Pittsfield Council Reviews Budget; Proposes Minimal Changes

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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<Director of Finance Sue Carmel presented an overview of the entire budget before the City Council picked through nearly every department.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — In a marathon session lasting nearly nine hours, the City Council reviewed most of the proposed 2015 budget.

The budget presented by Mayor Daniel Bianchi calls for $147.8 million in total. The city's operating budget is proposed at $75.8 million, the schools at $56 million. These two budgets account for $141 million in budgets.

Another $6.5 million is for other assessments, such as other post-employment benefits trust deposits, assessments for out of district school placements and transportation.

The city's budget is $3.6 million more than last year. The school's budget is up by $1 million. Overall, the entire spending is up 2.8 percent.

According to Bianchi, health insurance has increased by $360,000 and the capital debt payments are up by $1.1 million, accounting for much of the increase on the city's side. Pension contributions are up by $430,000, he said.

Bianchi is also proposing a $10.8 million capital, which the councilors referred back to him asking for cuts on Saturday.

According to Director of Finance Sue Carmel, the city is looking at an array of new initiatives for 2015 include online permitting, a new pavement management system, creating one center for inspection services (one of the City Council's requested cuts from the capital budget), restoring Springside Park and building a new highway garage.

The city receives 33 percent of the revenue for the spending through state aid, Carmel said, and this year another $2 million of free cash is proposed to be used to offset the tax levy. Half of the budget will come from taxes.

This year state aid increase less than 1 percent, she said, at a total of $443,597. However, state assessments went up $420,000 so the city really only has $23,000 more in state aid that last year, she said.

The city has a levy limit of $81.6 million, meaning $8 million more can legally come from taxpayers without an override vote. However, the city is not reaching that limit.

Below you will find each department budget and the City Council's response to it. The City Council takes on the school budget, revolving accounts and free cash on Thursday.

Mayor's Office

The budget for the mayor's office is proposed to see an increase of less than a percentage. The total budget is requested to be $198,705.

The increase is $1,765, which consists of $1,265 more for the director of administrative services and $500 more for marketing and advertising.

The City Council questioned if the mayor does a lot with the marketing and advertising, in which he said most of the advertising is done through the Department of Cultural Development.

Ward 6 Councilor John Krol said the position of the administrative assistant has changed in recent years to become both administrative, overseeing departments like RSVP and information technology, and communications.

"That also has grown into communications position over the years. She will always be in contact with the city councilors, the press and other public agencies," Bianchi said.

Account Name 2014 Original Approval 2015 Mayoral Request
Mayor $87,780 $87,780
Director of Admin Services $50,770 $52,035
Executive Assistant $36,390 $36,390
Markets and Advertising $2,000 $2,500
Supplies $3,500 $3,500
Travel $6,500 $6,500
MA Municipal Association $10,000 $10,000

City Council

In total, the budget is proposed at $96,892. However, that will have to be increased to pay for the stipend of Nicholas Caccamo, who resigned from his job with the school system and can now accept it.

City Clerk Linda Tyer said that budget will have to be increased by $8,000. Compared to last year, an additional $1,000 is proposed for the clerk of the committees.

The budget was proposed to decrease by $7,000 but the stipend change will make it increase by $1,000.

Account Name 2014 Approval 2015 Mayoral Request
Councilors $90,002 $82,002
Clerk of the City Council $4,000 $4,000
Clerk of Committees $8,640 $9,640
Printing $1,250 $1,250

City Clerk

The City Clerk's budget is proposed to see a $10,996 hike. The total budget is proposed at $299,531.

The increases are a $90 in the clerk's salary; a $3,695 for the assistant city clerk; a $3,025 increase for the head clerk; $890 for the assistant clerk registrar; $3,000 for the election officers; $2,041 for the secretary board; $55 for the senior clerk typist; $6,500 to update city codes; and $1,000 for census work.

The decreases are $800 for election programming and $7,500 for supplies.

City Clerk Linda Tyer says there is a significant increase in election officers because there was not a citywide election last year while there will be a state election in fiscal 2015.

"We need to budget funds for additional polling hours," Tyer said.

More money is also going to be needed for custodians, who will have to put in more hours because the polls stay open later.

However, the state will pay to program the polling machines so that is decreasing by $800. Supplies have reduce as well because the state is paying to print the ballots.

Tyer also said the increase in funding for updates to city codes coincides with the ordinance review committee's work in making sure the code matches the new charter.  The census line is increasing in anticipation of the cost of postage increasing, Tyer said.

Council Vice President Christopher Connell asked if there would be any savings if the city reduced the number of polling stations. Tyer said no because each precinct is required to have their own set of poll workers by state law.

Account Name 2014 Approved 2015 Mayoral Request
City Clerk $54,410 $54,500
Assistant City Clerk $34,290 $37,985
Head Clerk $31,035 $34,060
Assistant Clerk Registrar $32,560 $33,450
Election Officers $20,000 $23,000
Secretary Board $30,585 $31,626
Senior Clerk Typist $25,655 $25,710
Registrars Board $2,400 $2,400
Licensing Board $2,950 $2,950
Election Custodians $2,400 $2,400
Equipment Maintenance $8,000 $8,000
Election Programming $4,000 $3,200
Election Rentals $800 $800
Education and Training $1,250 $1,250
Legal Ads $1,000 $1,000
City Code Updates $3,500 $10,000
Records Preservation $2,200 $2,200
Supplies $17,500 $10,000
Census $14,000 $15,000

Health Department

The health and inspections department is looking at a 16 percent cut.

The total budget proposal of $421,614 is down by $80,295 from last year. The largest of that decrease is the lose of a inspector of weights and measures, which in the mayor's proposal moves that position to the Department of Public Utilities budget. The 40U hearings officer and clerk have both been moved from the health department to the unclassified account.

The lines increasing are $119 for senior sanitarian; $3,195 for sanitarians; $4,359 for nuisance control officer; $1,936 for head clerk; $1,347 for public health nurse (moving a position from .6 to 8); $3,558 for senior clerk; $2,000 for nuisance abatement; $1,200 for advertising; $691 for supplies.

