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.