculations that the mayor presented last night reflected this fact.
This is a completely false statement. I went to the web site and there are not back taxes. Again (see below)a municipal lien certificate is used to show taxes that are paid/due at the time of a mortgage/sale transaction.
It really reflects poorly on the former Mayor to show up and essentially debate and heckle the seated Mayor. Barrett lost the election. He does not seem to realize his time in the spotlight is done. Of course in a free country he can show up to public meetings and say whatever he wants. But to actually do it shows a real lack of class.
Editor: Well, he pays taxes, too. Though, the debating ... I Agree (0) - I Disagree (0)
I didn't know Cheshire was a city. I don't believe any other CITY in the state is moving ahead with an override. If you know the answer to how much MORE in new taxes are being raised if the override goes through please let us know. One thing for certain it is more than the 1.2 the mayor has been telling us! Also let the editor know that Arlington and Hanson also aren't cities and have Town Managers.
Tammy, if you would like a lesson in how to read documents at the registry let me know...that comment never should have been allowed to go up, that's why i posted my reply under the name idiotuare(translated to the prior poster as idiot you are)
isnt it 1.6 m for North Adams ??? I wonder how many of the cities would still go for an override if they had 4m from timber sales ?? The mayor said he would still go for the override ? Sounds like Greed not need !! VOTE NO
I wonder how the poor schmuck who has to take orders from Mr. Barrett at Berkshire Works feels today after watching JB3's prefect aim at throwing former subordinates under a bus. All I can say is, watch your back.
look a little closer at the numbers dick is showing for his plan B. he is using a bait and switch regarding certain positions not being funded. also, where does the added revenue from the solar arrays play into this?
I hardly call asking a former employee to confirm what you are saying and that you did something legitimate to be throwing them under the bus. People - it is simple. The mayor that you elected has messed up this City big time. I guarantee if people were not so swept up in the grand notion of change for the sake of change we would not be in this mess right now. You all got what you asked for - now open up your pocketbooks, do not expect to see anymore jobs, and continue to watch the City services further decline from the deplorable state they are in now. It is time that the citizens take back the City and get it on the right track. Increasing taxes is not the answer Ė intelligence is.
4 mil in Timber sales? What are you talking about? The City currently has a bid out for a Timber harvest and the City will be lucky to get a few thousand. The lies and the make believe numbers simply cannot compete with the facts.
FACT: JB3 was responsible for the City of North Adams' finances for 26 Years.
FACT: The City of North Adams used it's reserves to fund it's budget and operating expenses.
FACT: JB3 refinanced his Home 21 times in 26 years.
There is no longer anyone to bail the City of North Adams out. No golden parachute from the State. No golden parachute from GFCU. It is time that the City of North Adams Property owners, which include many who have not in the past, provide for the FUTURE of North Adams. Not the future of JB#.
Barrett did not just ask Nancy to confirm his version of events. He made the point of saying it was her signature on the document, NOT HIS! Their is absolutely no doubt what he was trying to do. Unfortunately for John, his schoolyard "It's not my fault, but if it is, you'll get in trouble too" retort was broadcast for all to see. Those who didn't think he was a jerk before have now seen it with their own eyes.
Timber sales as an answer? North Adams sold nearly $4 million of timber land a few years ago and most of it was gone by the time Barrett left office to pay everyday bills. It wasn't used for economic development or major infrastructure projects. Now its gone. I hear spend the reserves, sell the land, and make cuts. That helps for one or two more years the most. Who's fooling who in thinking the economy will be better in 2013. We'll be in the same hole then if we don't get our finances in order now. The entire country is a mess for spending more than it makes. Kudos to Alcombright for trying to manage already limited services with a balanced budget and longterm planning.