The lines decreasing are the inspector of weights and measures down $46,295 as the position is not filled; $192 in the senior code enforcement inspector; $2,500 for a 40U hearings officer which is not filled; $2,400 for a 40U clerk which is not filled; $50 for water testing; $1,200 for contractual services; $500 for education and training; $45,000 for property demolitions.

According to Director of Public Health Gina Armstrong, the city only has three demolitions pending legal review and the reduced budget of $30,000 will be able to cover those. The hazardous materials abatement has already been done, she said.

Account Name 2014 Approved 2015 Mayoral Request
BOH Director $55,945 $55,945
Senior Sanitarian $45,465 $45,584
Inspector of Weights and Measures $46,295 $0
Animal Inspector $4,500 $4,500
Sanitarians $72,772 $75,967
Senior Code Enforcement Inspector $44,345 $43,190
Nuisance Control Officer $25,020 $29,379
Head Clerk $29,690 $31,626
40U Hearings Officer $2,500 $0
Public Health Nurse $39,654 $41,001
Senior Clerk $22,020 $25,578
Board of Health Clerk $1,500 $1,500
40U Clerk $2,000 $0
Water Testing $1,250 $1,200
Uniforms $2,100 $2,100
Contractual Services $3,000 $1,800
Telephone $3,450 $3,450
Equipment Maintenance $4,500 $4,500
Education and Training $4,000 $3,500
Nuisance Abatement $4,000 $6,000
Advertising $2,300 $3,500
Property Demolitions $75,000 $30,000
Supplies $10,603 $11,294


The budget for the Retired Seniors Volunteer Program is proposed to be increased by 11.26 percent. The total proposed budget of $71,315 is $7,215 more that last year.

The increases are $6,800 for the director; $3,361 for the volunteer coordinator; $3,664 for the administrative assistant.

The decreases for $500 from miscellaneous; $750 for postage; $300 for telephone; $1,060 for staff travel; $4,000 for volunteer recognition. The department requested all of those lines to be level funded but instead was cut in the mayor's proposal.

The budget is increased because the program was unable to reel in a federal grant they typically use for operations, according to Director Sheila Pia. This funding allows the program to operate fully for nine months, when the organization hopes to receive another batch of federal funding. Pia said the program is seeking $150,000 to run the program for three years.

Account Name 2014 Approved 2015 Mayoral Request
Director of RSVP $27,150 $33,050
Volunteer Coordinator $9,580 $12,941
Administrative Assistant $12,460 $16,124
Misc. $500 $0
Postage $750 $0
Staff Training $400 $400
Advertising $400 $400
Telephone $300 $0
Supplies $3,500 $3,500
Staff Travel $1,060 $0
Volunteer Recognition $4,000 $0
Equipment and Copier Lease $4,000 $4,000

Council on Aging

The Council on Aging's budget is proposed to be increased by 1.78 percent. The total proposed budget of $269,315 is $4,702 more than last year.

The proposed increases are $1,240 for senior clerk typist; $1,737 for the social services technician/custodian; $565 for part-time custodians; $655 for program assistant; and $2,600 for temporary labor.

The proposed decreases are $1,500 for the part-time activities leader; and $595 from the kitchen coordinator.

According to Director Vince Marinaro temporary labor was increased to cover the kitchen coordinator's vacation time. Previously, that was taken out of the kitchen coordinator's line.

"Other than that, we are looking at the basic changes in salaries," he said.

Account Name 2014 Approved 2015 Mayoral Request
Director $40,290 $40,290
Senior Clerk Typist $28,710 $29,950
SDC Assistant $21,765 $21,765
Soc Serv Tech/Custodian $28,978 $30,715
Soc Serv Tech/Custodian (PT) $23,235 $23,800
Program Assistant $29,825 $30,480
Activities Leaders (PT) $20,040 $18,540
Kitchen Coordinator $21,785 $21,190
Temp. Labor $1,400 $4,000
Equipment Maintenance $6,435 $6,435
Building Maintenance $13,500 $13,500
Printing $1,300 $1,300
Supplies $3,000 $3,000
Program Expense $24,350 $24,350

Cultural Development

The office of cultural development is proposed to see a 9.38 percent decrease. The total proposal of $105,260 is down by $10,890 from last year.

The increases are $500 for tourism administrator and $2,500 for contractual services. The department requested a full-time tourism administrator at $20,473 but was approved for only part time by the mayor. The position was part time last year.

The decreases are $150 for the director; $9,540 by moving the administrative assistant from full time to .77; $4,000 for visitors center expenses and $200 for dues and subscriptions.

According to Director of Finance Sue Carmel, the $9,540 decrease is because some of the salary is being paid from a Third Thursday account, so the assistant is still full time. The .77 reflects what the city is paying, she said.

"It is a full time position," Carmel said.

The tourism position wasn't full funded because the administration wanted to wait until a new director came on and wanted that position.

The biggest part of the decrease, according to Carmel, is from the visitor's center, which had moved to the intermodal center last year and that budget reflected the moving expenses.

Account Name 2014 Approval 2015 Mayoral Request
Director $47,700 $27,550
Administrative Assistant $29,375 $19,835
Tourism Administrator $13,875 $14,275
Building Maintenance $1,200 $1,200
Contractual Services $0 $2,500
Tourism Expenses $12,000 $12,000
Visitor Center Expenses $5,000 $1,000
Supplies $3,500 $3,500
Telephone $800 $800
Dues and Subscriptions $2,700 $2,500

Veterans Services

The Veterans Services line is one of two lines proposed to be level funded.

The total budget is proposed at $803,590, exactly as the department requested. The only difference is a $10,000 request for temporary labor has been removed but program expenses are proposed to be increased by that much.

The city is reimbursed 75 percent.

Account Name 2014 Approval 2015 Mayoral Request
Veterans' Agent $50,000 $50,000
Administrative Assistant $31,890 $21,890
Temporary Labor $10,000 $0
Rental Expense $6,700 $6,700
Education and Training $700 $700
Flags $2,000 $2,000
Supplies $2,000 $2,000
Program Expense $700,000 $710,000
Award and Declarations $300 $300


The personnel budget is increasing by 6.40 percent, or a total of $16,521. The total budget is proposed to be $266,831.

The line items increasing are $1,470 for the director of personnel, $124 for the personnel specialist; $1,000 for educational opportunity; $8,000 for city physician; a new line of $2,500 for advertising; $5,850 for postage and $800 for supplies.

