Mayor Richard Alcombright urged the City Council to prepared for the state to provide an additional $750,000.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Mayor Richard Alcombright is urging the City Council to target areas for $750,000 in emergency state aid.
A one-time, emergency $750,000 state aid payment to help get help the city out of financial trouble is pending in the state Legislature.
While the mayor doesn't know the most recent status of those funds, he urged the City Council to determine what the city’s “rock bottom” is and what services or projects should receive priority should those funds be approved.
"I do think that we are a couple of levels below rock bottom," Alcombright said.
"I do think there are some things we can restore with that [state aid money], and I do think that we need to be very thoughtful on how we do that, particularly around the areas of public safety and education."
The mayor said the money could be used to restore a police or other position proposed to be cut. Or some of the money could be used to support the schools which had to cut $827,000 from their budget. Some of it could be put into the stabilization account so the city can prepare for the next fiscal year.
Alcombright does expect that as the money goes through he legislative process, limitations may be set on how the funds are used.
"I think we need to know first of all is it coming, what does it look like when it comes, is it restricted at all, are there any strings attached, or can we just use it the way we want," the mayor said. "When that happens we will come back with recommendations to Finance Committee and go from there."
The City Council referred the proposed budget — with $12,719 in additional cuts — to the Finance Committee on Tuesday but they too agree that the city should be prepared for those emergency funds.
The current $37,729,404 budget proposal is 3.39 percent higher than last fiscal year and has cuts in public services, public safety and maintenance projects. With depleted reserves, the budget will only sustain the city through the 2015 fiscal year, Alcombright has warned.
The Finance Committee will review the budget Thursday night.