The parade is funded by donations solicited by the Chamber of Commerce from business owners!!!!!! The parade just happens to be held here which does contribute to local business on parade day!! Does anyone notice the banners that come before the floats? Those organizations put up the money!!!
if you watched the meeting, when jb asked Ms. Ziter to confirm it, she sat motionless. the second time he \'asked\' she sat motionless again, then jb said it was her signature. Ms Ziter\'s not answering the question, and jb quickly saying that ir was her signature, (blaming her), spoke volumes to me about the fact that the trust WAS underfunded. I only wish we could find out how much it was underfunded for the 20+ years of jbs handiwork.
So, the editor ripped apart a poster yesterday for putting up Mr. Bond's past tax issues, which to his credit he resolved (and the editor was right in pulling it down) Now Mr. Tremblay can throw out how many times the former Mayor refinanced his home and act as if it's a crime, and his comments stay? Maybe we can all look up Mr. Tremblay's past records, which I know have some interesting past tax issues themselves. Get this straight, Chris... refinancing your house, no matter how many times, is your own business, and is actually legal. If I want to refinance my home 100 times, as long as the bank goes along with it, it's fine. It's not some criminal issue or even an implication of one. And yes, the former Mayor was in charge of the city for 26 years, and in that time taxes went up gradually each year. He never imposed a tax to the levy limit, never imposed a large water rate increase, never imposed a new sewer fee, never asked for an override, and wouldn't have without first seeing what the council could trim from the budget. As a former councilor, you Mr. Tremblay should be irritated that the body you once served on didn't even have the chance to review the budget and trim it before being asked to approve a vote to raise taxes significantly.
Editor: Mr. Bond had no past tax issues, that was the point. I Agree (0) - I Disagree (0)
Chris Tremblay has spent most of his adult life trying to tear other people down. He was a one termer on the City Council because of his actions. Chris there are a lot of things in your closet that people could write about but they don't. Stand for something without being a mean spirited person as it no example for your child to see. The meaness which has taken over North Adams is sickening and people should stop it now before more damage is done to our city.
Its RIDICULOUS to cut things at Drury. Just because the mayor is an alum on McCann is crap. How about cut the police/fire/city councilors, etc. Cut programs at Drury, foolish! This is the ONLY college preparitory school in NA, give me a break.
Now the Transcripts is in on scare tatics. Sports programs will stop ?? This is bleow even the transcript. No wonder they have a hard time selling at half price. The mayor said , if you can believe anything he says. Nothing is final yet. So who did the transcript get it's
information from. The mayor is giving out raises and in the same breath talking about layoffs ??? So please stop with the chidish scare tactics.
The City does contribute about $10,000 a year to the FF Parade, and also contributes to the parade in many ways other than just financially. However, there are also costs involved with setting up the bleachers, clean up, etc. because the City has to pay the City Yard crew, and they do an excellent job. Thank you City Yard!
The future of North Adams is us, the voters. Once you have paid all of your taxes, and creditors, then maybe you can tell us how you think we should spend our money. Until then, maybe you should practice what you preach.
Yes, Wayne. We will cut nearly a million from the budget and nothing will change. It will all be perfect. Nobody will get laid off. Class sizes will not rise. Subjects and extra curricular activities that are not required by the state will continue without fees. Blah blah blah blah
It will all happen by magic because Tinkerbell says if you close your eyes and wish really hard, people will work for free and equipment and supplies miraculously pay for themselves!
The only person scaring anyone is your buddy Bob with fictional stories of cat food and no medicine. (unless, of course, those people have never heard of food stamps or Medicare Part D.)
To right, anyone that has followed N A politics for the past 30 years knows that nothing that came out of city hall was not gone over with a microscope by jb3. He's a beauty he hired her 3 years ago she was going to fix everything
Let me try common sense. If the mayor had a child that he gives an allowance and a credit card to , what woud he say if after 16 months the child came back and said. I need more money . The allowance you gave me isn't enough and I have maxed out the credit card you gave me. I sure he would ask why. The answer , well I gave my friends money because they have a mortgage to pay and do not make much money. Also you do not give me the same allowance as kids that live in Williamstown and Adams. Would he sell his assets and give more money or tell the child , if she wanted to give friends money and spend follishly she would have to find a way to pay for it herself out of her allowance ??? VOTE NO !!!!