The lines decreasing are $10,723 for the personnel technician and $500 for training.

According to Personnel Director John DeAngelo, the increase for advertising is to post jobs on online sites, which they hadn't utilized much before.

"I felt it was necessary to include a small item in my budget for those purchases moving forward," he said.

The office also handles nearly all of the city's postage — from dog licenses to tax bills — so the increase of postage is to match an expected increase in the cost.

Berkshire Occupational Health is charging for physician services, which include drug testings and pre-employment physicals, so the city physician budget increased. The City Council asked about other options and encouraged DeAngelo to pursue competitive bids.

However, "they are the only game in town," he said.

Account Name 2014 Approval 2015 Mayoral Request
Director of Personnel $53,650 $55,120
Personnel Technician $44,175 $33,452
Personnel Specialist $33,485 $33,609
Training $5,000 $4,500
Educational Opportunity $2,000 $3,000
City Physician $37,500 $45,500
Advertising $0 $2,500
Postage $80,000 $85,850
Supplies $2,500 $3,300

Building Inspectors

The building inspector's budget is proposed to increase by 4.84 percent, or $16,278. The total budget is proposed at $352,326.

The lines increasing are $1,847 for the senior wire inspector; $1,297 for the head clerk;  $2,349 for the senior clerk; $5,925 for the building inspectors; $4,238 for the plumbing and gas inspectors; $622 for supplies.

No lines are proposed to be reduced.

According to Building Commissioner Gerald Garner, the department recovered "105 percent" of its budget last year through permitting fees paid by establishments.

Account Name 2014 Approval 2015 Mayoral Request
Senior Wire Inspector $45,835 $47,682
Building Commissioner $50,000 $50,000
Head Clerk $28,800 $30,097
Senior Clerk $23,485 $25,834
Building Inspectors $126,990 $132,915
Plumbing and Gas Inspector $38,960 $43,198
Temporary Labor $7,500 $7,500
Insurance Deductible $500 $500
Uniforms $1,500 $1,500
Telephone $3,500 $3,500
Supplies $8,978 $9,600

City Solicitor

The city solicitor's office is proposed to be cut by $45,000 or 14.69 percent. The cut comes mostly because of a $100,000 reduction in legal settlements, which is no longer needed. Overall the budget is proposed at $261,410.

The proposed increases are $30,000 for tax title litigation and $25,000 for legal fees and court costs. The only item decreasing is $100,000 for legal settlements.

According to City Solicitor Kathleen Degnan, the $100,000 reduction in legal settlement is because she does not foresee a settlement pending. However, she would like the line to stay in the budget just not funded for the future.

She said he increase for tax title is to account for the 127 cases she had pending. Each case costs $515 to file in land court, she said.

"I would never spring 127 cases on the land court at once," she said, but the city is still doing more in land court than before.

The legal fees and court cases is increasing because Degnan says there will be more money needed for other attorney — such as the office representing the Rest of the River group — and an attorney currently in litigation regarding the Dunkin Donuts proposal. That line is proposed to rise from $50,000 to $75,000.

Councilor at Large Barry Clairmont proposed cutting $25,000 from that line saying Degnan is not on pace to hit the $75,000 mark this year.

"It seems to me that you can't spring all of this on the court at once and it seems lik there are extra funds in the legal fees line," Clairmont said. "I am think we can probably cut $25,000 from your budget and still get the tax titles done."

However, the rest of the council agreed with Degnan that the money should be there because of the unknown regarding those two cases. Clairmont's motion to cut it did not pass.

Account Name 2014 Approval 2015 Mayoral Request
City Solicitor $66,425 $66,425
Assistant City Solicitor $27,460 $27,460
Executive Legal Secretary $37,225 $37,225
Tax Title Litigation $10,000 $40,000
Supplies $1,000 $1,000
Law Library $11,500 $11,500
Legal Fees and Court Costs $50,000 $75,000
Legal Settlements $100,000 $0
Equipment Maintenance $2,800 $2,800

Berkshire Athenaeum

The library is proposed to see a $20,906 increase in funding, which translates to 2.33 percent. The total budget is proposed at $919,122.

The lines proposed to be increased are $2,500 for senior supervisors; $869 for library assistant II; $1,895 for senior technicians; $1,495 for senior assistants; $749 for the director; $557 for library custodians; $1,314 for library assistant I; $1,467 for library technicians; $281 for library shelvers; $500 for custodial supplies; $10,000 for books; $2,125 for networking fees.

The decrease is $262 for supervisor specialist.

"This is basically a level service budget," said Director Ronald Latham.

He said the increase in books to $75,000 inches closer to the level of funding the library had years ago. The library is also required to allocate a certain number of dollars toward new materials to receive state funding. Latham said there has been more demand for newer materials.

"It is clearly underfunded in terms of what we were having five or six years ago," Latham said, adding that in 2009 they received $150,000.

The was a $749 hiccup in this budget, where Latham was scheduled to receive a raise. According to Director of Finance Sue Carmel that was "an oversight" because that raise, among other department heads, is supposed to be in the unclassified budget.

The motion to change the salary to equal last years passed, with only Ward 6 Councilor John Krol and Ward 5 Councilor Jonathan Lothrop opposing.

"You have to consider the fact that sometimes errors are made," Lothrop said, adding that the salary wouldn't change, the council is only approving a bottom line number.

Account Name 2014 Approval 2015 Mayoral Request
Senior Supervisors $169,007 $171,517
Supervisor Specialist $40,152 $40,553
Supervisor Specialist $104,910 $104,648
Library Assistant II $42,558 $43,427
Senior Technicians $87,328 $89,223
Senior Assistants $59,343 $60,838
Director of Athenaeum $74,893 $75,642
Library Custodians $57,322 $57,879
Library Assistant I $50,686 $52,000
Library Technicians $53,105 $54,572
Library Shelvers $54,170 $54,451
Equipment Maintenance $1,000 $1,000
Library Staff Development $1,000 $1,000
Supplies - General $13,000 $13,000
Supplies - Custodial $6,000 $6,500
Binding and Microfilm $2,200 $2,200
Newspapers and Periodicals $13,000 $13,000
Books and Audio Visual $65,000 $75,000
Travel $1,500 $1,500
Reimbursement ($42,458) ($45,453)
Unclassified - Library $2,000 $2,000
Library Networking Fees $41,000 $43,125
Theft Deterrent System $1,500 $1,500

Finance and Administration

The finance and administration budget is proposed to increase by $169,122 or 13.01 percent.

