While I think the proposed 2013 City Budget is a good accomplishment for Lowell, the City Manager and the Councilors the SUN Editorial seemed to be very critical and does NOT in my opinion recognize the solid fiscal shape the city is in.
Some will accuse the Manager of “spinning” the numbers but they forget that the State has to certify these same numbers a fact that was a chief reason for the former Manager being shown the door as the city was on the brink of a State takeover for using all its reserves.
While the SUN Editor seemed to have looked at that Manager in a lets say far more friendly light,they may have neglected to report the dire financial shape of the city or criticize the practises of that administration.
They seem to want to ignore the fiscal accomplishment of this Manager and his administration with the support of the majority of the council and instead of being supportive wrote a doom and gloom editorial and insulted the Council saying ” the City Council shouldn’t be snookered into sleep mode — as the majority usually is during its rubber-stamp budget season.”
I chose to take a look at several communities around the state to see what Newspapers in those areas had to say about their communities budgets and it CLEARLY shows that Lowell is in solid Financial Shape and should be recognized for what they have accomplished in these fiscal times….just don’t expect to read that in the SUN unless it is in A Kendall Wallace column.
The current Editor clearly has aligned himself with Councilor Elliot and the Bernie Lynch bashers and will NOT admit that Lowell Financially is in solid shape with a forecast / projection that keeps us that way.
Be Thankful we aren’t in these cities:
Home > Breaking News – MassLive.com > Holyoke
Holyoke’s next budget of $124.4 million could force nearly 70 school layoffs; police Quinn Bill pay could be on line
Holyoke City Council has 45 days to consider, possibly cut Mayor Alex Morse’s proposed $124.4 million budget
Under the city charter, the City Council has 45 days to review the budget. The council is authorized to cut, but not add to, the budget.
Morse’s proposed budget is an increase of 3.5 percent above the $120 million approved for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.
My proposed budget is both lean and fiscally conservative, as many departments will see no increases over ‘FY12,’ and most will see decreases,” Morse said.
The proposed budget funds no new positions, but avoids employee layoffs and furloughs on the city side of the budget, Morse said.
The city has more than 2,000 employees. That consists of 1,340 school employees and more than 700 full and part-timers in the police, fire, public works and other departments.
A different picture could emerge on the school side of spending, as officials said expiration of grants and increased costs could prompt layoffs.
Council President Kevin A. Jourdain said he has invited Morse and finance officials to a meeting to get details on the budget’s expected revenue and expenses May 29 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.
The council’s review this year also will include a meeting with school officials, Jourdain said.
The School Department accounts for most of the budget, consisting of a city allocation of more than $64.2 million.
Mayor Flanagan proposes $246.1M fiscal 2013 budget for Fall River
FALL RIVER – The $246.1 million proposed fiscal 2013 budget shows a 4.3 percent increase and includes the maximum tax hike allowed under Proposition 2½, which will cost the average homeowner an extra $80 next year, Mayor Will Flanagan reported Wednesday.
While agreeing to meet the $88.1 million school operating budget endorsed by the School Committee, the budget and figures he and two top finance administrators highlighted lacks the certainty of whether the city will receive a $14.4 million federal SAFER grant over two years to fund 79 firefighters.
“If the SAFER grant is not funded it significantly alters the entire budget, and reductions will have to be made across the entire board,” said Flanagan, accompanied by City Administrator Shawn Cadime and acting Treasurer Edward Iacaponi
Worcester trying to find money to keep more classrooms to 25 students or less Finding more school funds a monumental task now
WORCESTER — The City Council has extended its deliberations on the fiscal 2013 municipal budget another week in the hope that an additional $500,000 can be found for public schools to reduce the number of elementary classrooms expected to have more than 25 students.
The council had originally planned to adopt next fiscal year’s budget last night, but Councilor-at-Large Joseph C. O’Brien requested the final vote be delayed one week so school and city officials can have time to get together to see if any additional money can be identified for the schools.
Mr. O’Brien made his request after the council heard a budget presentation from School Superintendent Melinda J. Boone, in which she said 91 elementary school classrooms are projected to have 26-29 students next school year, with 15 at the kindergarten level alone
As part of his fiscal 2013 budget proposal, City Manager Michael V. O’Brien has recommended $284.5 million for the public schools which is $11.4 million more than the current year school budget.
A look at Springfield’s 2013 budget
SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) – The 2013 Springfield city budget is in the preliminary phases, and Monday night city councilors heard from the finance department to get a better understanding of what they’ll be facing as they move forward in the process.
“We realize it is going to be a lean, tough year, and there are going to be some tough decisions,” said City Councilor Bud Williams. “It’s going to be a very tight budget this year, and we are going to be looking at several different avenues to raise revenue and to ensure that core services here in the city of Springfield are provided,” said City Council President James Ferrera.
The meeting didn’t lay out to many specifics on the budget, but one thing was certainly clear – the tight economy isn’t leaving much wiggle room.
“We’re looking at a situation where property values are on the decline for the fifth year in a row, and there will be the need to reduce city department budgets from the current year level,” said Springfield Chief Administrator and Financial Officer Lee Erdman.
But despite the tight budget, some members of the city council say they are not willing to make any concessions when it comes to cutting services.
“I’m going to fight any cuts in services. People pay taxes and they demand services. If we have to cut employees that’s one thing, but cutting services, I’m not going to be part of it,” said Williams.
Ferrera says that the June tornado has put an added financial burden on the city.
“It’s a huge expense on the city where we are still waiting for reimbursements from the federal government. The tornado implications are anywhere from right below $100 million,” said Ferrera.
As for numbers, financial officials says they’re looking at a budget in the range of $538 and $547 million for the year. Now the city council will be presented with a completed version of the budget on June 1 and will have until the 30th to approve it or make recommendations
Chicopee officials begin budget review for fiscal 2013
The city is expected to face a fourth year of level funding and level services, but few or no layoffs are expected.
Mayor Michael D. Bissonnette said he is beginning to meet with department directors to develop the budget for the 2013 fiscal year, which begins in July.
While Bissonnette said he is hoping for no layoffs and no cuts in services, it may be more difficult than in previous years to balance the budget.
“It depends on the local aid that comes from the state,” he said.
This year’s budget is about $154 million. Bissonnette expects spending to be close to that for fiscal year 2013.
Currently, the governor’s funding proposals will give the city about the same $9 million in state assistance that it received last year. But that amount is still $4 million less than the city saw four years ago and could be cut by the state House or Senate.
Police and firefighters have accepted a contract with no raises for next year, but the city still has to pay step increases for its most junior employees as well as inflationary increases on goods and services, Bissonnette said.
The city also needs to buy about $6 million in equipment to replace a dozen aging police cruisers, two ambulances, two fire trucks and a number of Department of Public Works vehicles. Not all of those purchases will be able to be done in one year, Bissonnette said.
One of the city’s struggles is with its waning savings. In the past, Bissonnette has avoided layoffs by balancing the budget with money from its reserve accounts. Every year he and the City Council have paid that money back later by using unspent funds from the previous year.
But this year all the leftover money was used to clean up damage left by the October snowstorm. That left the city surplus at $6 million.
Bissonnette said he is not sure if he will borrow from the city reserves again to balance the budget.
“We will look at what we have for resources,” he said.
The city spent about $5.8 million on storm cleanup and is applying for reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for 75 percent reimbursement of $5 million. Another about $800,000 of costs associated with the storm may be eligible for 100 percent reimbursement, he said.
But the city can’t file for reimbursement until every bill is paid and is expecting a long wait before the money is actually reimbursed, Bissonnette said.