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Pittsfield City Council Begins Review of $162M Fiscal 2022 Budget

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council on Monday began the review of the proposed $162 million fiscal 2022 budget, giving preliminary approval to seven departments' spending in just over an hour.
 
The draft budget is up 3.6 percent, or $5,692,244 over this year. The $162,098,825 budget includes focuses on investments in public education including pre-kindergarten in every school, increased staffing within the Department of Public Services, creating a Department of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and investments in cybersecurity. 
 
The school budget is $67,311,700, up 4.4 percent or $2.8 million over this year. The schools account for about 42 percent of the budget.
 
Increases in fixed costs include a $737,264 increase in the retirement contribution; a $590,000 increase in solid waste collection and disposal; a $36,453 increase in principal debt payments. Reductions include an $850,000 savings in health insurance; and a $130,305 savings in long-term debt interest.
 
The total spending plan, including enterprise funds, is $189,209,759. The city will need to raise and appropriate $95,793,641 to fund the budget, about $4 million more than this year. This leaves Pittsfield with $1.6 million in excess levy capacity. Revenues for the balance of the budget come such areas as fees, fines and $60.5 million in state aid. The administration is not proposing to use free cash to offset the tax rate.

"I have to say that this process, this year went a lot smoother than last year," Finance Director Matthew Kerwood said. "Given that we have detectability from the state, specifically around state aid numbers, which obviously, given our dependence on state, specifically Chapter 70 [education aid], it made this process a lot easier than the last process."

In the Committee of the Whole meeting which lasted just over an hour, Ward 4 Councilor Chris Connell motioned for a handful of line item amendments that did not pass.
 

Pittsfield Budget Review Day 1

 

 

Mayor's Office

The Mayor's Office budget of $225,908 was preliminarily approved in a unanimous vote.
 
The budget is $9,239 more than last year. The mayor's salary by charter is $95,000 with increases tied annually to the Consumer Price Index. The travel allowance — which has shrunk over the years — was again zeroed out. 
 
Ward 7 Councilor Anthony Maffuccio inquired about the executive assistant's pay increase of 10.4 percent and the director of administrative service's pay increase of 5.6 percent. Mayor Linda Tyer explained that the increases are due to a combination of both step increases, and the adjustment to the compensation schedule for non-union employees.
 
Account Name   2018 Approval 2019 Approval 2020 Approval 2021 Approval 2022 Approval
Mayor   $95,000 $96,998 $98,453 $100,915 $102,428
Director of Admin Services   $53,092 $56,064 $58,101 $59,554 $62,889
Executive Assistant   $37,285 $39,364 $41,354 $42,125 $46,516
Markets and Advertising   $250 $300 $300 $300 $125
Supplies   $2,922 $2,775 $2,575 $2,575 $2,450
Travel   $1,297 $1,000 $1,000 0 0
MA Municipal Association   $11,000 $11,000 $11,200 $11,200 $11,500
Total   $200,846 $207,501 $212,983 $216,669 $225,908


City Council


 
The budget proposal received preliminary approval in a 9-2 vote with Connell and Ward 2 Councilor Kevin Morandi voting in opposition.

Ward 5 Councilor Patrick Kavey queried Council President Peter Marchetti on the advertising marketing budget that increased by $1,000.

Marchetti explained that there was a $500 transfer out of education and training to advertising marketing, which is used to for legal notices, and that increase was made to ensure they have enough funds for future years.

At this time, Connell was having trouble with his audio over the Zoom platform. He made an illegible motion to reduce $500 from Advertising and Marketing which was only supported by Morandi and himself.
 
 
Account Name   2018  Approval 2019 Approval 2020 Approval 2021 Approval   2022 Approval
Councilors   $90,002 $90,002 $90,002 $90,002   $90,002
Clerk of the City Council   $4,000 $4,000 $4,000 $4,000   $4,000
Clerk of Committees   $8,640 $8,640 $8,640 $8,640   $8,640
Education and Training   $0 $0 $2,420 $2,420   $2,420
Advertising/Marketing   $1,250 $1,250 $1,000 $1,000   $2,000
Total   $103,892 $103,892 $106,062 $106,062   $107,062

City Solicitor

The Solicitor's Office budget of $227,669 was preliminarily approved in a 7-4 vote with Connell, Morandi, Maffuccio, and Kavey voting in opposition.
 
