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Pittsfield Budget Hearings Begin Next Week

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council will begin a review of the proposed $169,537,880 fiscal 2021 operational budget in early June.
 
The council referred the bulk of Tuesday night's agenda to the Committee of the Whole and Council President Peter Marchetti said some, if not all, of these meetings will take place remotely.
 
"At the moment, the meetings of June 2 and June 4 will be via Zoom and we will let folks know about the other three," Marchetti said. "But I would plan on having them all be Zoom meetings."
 
He said hearings will take place June 2, 4, 11, 15 and 17
 
With the COVID-19 pandemic all but resetting the state budget process, the city has had to build a spending plan for next year without information on state aid.
 
The meeting documents contained a brief layout of the departmental budgets that comes to $105,044,180.
 
The school budget of $64,493,700, which was accepted by the School Committee last week, makes up the rest of the proposed operating budget.
 
Mayor Linda Tyer has said in the past that she wanted to make sure the city passed a budget even with questions around state aid. Optimally, state aid would come with an increase but there is a real possibility that education and unrestricted state aid could come in level funded or even decreased.
 
City Council also moved a $750,000 allocation from free cash to reduce the fiscal 2021 tax rate, the use of money from various revolving funds, and the use of $182,000 for parking related expenditures to the budget hearings.
 
The amended fiscal 2020 Community Preservation budget and the fiscal 2021 Community Preservation budget of $1,016,110.94 were also moved to the June hearings.
 
In other business: 
 
The City Council accepted a grant of $6,000 Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety Grant from the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security Highway Traffic Safety Division.
 
• The council accepted $15,000 in grant funds from the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.
 
This grant will be used to conduct an urban street tree assessment in the West Side neighborhood as well as to care for several trees at the Common and in Springside Park.
 
• The City Council accepted the Community Development Block Grant 2021-2025 Consolidated plan that continues much of the work the city has done in the past.
 
Ward 4 Councilor Christopher Connell was not present during some of these votes because of technical difficulties.
 
•  The City Council also approved the transfer and appropriation of $125,000 from Retained Earnings-Sewer to the Department of Public Utilities Wastewater Division to cover a deficit under the sludge handling account.
 
It also accepted the Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan.

Tags: fiscal 2021,   pittsfield_budget,   

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Berkshire Theatre Group to Present 'Godspell' Outdoors

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Theatre Group will produce "Godspell" this summer – the first musical in the United States to be approved by Actors' Equity Association in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The show will be presented outdoors in an open-air tent adjacent to The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, and is scheduled to run Aug. 6 through Sept. 4. Tickets will be available for purchase Tuesday, July 7, at noon. 

"We could not bear the thought of a Berkshire summer without live theater to support our community, so we jumped through every hoop to create a safe way to make this happen," said BTG Board of Trustees Co-President Lee Perlman. "I hope our production gives hope to the tens of thousands of theater professionals who are on the sidelines this summer. Theater is unstoppable and will be back”

Artistic director and CEO Kate Maguire said "Godspell" got the green light after BTG established a strict protocol to protect the health and safety of the audience, the performers and others involved in the show. 

"We have been working daily and in the true spirit of care and collaboration with Actors’ Equity Association for the past several weeks," she said. "Guided by Executive Director of Actors’ Equity Association Mary McColl and her extraordinary team, I have learned much about how to lead a theater in the new world. Our industry, which has been devastated by this global pandemic, will be served by their seriousness, data driven wisdom, and profound understanding of the need for artists to rebuild. 

"I am so proud that Berkshire Theatre Group, in its 92nd season will be authorized and granted the responsibility to produce the musical 'Godspell.'”

After careful consideration with the local and state government, Mayor Linda Tyer of Pittsfield and Actors’ Equity Association, BTG relocated "Godspell" from its original site at The Fitzpatrick Main Stage in Stockbridge to outside under a tent at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield.

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