The Board of Selectmen closed the fiscal year's books on Monday after transferring some $63,538 from health insurance to cover deficits elsewhere in the budget.
Of particular concern for Finance Committee member Ronald Tinkham was a $45,167 overage in winter roads supplies and repairs. The town, under the previous manager, had been creeping that budget figure up to become more accurate. Tinkham believes that should continue to eliminate deficits.
Tuition payments are down significantly this year but the savings is being eaten up by other areas of the school budget.
Deputy Superintendent Kristin Behnke provided the School Committee with a mid-year budget report on Wednesday. The good news is that the trend appears to a show a surplus at the end of the year, thanks to the tuition savings and other under budget trending lines.
The city will overspend on public safety overtime and snow and ice.
The accounts have been on the watch list for Director of Finance Matthew Kerwood and by halfway through the year the budgets for police and fire overtime are just about spent and snow and ice removal is overspent. Kerwood says the city will have to transfer money from other budget lines to cover those deficits.
Police and fire overtime continues to be a financial concern.
The two accounts, as well as snow and ice, have been on the city's financial team's radar for a number of years as it seems that those accounts are routinely underfunded and officials have to find money to cover the deficits from other places. That hasn't changed this year as all three accounts are trending above budget.
After nearly 90 minutes of discussion, the council voted 8-1 to keep the property tax shift at 1.71. It took the council some time to struggle through amending the order submitted by the mayor's office.
The council will vote on the tax classification for fiscal 2019 on Tuesday. Should the council approve, the commercial, industrial and personal property shift will go from 1.71 back to 1.73, where it had been for several years.
The tax rate is increasing by $1.23 per $1,000 of assessed property valued.
The town is continuing with a single tax rate and that is resulting in an increase to the tax rate to $22.63 per $1,000 of assessed value. For the average single-family home, the increase will be $350.99 per year. The rate is set after town meeting approved a budget in the spring and the numbers shake out by the fall.
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.