Maffuccio and Morandi said they do not support the City Solicitor's budget because they believe Pittsfield should have a full-time city solicitor in-house instead of contracting out for legal services.

"I will not be supporting this budget because I do feel that we're not getting our best bang for our buck, we need a full-time city solicitor and we mean associate city solicitor that we had under the Bianchi administration," Morandi said.

"That office needs to be open five days a week with a solicitor there so both the residents and the counselors aren't getting shortchanged."

Connell also made failed a motion to reduce legal fees/court costs by $2,000.
 
Account Name   2018 Approval 2019 Approval 2020 Approval 2021 Approval 2022 Approval
City Solicitor   $1 $0 $0 $0 $0
Assistant City Solicitor   $1 $0 $0 $0 $0
Executive Legal Secretary   $39,011 $43,207 $45,246 $46,873 $50,169
Tax Title Litigation   $1,500 $1,500 $5,000 $5,000 $5,000
Supplies   $1,000 $1,000 $500 $500 $500
Law Library   $11,500 $11,500 $5,000 $3,250 $0
Legal Fees and Court Costs   $162,000 $162,000 $162,000 $162,000 $170,000
Legal Settlements   $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Equipment Maintenance   $2,800 $2,800 $2,000 $2,000 $2,000
Total   $217,813 $222,007 $219,746 $219,623 $227,669

City Clerk

The City Clerk's budget of $363,082 was preliminarily approved with some discussion. 
 
Councilor at Large Earl Persip III queried Clerk Michele Benjamin about the 40 percent deduction in education and training costs and the 300 percent increase in advertising and marketing costs.

Benjamin explained that they haven't been to conferences in the face of COVID-19.

"Unfortunately, the costs, publishing legal ads has skyrocketed because we no longer can use the Gazette on a consistent basis because he's only publishing once a month instead of weekly," Benjamin said in regards to the advertising costs. "And that's why I had the conversation with President Marchetti to increase the councilors' advertisement budget as well."

After some back and forth between Connell and Benjamin related to the election officer's line item, the budget was preliminarily approved in a 9-2 vote with Connell and Morandi opposing.
 
 
Account Name     2018 Approval 2019 Approval 2020 Approval 2021 Approval 2022 Approval
City Clerk     $68,682 $67,607 $70,062 $72,514 $75,825
Assistant City Clerk     $43,350 $45,104 $47,036 $42,056 $43,627
Head Clerk     $36,634 $37,183 $37,834 $38,969 $39,706
Assistant Clerk Registrar     $36,211 $33,373 $34,843 $34,754 $39,367
Election Officers     $22,932 $24,696 $35,280 $26,656 $22,935
Secretary Board     $31,120 $32,381 $33,775 $32,229 $33,741
Senior Clerk Typist     $28,048 $29,185 $30,445 $35,923 $37,609
Registrars Board     $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Licensing Board     $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Election Custodians     $2,700 $2,754 $4,435 $3,000 $2,800
Equipment Maintenance     $6,300 $6,300 $3,300 $6,471 $7,173
Election Programming     $4,936 $4,936 $9,000 $6,000 $9,000
Election Rentals     $705 $705 $1,050 $700 $700
Education and Training     $1,000 $1,000 $1,000 $1,000 $600
Advertising and Marketing     $500 $500 $500 $500 $2,000
City Code Updates     $10,000 $10,000 $10,000 $10,000 $8,000
Records Preservation     $2,000 $2,000 $2,000 $2,000 $2,000
Supplies     $16,404 $16,404 $23,000 $16,500 $23,000
Census     $15,000 $15,000 $16,000 $15,000 $15,000
Total     $326,522 $329,128 $359,560 $344,272 $363,082

Council on Aging

The $341,200 Council on Aging budget was approved with little discussion. The amount is $38,835 more than last year.
 