The total budget is proposed at $1,460,432.

The lines increasing are $7,580 for IT manager; $515 for the administrative assistant; $4,945 for info systems specialists;  $7,245 for assistant treasurer; $6,650 assistant tax collector; $40 for purchasing agent; $3,760 for head clerk; $360 for account clerk-assessor; $155 for buyer; $2,375 for payroll specialist; $5,945 for junior accountant; $2,760 for benefits analyst; $3,055 for principal clerk cashiers; $720 for senior account clerks; $2,580 for network administrator; $132,700 for reevaluation.

The reductions proposed are $3,000 from training coordinator; $2,759 for assessors; $4 for deputy purchasing agent; Parking agent is eliminated cutting $2,500; legal ads and subscriptions $5,000.

According to Director of Finance Sue Carmel, the reevaluation is required to be done every three years. The rest of the increases are salaries.

Account Name 2014 Approval 2015 Mayoral Request
IT Manager $57,525 $65,105
Training Coordinator $3,000 $0
City Accountant $54,335 $54,334
Administrative Assistant $30,644 $31,170
Assessors $158,895 $156,136
Treasurer $73,830 $73,830
Tax Collector $30,740 $37,985
Info Systems Specialists $106,475 $111,420
Assistant Treasurer $30,740 $37,985
Assistant Tax Collector $37,400 $44,050
Purchasing Agent $55,960 $56,000
Deputy Purchasing Agent $35,520 $35,516
Head Clerk $25,620 $29,380
Account Clerk-Assessor $30,810 $31,170
Buyer $31,145 $31,300
Payroll Specialist $36,360 $38,735
Junior Accountant $33,980 $39,925
Benefits Analyst $35,975 $38,735
Principal Clerk Cashiers $55,375 $58,430
Senior Account Clerks $82,025 $82,745
Parking Agent $2,500 $0
Network Administrator $54,675 $57,255
Equipment Maintenance $20,000 $20,000
Revaluation $118,400 $251,100
Legal Ads and Subscription $25,000 $20,000
Supplies $54,675 $57,255

Community Development

The Department of Community Development is proposed to see a $4,820 increase, which is 8.07 percent more than last year. The total budget is proposed at $599,898.

The lines proposed to be increased are $220 for the parks and open space planner; $196 for city planner; $2,101 for conservation agent; $1,640 for executive secretary; $1,176 for administrative assistant; $1,863 for playground leaders; $1,095 for seasonal labor; $1,494 for recreation coordinator; $11,060 for permitting coordinator; $13,027 for a new community development specialist; $10,000 for human services; $2,000 for lake management; $8,000 for planning studies.

The lines decreasing are $4,012 for the director; $5,000 for land use and zoning.

According to Director Douglas Clark, about half of the 13 staff members in his department are paid for by the federal Community Development Block Grant — including half of his salary. However, that funding has been reduced so while the budget appears to be adding .5 of staff, the city is actually just picking up more of he cost for the current staff.

"We are not adding an employee. This is a current employee who was 100 percent funded through CDBG," Clark said.

The City Council also voiced a change in feelings toward the $43,000 spent on Downtown Pittsfield Inc. Last year, that line was nearly cut when councilors were unhappy with the return on the investment.

Now with a new president of the board of trustees, many councilors said they are much more confident in the expense.

"For the first time in a long time, I feel really good about the future of Downtown Pittsfield Inc," said Ward 6 Councilor John Krol.

The budget also calls for an increase in planning. Clark said he asked for $40,000 for planning efforts but the mayor only approved $10,000.

"We actually have a long list of things we would like to do in terms of planning efforts going forward," Clark said, particularly in trying to plot out ways to revitalize the Tyler Street areas.

Clark said he feels confident that with the $10,000 his department can still make good strides toward that effort.

Account Name 2014 Approval 2015 Mayoral Request
Director $40,990 $36,978
Parks Open Space Planner $57,385 $57,605
City Planner $54,340 $54,536
Conservation Agent $45,584 $54,536
Planning Administrator $4,000 $4,000
Executive Secretary $37,860 $39,500
Administrative Assistant $6,165 $7,301
Playground Leaders $12,893 $14,756
ZBA Clerk $801 $801
Season Labor $16,100 $17,195
Recreation Coordinator $38,810 $40,304
Permitting Coordinator $18,150 $29,210
Community Development Specialist $0 $13,027
Human Services $130,000 $140,000
Land Use and Zoning $5,000 $0
Lake Management $28,000 $30,000
Conservation Management $1,500 $1,500
Contractual Services $0 $0
Supplies $5,500 $5,500
Recreation Programs $7,000 $7,000
Downtown Inc. $43,000 $43,000
Planning Studies $2,000 $10,000

Workers Compensation

Workers compensation is proposed to be decreased by $30,000. Allocation for police and fire workers injured on duty is proposed to be increased by $10,000. Compensation payments are down $25,000 and medical payments are down $15,000.

The total budget is proposed at $705,000.

According to Director of Finance Sue Carmel, the city hasn't been responsible for as many claims.

Account Name 2014 Approval 2015 Mayoral Approval
Compensation Payments $370,000 $345,000
Medical Payments $220,000 $205,000
Injured on Duty - Police and Fire $145,000 $155,000

DPU Administration

The administrative arm of the Department of Public Utilities is eyed for a $20,044 increase, which represents a .65 percent increase. The total budget is $20,044.

The lines proposed to be increased are $2,270 for the office manager; $2,030 for the administrative assistant; $34,162 for solid waste collection; $16,182 for solid waste recycle.

The lines proposed to decrease are $5,500 for household hazardous waste collection and $29,100 for landfill monitoring.

The price per ton of solid waste and recyclables have gone up per the city's contract, according to Commission of Public Utilities Bruce Collingwood, and that is reflected in the budget.

