Mayor Carlo DeMaria is pleased to announce that the City has adopted its FY15 operating budget. Last week the City Council voted in favor of the $154,363,765 budget, only $85,000 less than the Mayor’s original proposal.
“As many people know, the City has been consistently recognized in the past years as financially stable,” stated Mayor DeMaria, “Our finances are considered high quality and low-risk. I believe the FY15 Budget is balanced, sustainable, and fiscally conservative, and yet still capable of providing high quality and efficient municipal services to our citizens and business owners.”
The FY15 budget places an emphasis on effective management of City operations. With the assistance of an organizational study provided by the University of Massachusetts Collins Center for Public Management, the City examined its departments, in particular those that serve the public, to assume that personnel and operations are meeting the evolving needs of the community. City Services will see the addition of a Professional Engineer, and while the funding cut from the City Services line item is equal to that of the proposed Business Manager position for the department, both the Mayor and his administration have expressed their belief in the necessity and value of such a role.
Also, the Purchasing Department will benefit from the addition of a City asset manager, Planning and Development will add a Transportation Planner, and Constituent Services will expand into a formal department, with the addition of multi-lingual greetings and an independent office.
In FY15, the City will continue with its long-term capital improvement investment, focusing on infrastructure and equipment. Included are lifecycle replacement of vehicles and equipment in key departments such as Police, Fire, and City Services in order to ensure safety and cost efficiency; maintenance of parks and tot lots, such as equipment repairs and improvements, field and court replacement or repaving, and general upkeep; information technology upgrades for City facilities including server and infrastructure upgrades and replacement and upgrade of computer workstations; and the continuation of the multi-year project to digitize files in the ISD and Engineering departments.
Educational expenses represent, by far, the largest portion of the budget as the City continues to commit substantial resources to this vital area. Providing the best education for our children is our most important goal. This is why we have committed an additional $1 million dollars above the School Foundation Budget. These funds will assist with the demands of an ever-increasing school population. As our schools continue to see higher enrollment, additional funding is needed to keep a balanced student-teacher ratio.
“It is vital for us to continue to invest in our City,” states the Mayor, “This budget will guarantee our continued economic strength, as well as the well-being of our residents and the future of our City.”