PRESS RELEASE CONTACT:
Officer of Mayor Domenic J. Sarno
MAYOR DOMENIC J. SARO RELEASES FY2014 BUDGET RECOMMENDATION
May 29, 2013 -Springfield, MA- Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and Acting Chief Administrative and Financial Officer T. J. Plante have released the Fiscal Year 2014 Budget recommendation, which totals $571.8 million, which Mayor Domenic J. Sarno characterized as a “hold the line” budget.
When this year’s budget development began the City was faced with a projected deficit of nearly $22 million. Since then Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and his Finance Team have closed the gap resulting in a budget with minimal service reductions and no layoffs. Fiscal Year 2014’s bottom-line budget represents a 1.6% increase from the FY 2013 revised budget, which is mainly due to a $13.5 million increase in net school spending. The budget funds 1,241.2 City-side general fund employees, which is a 2.9% increase in funded positions from the previous year. This staffing level is well below the FY 2008 FTE level of 1,581 which nets a 21.5% reduction in staff since the beginning of the “great recession.”
While efforts to gain additional state assistance for Fiscal Year 2014 have been positive, with the City expected to receive an additional $765,000 in unrestricted government aid, it does not solve nor sustain our current expense levels, causing the City to rely on a one-time revenue package that is currently before the City Council. This package includes the use of reserves of $7,000,000 and an anticipated declared overlay surplus of $4,000,000. Without this revenue package, more service cuts and layoffs will take place. If the revenue package is approved by the council a balance of $29 million will remain in the reserve fund.
On crafting the FY2014 budget Mayor Domenic J. Sarno stated; “I have attempted to make the process that my Administration has struggled with for the past six months as open and honest as possible. I have tried to preserve services that I know are so important to the City and its residents and businesses, which requires preserving City jobs where ever possible, City services are synonymous with employees.
Areas impacted by the FY14 Budget are as follows:
· Police Department- 11 previously funded positions that are currently vacant have been eliminated from the department’s staffing complement.
· Police department- funding for the City’s 50% portion of the Quinn bill (education incentive) funding is in place.
o 50% of the States funding is currently budgeted, pending arbitration
· Fire Department- a reduction of $127,000 to salaries for expected retirements and vacancies.
· Libraries- 2 branches will be closed; Liberty Street and Pine Point, however further educational and neighborhood uses of these facilities will be announced in the near future pertaining to adult literacy programs and senior neighborhood activities.
· Libraries- Remaining libraries will increase to 30 hours each week.
· Capital Asset Construction Department- 1 previously funded project manager position that is currently vacant has been eliminated.
· Public Works Department- funding for vehicle maintenance, new trash barrels and vehicle leases has been reduced.
· Parks Department- 4 previously funded vacancies have been eliminated for ground maintenance and clerical functions.
Acting Chief Administrative and Financial Officer T. J. Plante commented on these reductions: “The decision to reduce or eliminate these services and positions did not come lightly. The City cannot continue to maintain and sustain these services into the future based upon the revenues that are available for spending.”
While tough decisions were made amounting to almost $13 million in cuts there are some positive “buys” in the FY 2014 Budget:
· Libraries- will increase branch hours from 18 to 30 hours each week.
· Libraries- will continue to offer traditional youth programs that offer homework assistance and reading programs as well adult programs centered on literacy and basic education.
· Police Department- A fully funded Police Academy recruit class of 22
· Police Department- will continue its highly ranked deployment strategies such as the North End Initiative, Operation BADGE and the Ordinance/Flex Squad.
· Police Department- The shot-spotter system which detects gun shots covering six square miles continues to be funded to help react to crime.
· Fire Departments- Fully funded a recruit class of 8 fire fighters to fill vacancies.
· Fire department- Appropriately fund and replace turnout gear replacement and continue training in every effort to ensure firefighter safety.
· Fire Department- will continue fire prevention programs currently in place.
· Parks and Recreation- will once again continue mowing and maintenance to 10 City Parks including Walsh, Armory Commons, Gun Square, Angelina and others around the City. (these parks were shut down last year)
· Parks and Recreation- Summer recreation programs are intact, including fully-staffed golf courses.
· Parks and Recreation- City pools, 5-mile Pond and all splash pads will be open during summer months.
· Parks and Recreation-Terraces will be maintained across the City using the most cost effective labor available including Sheriff’s Crews.
· Department of Public Works- will include funding for ten additional drivers hired this fiscal year to help with snow removal with an added benefit of working on potholes and patches in the summer.
· Department of Public Works- The Solid Waste Division will continue to provide curb-side Single Stream Recycling pick-up, curb-side Yard Waste pick-up, Low Cost Bulk curb-side pick-up, and some Hazardous Waste Days – all at a very low annual cost to residents.
· Health and Human Service Division- has implemented procedures to charge salaries off to grants where appropriate.
· Department of Planning and Economic Development-Fully-staffed to continue all
development and recovery activities that will
move this City forward.
· Dispatch- The Dispatch Center will have a fully
developed back-up for the primary Dispatch
Center located on Pearl Street.
· Procurement Department- A contract
compliance position has been added to direct
compliance matters and assist with the
Responsible Employer Ordinance
Mayor Domenic Sarno commented on the “buys” of his FY 2014 Budget recommendation: “This budget continues to focus on the top priorities of my administration; public safety, education, and quality of life in our neighborhoods. Without the strongly negotiated MGM Host Community Agreement which includes a $1 million “signing bonus” and upfront payments of $4 million, over 100 layoffs and service reductions would have occurred.”