Account Name 2014 Approval 2015 Mayoral Request
Commissioner of Public Utilities $83,920 $83,920
Office Manager $35,515 $37,785
Administrative Assistant $30,400 $32,430
Solid Waste Collection $1,138,754 $1,172,916
Solid Waste Disposal $969,000 $969,000
Solid Waste Recycle $685,298 $701,480
Household Hazardous Waste Collection $13,500 $8,000
Landfill Monitoring $135,100 $106,000
Office Supplies $7,000 $7,000

Public Services

This is one of the sections the City Council sent back to the mayor for changes.

The public services section is proposed to see a $1,020,777 increase, which represents a 39.19 percent increase. The main reason for that increase is that the items that were formally kept in a garage section have been moved into the public services section.

The total budget is proposed at $3,625,213.

The lines proposed to be increased are $38,787 for the inspector of weights and measures (a transfer from the health department); $2,957 for the street compliance inspector; $50,399 for a new chief street foreman; $2,316 for highway maintenance craftsman; $50,593 for a fleet manager (from former garage department); $3,445 for working foreman; $200,866 for motor equipment repairmen (from the garage department); $4,046 for signal maintainer; $5,673 for equipment operators;$220,000 for garage maintenance (from former garage department); $21,000 for garage supplies (from garage line); $510,231 for gasoline and diesel oil (from the former garage department) and $5,000 for tree operations.

Proposed decreases include $71,835 for the commissioner of public services; $1,277 for a superintendent; $423 for senior clerk typist; $1,000 in utilities; and $20,000 for street sweeping.

The proposal calls for a change in structure to the department. It would have eliminated a commissioner/superintendent and replace it with a chief street foreman. The commissioner line was eliminated and the chief street foreman was added.

"This position is design to be operations. The superintendent has the overall responsibilities," said Commissioner of Public Safety Bruce Collingwood. "We're not adding a position."

The City Council rejected that plan and motioned to move the funding back to the commissioner line. Multiple councilors said the change in structure would have to come first because they fund the position. The motion from Councilor at Large Barry Clairmont to send the budget back to the mayor for the change passed in a 6-5 vote.

Account Name 2014 Approval 2015 Mayoral Request
Comm of Public Service $71,835 $0
Inspector of Weights and Measures $0 $38,787
Superintendent $58,608 $57,331
Street Compliance Inspector $48,901 $51,858
Chief Street Foreman $0 $50,399
Highway Maintenance Craftsman $218,788 $221,104
Fleet Manager $0 $50,593
Working Foreman $45,670 $49,115
Motor Equipment Repairman $0 $200,866
Signal Maintainer $46,293 $50,339
Senior Clerk Typist $30,570 $30,147
Seasonal Labor $48,000 $48,000
Scheduled Overtime $75,000 $75,000
Snow/Ice Overtime $100,000 $100,00
Equipment Operators $201,271 $206,944
Utilities $75,000 $74,000
Street Lighting $450,000 $450,000
Maintenance $115,000 $115,000
Garage Maintenance $0 $220,000
Repairs - Streets $288,500 $288,500
Streetscape Maintenance $16,000 $16,000
Contract Street Sweeping $45,000 $25,000
Sand $550,000 $550,000
Garage Supplies $0 $21,000
Gasoline and Diesel Oil $0 $510,230
Tree Operations $85,000 $90,000
Capital Improvements $0 $0
Highway and Traffic Supplies $35,000 $35,000


The budget for engineering in the Department of Public Utilities is proposed to increase by $1,290, which is .81 percent more than last year. The total budget is proposed at $159,764.

The only change to the budget is an increase of $1,290 for the senior clerk typist.

Commissioner of Public Utilities Bruce Collingwood said there have been no changes to he program.

Account Name 2014 Approval 2015 Mayoral Request
City Engineer $68,775 $68,775
Jr. Civil Engineer $39,854 $39,854
Sr. Clerk Typist $25,845 $27,135
Professional Services $15,000 $15,000
Supplies $9,000 $9,000

Enterprise Funds Water

The bottom line of the water treatment enterprise account is proposed to stay the same at $4,117,161. But, the City Council reduce that by $20,000.

"We made no changes to the program," said Commissioner of Public Utilities Bruce Collingwood.

The lines proposed to see increases are $2,082 for a working foreman; $1,402 for the senior civil engineer; $1,432 for water and sewer maintenance workers; $1,402 for GIS coordinator; $1,563 for water machinery repairman; $14,563 for chief TPO non-shift; $4,200 for head TPO non-shift; $318 for meter reader; $6,515 for senior clerk typist; $5,000 for taxes; and $70,635 for allocation to the general fund.

The lines proposed to decrease are $1,129 for water superintendent; $2,097 for TPO non-shift; $10,000 for overtime; $10,000 for utilities; $7,984 for professional services; $16,000 for supplies; $25,000 for capital improvements; $18,575 for maturing debt; and $15,297 for debt issuance costs.

The City Council questioned the expenditures for utilities at $390,000. The Councilor at Large Barry Clairmont said that in recent years the department had not used that much funding for utilities and motioned to reduce it by $20,000. A wind turbine had also been out of service in 2014, so that will produce further savings.

Collingwood said that the city is dependent on the state solar tax credit program, which is expiring. He said he didn't want to reduce the line too much because he doesn't know what will happen to that program.

Councilor At Large Kathleen Amuso also questioned the overtime budget of $110,000, which too had been reduce by $10,000. Amuso said in recent years that much wasn't spent and motioned to reduce it by $20,000.

Amuso's amendment passed while Clairmont's didn't. So, the overall budget was reduced by $20,000 by the City Council.

Nonetheless, being an enterprise account, those funds can only be used in the water system - likely for future capital repairs - and not go back into they city's general fund.

