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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.