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Tyer Eyes Potential Purchase, Demolition of Blighted Gas Station

Mayor Linda Tyer has a tentative plan to get rid of the eyesore of a former Hess gas station on Tyler Street. In the proposed capital budget, Tyer is seeking funds to purchase the property and turn it into green space. The mayor said on Monday the parcel has been identified as an important piece of redevelopment on Tyler Street and the city has agreed to take ownership, provided the owners are willing to sell.

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Tyer Proposes $175 Million Municipal Budget

Mayor Linda Tyer is asking for nearly a $7 million increase in the budget. The proposed budget will be given to the City Council on Tuesday and a series of budget hearings will be held later in the month. The mayor's proposal calls for a $175,485,414 operating budget budget, which is 3.9 percent more than the current year.

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McCandless Shrinks Pittsfield School Budget Request

Superintendent Jason McCandless is scaling back his budget request by about a half million dollars. McCandless said he had a meeting with Mayor Linda Tyer and Director of Finance Matthew Kerwood since revealing his initial request for a $3.4 million increase to the budget and the three agreed to a lesser number. Particularly, McCandless said the number of new positions, mostly new paraprofessionals, is being scaled back.

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McCandless Asks 5.7 Percent Increase for Pittsfield Schools

Superintendent Jason McCandless is asking for a $3.4 million increase to the school's budget. The large 5.7 percent increase comes as Gov. Charlie Baker has proposed a budget that gives the city $3.7 million more in Chapter 70 state aid for schools. The request comes with a number of new initiatives and positions which McCandless said will bolster specific areas the district has identified as problematic areas.

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Pittsfield Still Concerned About Police, Fire OT Budgets

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.

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Auditor Praises Pittsfield's Bookkeeping, Offers Few Suggestions

Auditor Thomas Scanlon praised the city's bookkeeping. "This is probably the best condition the city's financial reporting has been in," Scanlon told both the City Council and the School Committee at a joint meeting Wednesday evening.

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Pittsfield Expects Increased Revenues as Budget Process Begins

The city is expecting to have some $6.4 million more in revenue as it builds the fiscal year 2020 budget. The City Council and the School Committee held its annual meeting to discuss the fiscal state of the city Wednesday night. Director of Finance Matthew Kerwood particularly noted an upward trend in revenues from various sources that will go into the budget planning for next year.

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Pittsfield Remains Concerned With Police, Fire Overtime Spending

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.

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Pittsfield Council Approves Tax Rate Cut

Tax cuts make for more agreeable City Council meetings. The council easily approved a plan to lower property taxes across the board - both on the average bill and on the rate.

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Pittsfield Councilors Question Budget Transfers

The City Council will once again debate "truth in budgeting" as it now looks to move more than a million dollars around in its budget to close out the books. The request is for $945,000 from various accounts - plus the use of some $300,000 in free cash- to close a gap in the snow and ice budget. The director of finance is also looking to transfer a total of $400,000 from 11 different budget lines to cover a deficit for police overtime budget.

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Pittsfield OKs $159M Budget Appropriation; $10M In Capital Projects

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.

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Pittsfield Council In Favor of $8.8 Million Capital Plan; Rejects Enterprise

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

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Pittsfield Schools Shift Bus Payment Back to City, Reduces Budget

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.

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Pittsfield Schools Propose $61.6 Million Fiscal 2019 Budget

The School Committee has put forth a $61,671,338 proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The request is a 1.6 percent increase over last year's budget for a total increase of $985,000.

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Pittsfield Council, School Committee Hear Report On Financial Condition

The City Council and School Committee gathered Tuesday night for the annual report on the financial condition of the city. Auditor Thomas Scanlon of Scanlon & Associates said the city's reserve total is in a "good" range but he'd still like to see more.

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Pittsfield Approves $156.4M Budget, $22.4 Million In Capital

The City Council approved a $156.4 million operating budget and $22.4 million in capital borrowing. The $156,429,586 for the city and enterprise operations was approved Tuesday and is $39,168 less than the budget preliminarily approved.

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Pittsfield Finds Health Insurance Contract Overfunded

The City Council cut another $39,168 from the budget Tuesday night after discovering a union contract had been overfunded. In 2014, then Mayor Daniel Bianchi had negotiated with the Public Employees Committee to switch from the Group Insurance Commission to Blue Cross Blue Shield, which saved the city around $2 million over the course of three years. The city's Public Employees Committee, which is made up of representatives of the city's 15 workers unions, approved a contract with the city o

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Pittsfield Questions Streetlight Conversion Plan In Capital Budget

The City Council gave its preliminary authorization for the city to borrow $8.1 million for city capital projects and $14.3 million for capital projects with the water and sewer system Tuesday night. A plan on the city side of the ledger to convert all of the street lights to LEDs at a cost of $3 million raised many eyebrows.

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Pittsfield Schools to Lease Space on Eagle For Off-Campus Program

The school department is leaving St. Luke's Square for smaller rental space on Eagle Street. The district ran the Student Resource Center out of leased space on Whipple Street. That lease expires at the end of June and the School Committee had previously voted to completely revamp the programs housed there, bringing nearly all of them into the schools themselves.

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