Account Name 2014 Approval 2015 Mayoral Request
Water Superintendent $57,269 $56,139
Working Foreman $45,832 $47,914
Sr. Civil Engineer $27,896 $29,198
Wtr./Swr. Maintenance Person $147,224 $148,656
GIS Coordinator $27,796 $29,198
Water Mach. Repairman $71,286 $72,849
Chief TPO Non-Shift $36,030 $50,593
Head TPO Non-Shift $46,139 $50,339
TPO Non-Shift $179,534 $177,437
Meter Reader $32,243 $32,561
Senior Clerk Typist $30,743 $34,228
Season Labor $38,400 $38,400
Overtime $120,000 $110,000
Utilities $400,000 $390,000
Taxes $125,000 $130,000
Maintenance $300,000 $300,000
Contractual Services $200,000 $200,000
Professional Services $150,000 $150,000
Supplies $56,000 $40,000
Chemicals $335,000 $335,000
Capital Improvements $25,000 $0
Acquisition of Equipment $75,000 $75,000
Maturing Debt $592,598 $574,023
Interest on Debt $274,746 $259,449
Debt Issuance Cost $15,000 $15,000
Allocation to General Fund $708,526 $779,161

Sewer Enterprise

The sewer enterprise spending is proposed  to be raised by $5,585, which is 1.37 percent. The total budget is proposed at $412,686.

The proposed increases are $585 for water and sewer maintenance persons and $10,000 for overtime. The mains and manhole supplies line is proposed to be reduced by $5,000.

"This is a level-service budget," said Commissioner of Public Utilities Bruce Collingwood.

The budget does bump the overtime budget up by $10,000, which Collingwood said is used to respond to emergencies such as lines breaking.

"We are trending up. This is staff that responds to emergencies," he said.

Account Name 2014 Approval 2015 Mayoral Request
Wtr./Swr. Maintenance Persons $142,101 $142,686
Overtime $35,000 $45,000
Utilities $30,000 $30,000
Maintenance $50,000 $50,000
Stormwater Services $25,000 $25,000
Contractual Services $100,000 $100,000
Mains and Manhole Supplies $25,000 $20,000
Capital Improvements $0 $0

Waste Water

The waste water aspect of the Department of Public Utilities is eyed to be cut by $5,585 by the mayor and then further cut by the City Council by another $25,000.

In the mayor's proposal, the total is $3,074,229, which is .13 percent less than last year.

The lines proposed to be increased are $1,402 for the senior civil engineer; $3,263 for the chemist; $1,402 for GIS coordinator; $4,345 for water mach repairmen; $1,480 for lab technicians; $1,845 for chief TPO; $1,839 for head TPO shift; $42,873 for TPO shift; $2,097 for head TPO float shift; $1,135 for senior clerk typist; $15,000 for maintenance; $30,000 for contractual services; $30,636 for maturing debt; and $22,823 for interest on debt.

The proposed reductions are $289 from sewer superintendent; $1,795 from work foreman water machine repairmen; $36,820 for TPO non-shift; $29,664 for professional services; $47,157 for allocation to the general fund.

Account Name 2014 Approval 2015 Mayoral Request
Sewer Superintendent $57,841 $57,552
Work Foreman Water Machine Repairmen $46,291 $44,498
Sr. Civil Engineer $27,796 $29,198
Chemist $48,595 $51,858
GIS Coordinator $27,796 $29,198
Water Machine Repairmen $140,289 $144,634
Lab Technicians $67,434 $68,914
Chief TPO Shift $48,748 $50,593
Head TPO Shift $185,767 $187,606
TPO Non-Shift $35,820 $0
TPO Shift $271,374 $314,247
Head TPO Float Shift $75,655 $77,752
Senior Clerk Typist $28,390 $29,525
Seasonal Labor $38,400 $38,400
Overtime $90,000 $90,000
Utilities $550,000 $550,000
Chemical Process $270,000 $270,000
Maintenance $285,000 $270,000
Sludge Handling $360,000 $360,000
Contractual Services $80,000 $110,000
Professional Services $300,000 $270,336
Supplies $50,000 $50,000
Capital Improvements $50,000 $0
Acquisition of Equipment $50,000 $50,000
Maturing Debt $404,586 $435,222
Interest on Debt $222,608 $245,431
Debt Issuance Costs $15,000 $15,000
Allocation to the General Fund $465,397 $418,240


The airport budget is increasing by 3.34 percent, which is $6,214. The total budget is proposed at $192,231.

The lines increasing are $143 for the airport inspector; $360 for commission clerk; $5,261 for utilities; $30 for telephone; $50 for supplies and $30 for equipment. Nothing is eyed to be reduced.

According to Airport Manager Mark Germanowski, the increase for utilities is for the increased electrical need with the additional runway length. Further, he said the airport is working with Western Massachusetts Electric Company to replace the lighting in a maintenance hanger.

The City Council expressed frustration with the lack of revenue the airport is creating. Germanowski said that with the new runway the Airport Commission will now embark on creating a new master plan (which is in the mayor's capital plan) which will focus on doing just that.

"We've got to increase our revenues and part of that is a master plan that really needs to move forward," he said.

Account Name 2014 Approval 2015 Mayoral Request
Airport Manager $56,445 $56,445
Airport Inspector $42,652 $42,795
Commission Clerk $1,200 $1,560
Janitorial Services $10,920 $10,920
Utilities $42,500 $47,761
Telephone $1,500 $1,530
Maintenance $17,000 $17,000
Snow Removal $9,800 $9,800
Supplies $2,500 $2,550
Equipment $1,500 $1,530

Parks and Grounds

The parks and ground budget is proposed to increase by 4.98 percent, which is $20,669. The total budget is proposed at $435,924.

The lines proposed to be increased at $1,159 for a mechanical equipment operator; $8,390 for maintenance men; $2,460 for park maintenance supervisor; and $8,660 for maintenance of parks. No lines are proposed to see a decrease.

The council questioned the $10,000 expense for Wahconah Park, asking why the Pittsfield Suns, who lease the park, aren't paying that cost. The expense is for items like quick dry to maintain the field. The city also pays for staff to be on hand during the Suns games in case of emergency.

"In the grant scheme of a major budget, $10,000 may not seem like a lot. But, when you have the man hours and you are taking them away from other things they could be doing," said Ward 7 Councilor Anthony Simonelli.

Director of Maintenance Peter Sondrini said the city maintains the park for everyone including the school games that are hosted there.

Ward 2 Councilor Kevin Morandi said if that is the case, then more school teams should be able to use the field. Ward 5 Councilor Jonathan Lothrop said that spending money on the park is "not a bad thing" and supported the $10,000 budget line.

"To me, it is an expenditure that is well worth paying to maintain that structure," he said.

