North Adams Council Adopts $37.7M Budget for 2015By Tammy Daniels
08:34PM / Tuesday, June 24, 2014
The City Council on Tuesday night approved a $37.7 million budget with little discussion.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The City Council on Tuesday night approved a $37,729,404 budget for fiscal 2015.
The budget includes some $600,000 in cuts, including some 20 positions, and is made possible on a revenue package passed two weeks ago that is expected to raise more than $400,000.
"This budget is balanced by its own merits, on its own revenue," said Mayor Richard Alcombright, who said it was the first time in many years an adopted budget didn't depend on reserves.
"Because we don't have any," he noted of the city's empty accounts.
The budget adoption was done fairly quickly, with minimal discussion.
Resident Mark Trottier, however, had urged the council to make its own reductions.
"All I kept hearing is we made a lot of tough cuts ... but the mayor did that," he told the councilors. "Now it's your turn. If you don't like it, now's the time to speak up and cut."
Otherwise, he claimed, "you're just agreeing with what's been presented to you."
Councilor Keith Bona, however, said councilors' questions had already come up during the hours that have been spent on the budget.
"This is not the first meeting of this budget," he said. "If we bring it up tonight, then shame on us."
Indeed, the Finance Committee had spent six meetings — recorded for Northern Berkshire Community Television Corp. — reviewing the item line by line.
Finance Committee Chairwoman Nancy Bullett read the minutes of two of the lengthy meetings held on the compensation plans and fiscal 2015 budget.
President Lisa Blackmer requested that debate on the entire budget take place prior to the adoption process, but councilors had little to say.
Councilor Kate Merrigan suggested that the council continue to review the library and office of tourism and cultural development because they generated such discussion at the last finance meeting.
Councilor Eric Buddington thanked Bullett for providing informative minutes to help understand the meetings.
The budget sections were read out by members of the Finance Committee and adopted by roll call vote. All passed unanimously except for Councilor Jennifer Breen voting naye on General Government and Councilor Wayne Wilkinson on Public Services.
Wilkinson made a brief statement prior to the final vote on the total budget, saying he planned to vote in favor but he was unhappy with something in Public Services budget that prompted him to vote nay.
The classification and compensation plans were also adopted unanimously.