Mayor Stephanie M. Burke has submitted her proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year 2018. The budget is focused on providing key City services, initiatives, investments in our schools, and to assist in maintaining and augmenting all our current school ratings. The District is deemed a Level 2 School District. This budget also supports our AA Standard & Poor’s rating which indicates we are strong, sturdy and stable.
The proposed FY18 budget totals $167,117,437, a 3.1% increase from last year and includes a 3.86% increase in public school spending. Of the $5 million increase, overall, just about $545,000 is from increases in fixed costs such as Health Insurance of $261,000, Pension costs of $191,000 and Debt of $93,000. An additional increase is a result of Trash/Recycle of $390,000 and $205,000 is attributed to MWRA assessments for Water and Sewer. If these fixed costs are excluded, the increase is 2.3% overall.
Key components of the FY18 budget include:
– Creating a Full Time, year around Recreation Department ($262,000 increase)
– Creating a full-time Recovery Coach position in the Department of Public Health to enhance services provided regarding opioid addiction.
– Increasing funding for the Library. The proposed budget is above the funding requirements by the State for Library funding by $93,000. The budget includes a new position of Media Librarian, classification ML-4 and an increase to the part- time budget of $25,000.
– Creating a new position within the Engineering Division of the Department of Public Works for a Traffic Engineer ($74,000)
– Increase civilian police staffing levels with the addition of funding for two positions: one Crime Scene analyst and an Information Technology specialist. Also, we will begin the process of transferring over to civilian dispatch officers. This, in effect, will augment the police services with 10 additional officers that served in dispatch.
– Increase in school budget of $2.1 million
The City’s budget is supported by the following revenue sources: Real and Personal Property Taxes of $108 million, Local Receipts of $16 million, which include hotel, meals tax and cable fees, Enterprise Revenue from Water & Sewer of $24.5 million, School Building Assistance Reimbursement of $3.2 million and estimated Net Local Aid from the State, based on House Budget 1, of $15.6 million. Local Aid is estimated to be $217,000 greater than last year.
“In FY18 we will continue to strive to exceed the service level expectations of our constituents,” said Mayor Burke. “The mission of City government is to provide open, honest, and pro-active services effectively and efficiently, focusing on the needs of today and planning for tomorrow. We will continue to streamline the See-Click-Fix program that went live in March of 2016 to better communicate with the public.
“Balancing the City’s budget is no easy task and I appreciate the hard work our Department Heads and School Department Administration have put into the preparation of this year’s budget,” said Mayor Burke. “We look forward to a productive exchange during the City Council Budget Hearings.”