Account Name 2014 Approval 2015 Mayoral Request
MEO-2 $35,845 $37,004
Park Maintenance Men $147,985 $156,375
Park Maintenance Superintendent $55,085 $57,545
Seasonal Labor $55,000 $55,000
Collegiate Baseball/Wahconah Park $10,000 $10,000
Maintenance of School Fields $15,000 $15,000
Maintenance of Parks $81,340 $90,000
Equipment $15,000 $15,000

City Maintenance

The city maintenance budget is proposed to increase by $11,826, which is .67 percent. The total budget is proposed at $1,783,148.

The line proposed to be increased are $415 for a painter; $2,065 for parking control officers; $1,315 for working foreman; $842 for a plumber; $2,561 for carpenters; $12,419 for principal clerk; $576 for custodian; and $30,000 for custodial labor rentals (new line).

The lines decreasing are $1,530 from a boiler repairman; $253 from HVAC tech; $2,808 from office manager; $21,644 from temporary labor; $10,000 from and utilities.

A request for $50,000 for environmental abatements was not supported by the mayor.

The money in the new line of custodial labor rentals was previously taken from the temporary labor. But, since the labor is custodial, the department took it out for clarity.

Account Name 2014 Approval 2015 Mayoral Request
Director of Maintenance $63,312 $63,312
Boiler/HVAC Repairman $43,195 $41,665
Painter $41,495 $41,910
Parking Garage Manager $53,536 $53,981
Parking Control Officers $52,536 $54,601
Working Foreman Craft $43,180 $44,495
Plumber $84,748 $85,590
Carpenters $126,281 $129,042
Principal Clerk $14,712 $27,131
HVAC Technician $85,635 $85,382
Custodian $28,228 $28,804
Office Manager $37,905 $35,097
Electricians $126,350 $124,218
Seasonal Labor $16,000 $16,000
Temporary Labor $21,644 $0
Custodial Labor Rentals $0 $30,000
Assistant Director of Maintenance $56,920 $56,920
Utilities $550,000 $540,000
Repairs Municipal $250,000 $250,000
Repairs/Services Garage $75,000 $75,000


The unclassified budget is proposed to increase by $1,761,729, which is 4.16 percent. The total unclassified budget is proposed at $44,119,292.

This budget line handles and array of items such as some capital expenses that won't be bonded (this year it includes a purchase of surveillance equipment for the Police Department), and the raises for department heads that may or may not be approved by the City Council.

The line proposed to increase are $2,500 for 40U hearings officers (from the Health Department); $1,500 for 40U Clerk; $400 for crossing guards; $55,000 for insurance medicare coverage; $360,000 for health insurance; $25,000 for general insurance; $431,611 for retirement contributions; $40,000 for benefits conversion; $3,500 for computer upgrades and repairs; $10,000 for computer licenses and support; $50,000 for capital expenditures; $641,800 for long-term debt principal; $475,896 for long-term debt interest; $15,000 for short-term debt interest; $40,000 for debt issuance cost.

The lines decreasing are $2,000 for insurance group life; $165,000 for unemployment insurance; and $200,000 for contingency.

This budget receives a credit of $1,197,401 from the water and sewer departments.

According to Director of Finance Sue Carmel, this budget will also pay to revamp the entire phone system to be voice over IP instead.

Account Name 2014 Approval 2015 Mayoral Request
40U Hearings Officer $0 $2,500
40U Clerk $0 $1,500
Crossing Guards $25,700 $26,100
Scheduled Overtime $140,000 $140,000
Insurance Medicare Coverage $915,000 $970,000
Insurance Health $20,960,000 $21,320,000
Insurance General $875,000 $900,000
Insurance Group Life $92,000 $90,000
Insurance Unemployment $340,000 $175,000
Retirement Contribution $10,211,947 $10,643,558
Benefits Conversion $200,000 $240,000
Animal Shelter Management Fee $48,700 $48,700
Telephone and Internet $135,000 $135,000
Computer Upgrade and Repair $70,000 $73,500
Computer License and Support $190,000 $200,000
City Audit $95,000 $95,000
Medicaid Services $40,000 $40,000
Seminars/Travel/Dues $15,000 $15,000
Bank Service Charges $15,000 $15,000
Contingency $700,000 $500,000
Capital Expenditures $200,000 $250,000
Long-term Debt Principal $5,813,700 $6,455,500
Long-term Debt Interest $2,054,439 $2,530,335
Short-term Debt Interest $335,000 $350,000
Debt Issuance Costs $60,000 $100,000
Allocation from Water ($708,526) ($779,161)
Allocation from Sewer ($465,397) ($418,240)


The Fire Department is proposed to see a $275,080, which is a 4.39 percent. The total budget is proposed at $6,545,997.

The lines increasing are $16,000 for lieutenants; $40,000 for firefighters; $1,565 for head clerk; $3,190 for master mechanic; $1,342 for principal clerk; $6,343 for office manager; $150,810 for emergency manning (overtime); $16,875 for uniforms; $5,100 for maintenance; $20,000 for vehicle maintenance; and $13,855 for CAD license and administration fees.

No lines are proposed to be reduced.

The request for emergency manning was reduced by the mayor from $600,000 to $526,810. Director of Finance Sue Carmel said that odd total was part of her cutting a little here and a little bit there to meet the budget goals. Carmel said she had to find $500,000 in cuts.

"The chief was kind enough to give me $100,000," she said.

Account Name 2014 Approval 2015 Mayoral Request
Fire Chief $89,505 $89,505
Deputy Fire Chiefs $340,000 $340,000
Fire Captains $705,000 $705,000
Fire Lieutenants $926,000 $942,000
Firefighters $3,326,132 $3,366,132
Head Clerk $30,740 $32,305
Master Mechanic $60,605 $63,795
Principal Clerk $27,760 $29,102
Office Manager $34,475 $40,818
Emergency Apparatus Staffing $30,000 $30,000
Emergency Manning $376,000 $526,810
Assuming Additional Response $24,200 $24,200
Uniforms $54,000 $70,875
Maintenance General $14,000 $19,100
Vehicle Maintenance $100,000 $120,000
Medical Maintenance $13,000 $13,000
Education and Training $20,000 $20,000
Arson Investigation $4,000 $4,000
Supplies $7,500 $7,500
Equipment $30,000 $30,000
Equipment Replacement $35,000 $35,000
CAD License/Maint/Admin Fees $23,000 $36,855

Emergency Management

The emergency management budget is proposed to go by $29,500, which is 479.67 percent. The large increase is mostly attributed to the budget taking on the entire cost of the Code Red system. That system was implemented last year with the cost being shared by multiple departments.