Just me . When someone takes a job they are told what the pay will be, so they do have a chance to say NO thanks. And the average pay increase for a teacher in Ma. over 10 years 35% , sorry no tears. VOTE NO
Editor: Because YouTube will only allow us to upload 15 minutes. The question-and-answer was awkward because you really couldn't see who was asking questions so I didn't record the whole thing. I do have the part between Barrett and Alcombright but the camera is on Alcombright for almost the whole time because I was taking notes. I could post that part if people are interested. I Agree (0) - I Disagree (0)
Wayne - What was the wage growth specifically for North Adams teachers in the past decade? Inflation was 25%. Did their wages keep up?
When I hire people, I tell them how raises are achieved and when they happen. Then again, so does WalMart. At the minimum they get a cost of living adjustment every year (never had a year without one) and usually something based on performance.
Long term employees do reasonably well. Nobody is getting rich, but we are staying ahead of the game. Most people are. I know that a minority are not, but then again, this is America where we have winners and losers by definition. That's one of the reasons we have a social safety net and provide basic services like education, to keep people from falling through the cracks.
It's always education that pays the price..our children's education should be a TOP priority. As a parent I find it very sad and am concerned about the educations My children are getting. This is not the answer
S.O.S (Save Or Schools). Why should the budget be taken out on our schools. The residents of North Adams should remember that the children of this city deserve the best education they can get. After all one of them could be mayor some day. Lets take a closer look at the city budget... do we really need a consultant to the city engineer, does the city really have to call back a retired person to answer the phone to send out the plows. I think not! More cuts could be made right at City Hall. All I ask as a resident and tax payer is to take a closer look at the budget.
Word on the street is that ALL the teachers in NA are getting layoff notices. Scare tactics? Politics? How do the powers that be think the students will hear this message?? Let's pass the override and then send a message in the fall during the upcoming election. IS there a third mayoral choice out there??? We need one!!
The law says you have to give notice, even if you don't know who or what you are going to cut. Hence, if you don't know what's going to happen, you blanket everybody with a notice to make sure.
I have no idea if what you wrote is true, but it would not surprise me if the district is just covering its bases.
For those wondering why the schools get hit hard, they are just under half of the total city budget. All departments are getting cut, schools just have a much bigger slice of the pie.
If you really have ideas on where to save, or what priorities you think should come first, send Dick an email or call his office. He is nothing, if not sincere. He'll listen to honest feedback. It seems to have changed his mind on Sullivan School, it will definitely have an influence on the budget, with or without an override.
Renee What are you talking about ??? What price did education ever pay ?? The mayor is taking of the teachers with a pay raise. So don\'t listen to the scare tactics that are being put out for that reason. Your children will still get an education . The mayor has money , otherwise how would he be able to give raises not only to the teachers but also the dpw. Stop and think about it and then VOTE NO !!!
This Mayor has got to go NOW! What he is doing to our city is a disgrace and an embarrassment. The teachers were sold down the river by their last two Presidents and now their hero Dick is throwing them under the bus. It is nothing more then scare tactics on Alcombright's part and he should be ashamed at what he is doing. I would also ask that people not lump teachers in with the fools they have running their union. The last president sold them down the river and then retired. Now President Chilson, an Alcombright lover, is doing the same thing as she prepares to retire this year. I feel for the teachers who are going this. Rest assured these tactics will not work even though the override will fail. State law will stop Alcombright and Montepare from gutting our school system. How ironic that the union played a role in defeating the former Mayor who would never would have allowed this to happen. As I told my friends who are teachers, be careful of what you wish for.
95% of the teachers are smart enough to know how our city and schools got into this position, and it sure as heck was not Alcombright. Don't forget that the president and officers of the NATA are elected by a majority of their peers and can be removed by the same.
