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Councilors Donna Todd Rivers and Peter White both supported the petition.

Pittsfield Council Asks Mayor For Independent Review of Budgets

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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Councilors Anthony Simonelli, Lisa Tully and Nicholas Caccamo.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council asked former Mayor Daniel Bianchi a little over a year ago to bring in an outside consultant to review the city budget to look for reductions.

That didn't happen.

Now the council is hoping new Mayor Linda Tyer will do so.
 
"I see a lot of departments working as a silo. Our taxes have increased and they will again. I think we need to do our due-diligence and look at all of the city budgets," said Councilor at-Large Kathleen Amuso, who filed a petition asking the mayor hire a Six Sigma or a Lean consultant.
 
"Are there things we are duplicating on the city side and on the school side? I think there are savings out there if we focus."
 
Lean and Six Sigma are both data-driven processes aimed for businesses to streamline systems, reduce waste, eliminate duplication, and review purchasing while improving customer service.
 
Amuso says bringing in an outside consultant to review the city's operations through one of the processes could yield plenty of long-term savings. 
 
"We need to look at all kinds of ways to consolidate and get the best bang for our buck out there," said Ward 2 Councilor Kevin Morandi.
 
Ward 4 Councilor Christopher Connell says he agrees with the concept, but doesn't know if the city should pay for a consultant. Ward 5 Councilor Donna Todd Rivers suggested creating a task force of residents to handle the reviews. 
 
"I do believe there needs to be an independent review of the budget," Rivers said, adding that there are people in the community with experience in the two types of processes. She said a "well-appointed and thought-out task force should be able to do this."
 
Councilor at Large Peter White supported asking the mayor to do cost analyses of city departments to make sure the city isn't spending more on a consultant than the amount of savings found. Further, he added that while there could be some savings by changing vendors for products, the city should still buy locally to support businesses operating here. 
 
The council sent the petition to Tyer's office with a unanimous vote. The petition is the same one that went to Bianchi in December 2014. 
 
In other business, the City Council accepted a number of grants including $350,000 for the Pittsfield Community Connection program, $95,000 for the senior center, $9,000 traffic enforcement, $4,980 for bicycle and pedestrian safety, $3,500 for trees at Wellesley Park. 
 
The council was unsupportive of a motion from Amuso to start meetings at 6:30 instead of 7 p.m. and to allow subcommittees the ability to change start times on occasion. 
 
"People want to get in here, do their business, and get home to their families," Amuso said of starting the meetings earlier.
 
In some cases, subcommittee member schedules could conflict and she asked for the ability to hold meetings at times other than 7 p.m. That, too, was rejected by the council, with many members saying it would through a monkey wrench into scheduling access to meeting rooms.
 
"It creates too much of a nightmare to start scheduling around other meetings," White said.
 
Others said in the rare occasion a special meeting is needed, the ability to change times could make the subcommittees more efficient in operations. But the motion failed 6-5 with White, Morandi, Melissa Mazzeo, Lisa Tully, and Nicholas Caccamo voting against the flexibility. 

Tags: cost savings,   financial consultant,   financial planning,   fiscal 2017,   Pittsfield city council ,   

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'Haunted Streets' To Air On PCTV

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Pittsfield Community Television has teamed up with the city's Recreation Program for a television event to air in place of the canceled 2020 Pittsfield Halloween Parade. 
 
"Once it became clear that the Halloween Parade could not happen in its usual form, we realized we needed to do something to keep this annual tradition alive in some fashion as it brings much joy to the community," Becky Manship, recreation and special events coordinator for the city of Pittsfield said.  "Since PCTV has been covering the parade for twenty-five years, the decision to do a retrospective of past parades was simple.  We hope the community will enjoy a look back in time as we have." 
 
PCTV will present "Haunted Streets: A Celebration of 25 Years of Halloween Parades" in place of when live coverage of the parade as it stepped off on Tyler St would have begun.  The program will look back at some of the best floats and moments of the past 25 years of PCTV's parade coverage.  
 
The television event is hosted by Manship and PCTV's parade commentator Jody Spielmann and will debut on Friday, Oct. 30 at 7:00 p.m. airing on PCTV Access Pittsfield Channel 1301, and also on the PCTV Select App available on Roku, Apple TV, and on the web at PittsfieldTV.org.
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