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.
The City Council approved a $156.4 million operating budget and $22.4 million in capital borrowing.
The $156,429,586 for the city and enterprise operations was approved Tuesday and is $39,168 less than the budget preliminarily approved.
The City Council cut another $39,168 from the budget Tuesday night after discovering a union contract had been overfunded.
In 2014, then Mayor Daniel Bianchi had negotiated with the Public Employees Committee to switch from the Group Insurance Commission to Blue Cross Blue Shield, which saved the city around $2 million over the course of three years. The city's Public Employees Committee, which is made up of representatives of the city's 15 workers unions, approved a contract with the city o
The City Council gave its preliminary authorization for the city to borrow $8.1 million for city capital projects and $14.3 million for capital projects with the water and sewer system Tuesday night.
A plan on the city side of the ledger to convert all of the street lights to LEDs at a cost of $3 million raised many eyebrows.
The school department is leaving St. Luke's Square for smaller rental space on Eagle Street.
The district ran the Student Resource Center out of leased space on Whipple Street. That lease expires at the end of June and the School Committee had previously voted to completely revamp the programs housed there, bringing nearly all of them into the schools themselves.
The city's capital plan calls for the replacement of 5,236 street lights to LEDs but some councilors are wondering why a project to light up Tyler Street has not been undertaken.
The Tyler Street Business Group petitioned the city in 2014 asking for lights on the North side of Tyler Street at an estimated cost of $500,000. Movement halted on those efforts when the city was accepted in the Transformative Development Program. MassDevelopment is currently in the midst of planning efforts for a r
The proposed school budget has been cut again, raising the number of layoffs to 75.6. However, the teacher's union is foregoing some $300,000 worth of step raises to save some of those jobs.
On Wednesday the School Committee adopted a proposed budget of $60,686,338, with the city's share of that being $60,066,338. That is $250,000 less than what was presented at the budget hearing two weeks ago.
How the state calculates what it costs to run a school system is much different from what local officials say it actually costs.
That was the message delivered to the City Council Tuesday night when the School Committee arranged a presentation from the Massachusetts Association of School Committees. MASC Field Director Tracy Novick urged the council to advocate for changes to the state funding formulas to bring more state dollars into the city.
The city is looking to spend some $23.5 million on capital projects next year.
Mayor Linda Tyer has submitted a capital budget of $9.1 million for city projects and $14.4 million for water and sewer. The debt incurred from the $9.1 million would be paid for through the city's annual budget while the $14.4 million would come from the enterprise accounts. A public hearing is scheduled for the City Council meeting on Tuesday.