Mayor Carlo DeMaria’s preliminary $145,265,172 budget for running Everett in 2012 moved a step closer to enactment as the Aldermen approved modest cuts amounting to $100,000 on Monday night.
The budget that increased by $6,263,579 from last year’s $139,001,593 also includes cutting 11 city positions while adding city positions in other departments.
City departments that will experience a cut in personnel include solicitor by one, police by four, fire by four, building department by seven, city services by 14, code enforcement by four and veteran’s department by one. Inspectional services will increase by 16 and the newly formed Water and Sewer will have eight employees.
This budget is also the first municipal budget to have the new Enterprise Fund that was approved by both the Aldermen and Common Council in February. The Enterprise Fund isolates the water and sewer costs and the associated revenues. For this year, that cost for this service will be $12,333.
DeMaria outlined the other increases to the budget as follows:
* $750,000 for Mayor’s Reserve Account to be used to settle upcoming union contracts, including Animal Control, Fire, Clerical, City Services, E911, Library and Parking.
* $24,200 for the Fourth of July parade
* $100,000 for Police Account due to the new contract
* $100,000 for Treasurer’s Office Account to pay for tax title representation. This was an outside auditor’s recommendation and was discussed at an earlier Aldermen’s meeting as the City needs to collect past due taxes on abandoned properties.
* $290,000 in City Services Account to include Mt. Washington wall, fence at Edith Street Park and an increase in Construction Account for parks.
* $2,782,100 increase slated for the School Budget. Presently, the City of Everett will receive additional state grants of more than $4M for education. The local tax burden to run the schools with an enrollment of more than 6,300 students is lower than many surrounding communities.
* $1,079,451 in health insurance costs. With the passage of the state budget and the amendment that gives cities and towns the option to join the state health insurance plan, Everett officials believe that this cost may not materialize.
* $100,000 in unemployment costs. Like all Massachusetts municipalities, Everett must pay the complete cost of unemployment benefits.
* $510,000 earmarked to the Retirement Pension Funds. Again this account has been under funded for many years and needs additional funds to meet projected obligations.
* $634,404 added to the Enterprise Fund. This will help pay for the installation of new water meters especially for large commercial users. The payback for this investment as a result of charging for all the water that is used by these customers is expected to be within two years.
The next step in the budget process will be with the Common Council on Monday night. If the Council agrees to only approve the $100,000 cuts by the Aldermen, then the budget will be approved. If they make additional cuts, then the new cuts would have to go before the Aldermen to be approved or rejected. The new budget will take effect on July 1.
City officials estimate that commercial taxpayers may see a decrease in their rate and residential taxpayers may have the same rate. This budget remains between $650,000-$700,000 under the allowable Proposition 2 1/2 levy.