The entire budget is $35,650.

The only changes is a $30,000 increase for the Code Red System, which is replacing the warning systems. The $500 for warning systems (the air whistle) was removed.

"This was an item that when we originally purchased it last year, it was split five ways," said Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski. "We figured it was best to put it under one budget."

Account Name 2014 Approval 2015 Mayoral Request
Director of Emergency Management $0 $0
Deputy Director of Emergency Management $2,250 $2,250
Utilities $1,000 $1,000
Education and Training $500 $500
Code Red $0 $30,000
Supplies $100 $100
Emergency Operating Center $1,500 $1,500
Radio Amateur $150 $150
Radio Citizen $150 $150
Warning Systems $500 $0


The Police budget is proposed to be increased by $413,558, or 5.08 percent. The total budget is proposed at $8,550,093. However, the City Council sent this budget back to the mayor, asking him to find ways to hire additional officers for a downtown patrol.

The lines proposed for an increase are $755 for the chief, $42,000 for a deputy chief of operations; $6,278 for police lieutenants; $13,933 for sergeants; $2,134 for detectives; $441 for mechanic; $62,791 for dispatchers; $530 for animal control officer; $5,528 for custodian; $1,378 for senior clerk typist; $82,745 for scheduled overtime; $150,000 for special events overtime (new line); $3,709 for dispatcher overtime; $2,391 for information and technology manager; $10,000 for uniforms; $15,000 for maintenance; $8,000 for traffic enforcement EQ; $2,500 for K9 care; and $15,000 for fleet maintenance.

The lines proposed to be decreased are $3,130 for captains; $8,000 for traffic enforcement; $440 for crime analyst; and $2,500 for insurance deductibles.

Of note, the department created a special event overtime line to show how events like Third Thursday and the Ethnic Fair affect its budget. Police Chief Michael Wynn said it costs nearly three shifts of patrolmen just to provide detail for those events.

"It is becoming a cost that we just never anticipated," Wynn said.

However, the biggest question of this budget is the chief's request for five additional officers to form a downtown patrol. Downtown Pittsfield Inc. this year have put pressure on the city to increase police presence on North Street. Mayor Daniel Bianchi funded foot patrols for much of the year out of overtime.

Wynn, however, said it was getting costly and oftentimes they were being performed by the higher paying and ranking members of the department.

"We've been addressing it this year through overtime patrols.But, overtime is expensive," Wynn said. "My response was to give me back a downtown patrol."

Wynn said four patrolmen and a supervisor could do the job properly.

The mayor, however, did not fund the request because the crime numbers aren't there to justify the expense. While the city is currently seeing a rash of commercial break-ins, overall the numbers are down, Mayor Daniel Bianchi said.

"We've got a crime spree but the fact of the matter, is that it is pretty modest," Bianchi said. "You can't have a knee-jerk reaction to a rash of break-in because you could get one guy and it would be done with it."

Bianchi added that Berkshire Community College and Downtown Pittsfield Inc. are creating an ambassador program, which will put more eyes on the street and a purchase of more surveillance equipment will be deployed downtown.

"I think there are some intermediate steps we can take," Bianchi said.

The mayor further asked what he should tell areas like Morningside who have higher crime rates but no foot patrol.

Ward 5 Councilor Jonathan Lothrop said the real crime is happening at night, so while the foot patrols during the day make the businesses happy, to really fight the crime there needs to be officers on at night.

"Downtown foot patrols makes people feel better," he said.

Wynn said overall he needs more staffing.

"We can fund it by increasing our overtime, which is reflected in this budget, but our personnel is up against the ropes. They are exhausted. We don't have enough bodies to meet these additional demands," Wynn said. "We're still short staffed."

Ward 6 Councilor John Krol said the city faces crime issues larger than the population would suggest and supported the increase of staff.

Councilor at Large Kathleen Amuso motioned to send the budget back to the mayor to see if more officers can be added for downtown patrols.

Account Name 2014 Approval 2015 Mayoral Request
Police Chief $88,105 $88,860
Deputy Chief of Operations $0 $42,000
Police Captains $244,414 $241,284
Police Lieutenants $312,321 $318,599
Police Sergeants $693,237 $707,170
Safety Officer $62,278 $62,278
Detectives $424,447 $426,581
Patrol Officers $3,121,133 $3,121,133
Mechanic $44,115 $44,556
Drug Enforcement $133,000 $133,000
Traffic Enforcement $70,000 $62,000
Dispatchers $435,952 $498,743
Animal Control Officer $52,370 $52,900
Special Response Team $15,000 $15,000
Custodian $29,725 $35,263
Sr. Clerk Typist/Conf. $106,460 $107,838
Senior Clerk Typist $65,355 $67,860
Animal Control Comm Clerk $2,000 $2,000
Matrons $15,000 $15,000
Temporary Labor $15,000 $15,000
Auxiliary Police $8,000 $8,000
Special Investigation OT $55,533 $55,544
Special Events OT $0 $150,000
Dispatchers OT $74,180 $77,889
Crime Analyst $45,000 $44,560
Information/Technology Mgr. $47,705 $50,096
Police Science $1,000,000 $1,000,000
In Service $72,450 $72,450
Insurance Deductibles $22,500 $20,000
Animal Control Testing Fees $200 $200
Uniforms $40,000 $50,000
Maintenance/Support $150,000 $165,000
Police Education $35,000 $35,000
Shipping/Postage $800 $800
Printing $2,000 $2,000
Traffic Enforcement EQ $0 $8,000
K9 Care and Supplies $3,000 $5,500
Office Supplies $16,000 $16,000
Drug Enforcement Expenses $36,000 $36,000
Ammunition $12,000 $12,000
Special Investigation Expenses $4,000 $4,000
Care of Prisoners $10,000 $10,000
Custodial Supplies $10,000 $10,000
Equipment $50,000 $50,000
Fleet Maintenance $35,000 $50,000


Tags: city budget,   fiscal 2015,   

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