If the override fails, all departments get cut, not just the schools.
some young kid tore off the front bumper section of my car. Immediately, there were 2 fire engines, ambulance and the police. No one was even slightly injured. Can anyone tell me what that cost the taxpayers? A big crowd of municipal employees for a fender bender - real stupid
gottacts The school must be in a very good pisition to give out raises . Didn't someone say the school had nine hundred thousand dollars ?? And it sure the heck was not Alcom bright ?? And no the sky will not fall if the override fails .
Editor: As the mayor explained last Tuesday, the school choice funds will be used to maintain certain programs over the next two years. I Agree (0) - I Disagree (0)
The school choice reserves are going to keep SPED compliant with minimal service standards mandated by law. And that is the fund that North Adams uses to pay for all the kids who "choice" out of the district. Expect that number to go up dramatically.
Gotta You prove my point( the school must be in a better position that the mayor has been telling everyone. ) They have enough money for raises and have nine hundred thousand in the bank. Thanks for helping prove a point. VOTE NO !!!
Gosh I guess that means the Mayor is planning on using reserves. I thought he was against using reserves. Also I believe it was the former Mayor who alerted the Council to these funds and not one City Councilor knew about school choice money nor did the Mayor for that matter. If he did he certainly never told anyone about it. So much for transparency. It is a good thing he has the Editor around to explain what he means or he would really be in trouble.
The school has nine million in the bank, teachers are getting a raise ?? The mayor is trying to spread scare tactics by saying he will have to lay off teachers. What the mayor is doing sure seems like Blackmail .
THE Mayor has said he is against spending the reserves down to zero. He is NOT against using reserves as they should be used. He used reserves last year to balance the budget. And they have been used for the past 4 budgets. THAT IS WHY THERE IS VERY LITTLE MONEY LEFT IN THEM.
This $900,000 "in the bank", always was being used in next year's budget. It is not newly found money or money that was hidden away, which is what you so disingenuously imply.
The city still has a gaping hole, even when they spend almost $700,000 of the $900,000.
It is not blackmail. If the money is not there, it is not there. If Prop 2 1/2 fails, the money to fund what we currently have will not be available. Wayne, you, of all people, the one who writes that we shouldn't spend money we don't have, should understand that.
If you and other Tea Party types want "smaller government", this is what it looks like. Duh.
ugh I admitted I was wrong , if you untwist your panties and read the comment. The mayor or your boss was off 400,000 and you didn't mention that. I guess progressives are like that. If you and others have a need for goverment to tell you what and how to do everything that is fine with me . Smaller goverment is just what AMERICANS WANT.!!!
FYI Mr.Bond the teachers union in an act of good faith did not seek reimbursement of the $800,000 because Mayor Alcombright said it would bankrupt the city. These same people have been asked to give up their raises of 1% another sign of good faith! They are being rwarded with the promise of recieving rif letters as soon as tomorrow! Nice showing of good faith by this administration. These letters are going to every virtually all school department employees (principals being the exception). I am not a school employee but wonder who will be teaching our youth next year?
Editor: I believe it is part of the contract for all teachers to be notified of reductions. I know it's happened this way in the past. I Agree (0) - I Disagree (0)
Just to clear up a couple of things ugh. There were no reserves used to balance the budget last year from what I can see. What Alcombright used was referred to as the Broad Brook sale of land fund and it looks like thats all he used if I'm reading it right. At the Council meeting he said he wanted to tax us to build up the reserves and so he could have them available for an emergency. What does he call what we are in now? I don't want smaller taxes, I want a Mayor and City Council who is not going to tax me to build up reserves so the Mayor can give it to the unions. If the money was not there Ugh, why did he agree to give pay raises? Hang in there teachers because he is just using scare tactics and in the end it will be fine. Chilson doesn't care because she is gone just like the president of the union before her. He sold you out just like she did. It is just too bad that you are being used as pawns by a Mayor who is in over his head.