Persip questioned the zeroed-out Part-Time Activities Leader line item, to which Council on Aging Director Jim Clark explained that the individuals retired and were being replaced with a full-time position.

"We had actually two part-time people in that position," Clark said. "And we reduced one of those positions last year because the two had retired and because of COVID, we didn't necessarily need them. We're taking that position and actually making it a full-time position and reducing the kitchen coordinator to a part-time position."
 
 
Account Name     2018 Approval 2019 Approval 2020 Approval 2021 Approval 2022 Approval
Director     $52,910 $54,508 $59,728 $61,221 $64,240
Senior Clerk Typist     $31,180 $32,709 $33,282 $34,251 $34,898
Administrative Assistant Supervisor          

$28,084

 $34,895
SDC Assistant     $23,558 $25,233 $25,675    
Soc Serv Tech/Custodian     $32,000 $32,867 $33,443 $29,267 $30,640
Soc Serv Tech/Custodian (PT)     $25,377 $25,967 $26,422 $28,240 $34,546
Program Assistant     $32,125 $33,490 $34,076 $35,055 $39,463
Activities Leaders (PT)     $21,545 $22,017 $22,403    
Activities Leader           $11,202 $33,218
Kitchen Coordinator     $22,490 $23,449 $23,860 $23,860 $15,600
Temp. Labor     $3,382 $3,484 $3,485 $3,485 $5,000
Equipment Maintenance     $6,435 $6,000 $6,300 $6,300 $6,300
Building Maintenance     $13,500 $13,400 $14,000 $14,000 $15,000
Printing     $1,300 $888 $1,000 $1,000 $1,000
Supplies     $2,500 $2,500 $2,500 $2,500 $2,500
Program Expense     $24,350 $23,900 $23,900 $23,900 $23,900
Total     $292,652 $300,414 $310,074 $302,365 $341,200


Veterans Services

The Veteran's Services budget was approved without discussion. The $1,007,804 budget is $2,154 more than last year due to the increase in the Veterans' Agent and Administrative Assistant line items.
 
Account Name     2018 Approval 2019 Approval 2020 Approval 2021 Approval 2022 Approval
Veterans' Agent     $48,100 $52,061 $51,101 $53,657 $55,312
Administrative Assistant     $29,478 $27,112 $28,123 $33,243 $33,742
Temporary Labor     $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Equipment Maintenance     $975 $0 $842 $1,400 $1,400
Rental Expense     $0 $5,900 $5,000 $6,500 $6,500
Education and Training     $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Flags     $0 $1,500 $0 $8,600 $8,600
Supplies     $3,000 $2,000 $2,59 $2,000 $2,000
Program Expense     $1,000,000 $962,250 $790,772 $900,000 $900,000
Award and Declarations     $300 $250 $0 $250 $250
Total     $1,081,853 $1051073 $876,097 $1,005,650 $1,007,804

 


Tags: fiscal 2022,   pittsfield_budget,   

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Big Y Hiring Spree

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — On Tuesday June 29, Big Y will hold their first ever company wide "monstrous hiring" event at over 75 locations across Massachusetts and Connecticut. 
 
According to a press release, Big Y are simplifying their application process. Every store plus the distribution center will hold interviews and hiring managers will be able to make on-the-spot job offers on June 28 from 3-8 PM
 
"A future at Big Y means more than stocking shelves. It is an opportunity for personal leadership and growth, an opportunity to belong and contribute to your own vibrant future and an opportunity to connect with others and be part of a community that cares," said Michael J. Galat, vice president of employee services. "We stand committed to making a real difference where employees are celebrated for who they are and have a chance to share their ideas and be respected, valued and heard."
 
Currently, there are openings at all Big Y supermarkets, Big Y Gas and Convenience Stores, Table & Vine Fine Wines and Spirits, and Big Y's Fresh and Local Distribution Center.
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