Do you remember where you were in 1993?
That's the question Mayor Linda Tyer asked in her office Wednesday morning. Because 1993 was the last time the tax bill for the average single-family home in Pittsfield decreased. It was 2007 when the city's tax rate had declined from the previous year.
During Monday's annual town meeting, the 104 present members out 150 passed the bulk of the 25 articles in the first few minutes of the meeting that lasted just over an hour. However, they pumped the brakes on Article 6, the town administrator salary, which narrowly passed with 17 votes.
The City Council is reviewing the mayor's proposed $167.6 million spending plan.
The budget reflects a $2.8 million, or 1.8 percent, increase from the current year. The city's appropriation will be $159.9.
The proposed operating budget is requested to be $148,465,621, which is $3.4 million more than last year, and the enterprise account budgets are eyed to be $11,531,024, which is a $154,529 increase. Those account for the $159,996,645 the City Council needs to appropriate.
The bottom line was actually $827 lower than the figure initially provided to the council as a final number, reflecting two errors ($815 in public safety and $12 in FICA) that were caught by Councilor Marie T. Harpin's sharp eyes prior to Tuesday. (The budget will be posted to the city's website once the corrections are finalized.)
The School Committee on Monday approved a $17.7 million budget for fiscal 2019 that is up just under 2 percent from this year.
The City Council is expected to approve the school budget Tuesday night as part of the city's overall spending plan for fiscal 2019.
In other business last week, the committee appointed Boulger and Chairman and Mayor Thomas Bernard to the Shared Services Subcommittee made up of the Northern Berkshire school districts.
The creation of this subcommittee came out of the discussions of possibly sharing a superintendent with the Adams-Cheshire Regional School district.
The City Council is in favor of the proposed $8.8 million capital budget for the city. But, the required supermajority wasn't in favor of a $4 million capital budget for the enterprise accounts.
The enterprise capital plan, which is for sewer, wastewater, and water, was shot down by four City Councilors. Councilor At Large Melissa Mazzeo questioned a $675,000 item for upgrades to the wastewater treatment center and $2.4 million for sewer pipe repairs prior to the start of the $74 million upgr
The Mount Greylock Regional School Transition Committee on Thursday decided to take its case to the floor of Lanesborough's town meeting in order to secure the funding it requested from the town.
At issue is about $112,000, the figure that Lanesborough's Finance Committee decided to unilaterally cut from the assessment the regional school district made to the town.
The 53 voters in attendance worked through some 17 articles over an hour and 20 minutes, passing every one of them and raising only a few questions. The longest discussion was related to appropriations from the sewer enterprise fund and had to do with ratepayers having to pick up the slack from delinquent payments.
The town election is Tuesday, May 29, from noon to 7 p.m. at the Senior Center; the annual town meeting is Wednesday, May 30, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the elementary school. The Select Board will meet at the school at 6 p.m. to conduct business.
Town officials voted to include anticipated tuition revenue from New Ashford in the Mount Greylock Regional School budget, against the school official's advice.
Mount Greylock had put forth a budget aimed to keep the town's contribution for Lanesborough Elementary School flat. But, there is still uncertainty around whether or not New Ashford will continue to send their children to the district. The district is raising tuition for New Ashford and next week residents there will decide whether o
The administration proposal had been for a flat sticker price of $60 a year for everyone; eliminate temporary and half-year stickers in favor of a single user-fee; and adjust the hours of operation. The flat rate would translate to a reduction of $12,725 in revenue for next year.
State Rep. John Barrett is making a statement with a budget amendment for regional transit.
Barrett said one penny on the sale tax ends up in the hands of the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority and the rest of the regional transit authorities are getting shortchanged. This year the Berkshire Regional Transit Authority is considering hiking fares and reducing services as costs have increased but state support has remained level for the third consecutive year.
State Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli's top budget priority isn't a surprise: Berkshire Youth Development.
The Lenox Democrat has prioritized programs such as the Railroad Street Youth Project for a number of years. And now, he's requesting more state funding to expand that into a countywide effort.
Canales said department heads will be queried about fee structures so they can be built into the fiscal 2020 budget. He said the two separate inspection departments will probably be moved into one department.
Each representative across the Commonwealth filed a number of amendments for specific projects in their district.
This year, state Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier is putting all of her efforts behind just one: St. Mary the Morningstar.
A vote to approve the town administrator's personal services budget failed with a 1-9 vote because a majority of the committee felt the $95,000 salary cap for the town administrator's salary was out of line.
State Rep. Paul Mark is looking to create a Berkshire County opioid task force in the budget.
Mark has filed an amendment for $250,000 to start the task force with the Berkshire County Sheriff's Office, the Berkshire Opioid Abuse Prevention Coalition, and a number of other organizations tackling the issue.
The committee will look through the draft budget over four meetings, the first of which was held on Wednesday night in City Council chambers. That session looked at general government, revenues, unclassified, debt and capital costs.
The final payment for the school bus fleet is moving to the city's side of the budget.
At the public hearing on the School Department's proposed budget Wednesday, Superintendent Jason McCandless said the $558,469 payment is being pulled from the budget request.
Staffing at the library has been an issue for some time now and five full-time employees must cover the 46 hours a week the library is open. Hackner said there are often gaps when employees take time off that cannot be filled with part-time employees and volunteers.
The BRTA is prepping for increasing fares and reducing service.
Berkshire Regional Transit Authority Administrator Robert Malnati said the state's funding for the organization is flat in the governor's budget.
On Wednesday, Town Manager Jason Hoch gave the Finance Committee an overview of the latest numbers for FY19, projecting an increase of 20.81 cents on the 2018 tax rate of $17.94 per $1,000 of valuation.