Editor: The land sale account has been also been referred to as the reserve account. Some $800,000 was taken out of that account last year to balance the 2011 budget. The previous teachers' union president is still working in the school system; his term as union president expired. I Agree (0) - I Disagree (0)
What is it about the teacher's union that makes some people lose their minds?
If I understand correctly, the city borrowed the $800,000 under special legislation from Boston, to pay back the city employees who had paid too much money for their insurance over the previous several years. This was far less than the 7 figure number that the real overwithholding cost.
That was very gracious of the teachers to not take us to court for the rest, but nobody was sold out.
As for the current raise controversy, it's already in the contract. If they don't want to give it back, they don't have to.
and gee -
The one large reserve left, the School Choice Reserve, is already being used next year. There are no other funds to use. The city is selling land, again, to raise some money. It's not enough.
John Barrett has seemingly convinced people that there is magic money hidden in this city. After reading the audits and the budgets, it's very clear that the money to pay for next year is not there.
Those who think we should spend all the accounts down to zero don't know a darn thing about wrecked credit ratings, bond defaults, receivership, etc... That is exactly the territory where John Barrett's fiscal prescriptions would lead. Part of me wonders if he wants Dick to follow his "advice" so the state will come in and take over. As it is now, the state thinks Dick is doing an outstanding job with his budgets. True story.
If your going to be the Mayor's mouth piece please try to get your facts right. The reserve accounts are not down to zero as you claim. If Barrett is wrong about one claim he made regarding the money in each account he mentioned at the city council meeting then tell us how much is in each account. Not one word was ever mentioned about the School Choice account until Barrett brought it up. The Mayor and Council sat there with blank stares on their faces when informed about the amount of money in this account. What you and the others don't seem to understand is that Barrett was there for 20 plus years and now you want us to believe that all the accountants, treasurers and state regulators who had review of the city finances never found anything wrong until now. Please give us a break! Next you will be trying to convince us that he paid off the auditors who use to audit the books. Alcombright can put up all the smoke screens he wants but at the end of the day the man has a problem understanding anything about the city's finances. Also rather strange is why would he keep Nancy Ziter as his top financial advisor who also worked closely with Barrett. And the comedy show at City Hall goes on!
Prediction for tonight's meeting: Mayor will enlist his supporters, who will try to monopolize the question time.
Note: To anyone there challenging the mayor: Please ask for the mayor to provide a line item of the budget sorted by expenditure highes to lowest the city has to pay. Then lets pick items from that list, and not just default to the school.
I agree that we should use all the reserves. Every damn penny of it. Then lets borrow, borrow, borrow. It's worked well for the federal government? When something major does need repairs, replacing, and we don't have penny to our name we can thank those who wanted us to use up all our .02 percent of reserves we have left.
FYI, the teachers never went after the 800,000 dollars. The mayor asked the teacher's union to speak with the teachers and asked us "as a show of good faith" not to go after the money because the city could not afford it. The teachers voted in favor of NOT going after the money.
The teacher's contract was settled over a year ago and they are now being asked not to take their raise! Please keep in mind that the teachers in North Adams are paid less that the surrounding communities!
:: Preliminary Election: Deadline to register is Wednesday, Sept. 7. (Office open from 8 to 8.)
:: General Election: Deadline to register is Tuesday, Oct. 18
Registration can be completed at the city clerk's office at City Hall.
Absentee ballots are now available at the city clerk's office for the Sept. 27 preliminary city election. Voters may come in between the hours of 8 and 4:30 weekdays. Written reguests for mailed ballots can be sent to City Clerk's Office, 10 Main St., North Adams, MA 01247. Deadline for absentee ballots is Monday, Sept. 26, at noon.
The preliminary election will be held Tuesday, Sept. 27, to narrow the field of three mayoral candidates to two. The general election to select nine city councilors and a mayor will be held Tuesday, Nov. 8.