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Mayor Sarno Announces Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Recommendation

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and Chief Administrative and Financial Officer (CAFO) TJ Plante today submitted to the City Council for approval the Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) budget.  The recommended FY22 budget totals $755.7 million, a $28.1 million or 3.9% increase over the FY21 adopted budget.  The $28.1 million increase is largely due to non-discretionary costs for the School Department, employee benefits, pension contributions, and contractual obligations.  Of this increase, $13.8 million is from the School Department, and $14.3 million is from City departments. 



FY21 Adopted Budget

FY22 Recommended Budget

% Variance


$          249,742,667

$          264,003,002



$          477,858,733

$          491,696,545



$          727,601,399

$          755,699,548



Throughout the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, the Division of Administration and Finance and the Office of Management and Budget, under the leadership of CAFO Plante, has carefully monitored, reviewed, and balanced the fiscal challenges resulting from the pandemic.  In a testament to Springfield’s commitment to strong fiscal discipline, the FY22 budget was balanced, for the seventh consecutive year, without the use of stabilization or ‘rainy day’ reserve funds.  This strong fiscal management has been recognized as Springfield has received the “Distinguished Budget Award” for the 13th year in a row and the “Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting’ for the 9th consecutive year from the Government Finance Officers Association.

The City of Springfield, in balancing the budget shortfalls because of the pandemic, has never wavered in its commitment to responding to meet all of the public health and safety needs for our residents and business community, while also assuring that all vital core services were maintained. 

Although, the city faced much economic and financial uncertainty due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, recent federal legislation such as the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) should provide significant relief.  This historic aid package, which was signed into law by President Joseph Biden on March 11, 2021, will allocate between $97-$127 million in direct aid to Springfield over the next four years. 

Mayor Sarno said, “These are unprecedented and surreal times.  However, thanks to our strong fiscal management and proactive planning and response to the pandemic the City of Springfield is well prepared to adopt a balanced budget for approval without any layoffs, furloughs or cuts to essential city services.  The FY22 budget will also not have to dip into our healthy reserves or ‘rainy day’ funds.  The recommended budget places a continued emphasis on education, public safety, health and human services, and healthy neighborhoods and community services.” 

CAFO TJ Plante stated, “Our goal is to maintain core services with an eye on fiscal sustainability, while also tracking and monitoring all COVID-19 related expenses through deficit spending so we can go after any and all relief and recovery funding options that become available on the state or federal level.  This budget is strong and we are excited about the many great investments made to keep our city moving forward while not mortgaging our future.  As a testament to Springfield’s commitment to strong fiscal discipline and sustainability, the FY22 Budget was balanced, for the seventh consecutive year, without the use of stabilization reserve funds. Saving our reserves for future years will allow the City to weather a protracted recession, and sends a strong message that the City is committed to fiscal sustainability.”

“I am proud of our CAFO TJ Plante and his finance team for doing their due diligence and being prepared to deal with ‘the ebb and flow’ of our local, state and national economic landscape.  Our fiscal leadership and model has been recognized and acknowledged time and time again, and I strongly believe that this budget reflects the outstanding fiscal management the City of Springfield has during these challenging times.  Our municipal bond rating has remained strong and we continue to maintain a strong and healthy reserve,” Mayor Sarno added.  “My Administration will continue to provide leadership for an efficient, effective, strategic and compassionate way to assure that city services continue to be provided for our residents and business community, and that we go after any and all relief and recovery aspects for our residents and business community.”

Some notable investments in the FY22 budget include:

Capital Asset Construction

  • MSBA: The City continues to collaborate with the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA). Through the MSBA’s Accelerated Repair Program, the City has been able to undertake numerous school renovation projects around the City over the past several years 

Code Enforcement

  • Funding for a full complement of administrative and inspectional personnel positions in both the Building and Housing Code Enforcement Divisions, with an additional part-time Clerk position added under Housing Code to assist with increased administrative duties. This helps to ensure healthy neighborhoods and safe buildings throughout Springfield. Funding is also included for the continuation of the Mayor’s “Clean City” program

Department of Public Works

  • Continued funding of the Sidewalk Crew: A great addition to DPW, which works to keep sidewalk areas safe. The crew completes routine sidewalk repairs in all neighborhoods throughout the City
  • Vehicle lease and maintenance funding to keep the DPW fleet, including solid waste vehicles, operational and help replace an aging fleet
  • Core Services: Single-stream recycling and yard waste pick-up will continue. Street Sweepers will also continue to keep the neighborhoods clean and clear.


  • Undoubtedly one of the biggest challenges in both Springfield and across the nation was the adjustment to remote learning, an extremely difficult decision made to keep students and staff safe as we dealt with COVID-19. The School Department (SPS), under the leadership of Superintendent Dan Warwick, worked tirelessly with teachers and administrators to ensure a quality learning experience for all our students, despite a shift to a learning model that they’d never before seen. Even in this unprecedented situation, the School Department rose to the occasion and not only kept students engaged, but also continued to improve graduation rates and decrease the number of students who drop out.
    • The district’s dropout rate was just 3% in 2020, representing a 70% decrease since 2012. This represents the highest dropout rate decrease in all of Massachusetts during the same timeframe.
    • Additionally, the SPS 2020 graduation rate is almost at 80% which is an increase of over 3% compared to the previous year, and an impressive 20.4% increase since 2012.
  • Through the strategic use of Federal COVID relief funds, we have invested in upgrading HVAC systems to improve air ventilation in schools all throughout the district.
  • To ensure student success for distance learning, we distributed over 20,000 laptop computers to K-12 students and iPads to Pre-K students for home use
  • Additionally, we were able to provide our students with over 7.5 million free meals through our Culinary Nutrition Center
  • As we continue our fight to defeat COVID-19, the School Department looks forward to welcoming back its students full time this

Elder Affairs

  • Continued funding for the operation of a minibus, purchased in FY20, which is currently being used to deliver meals to elderly citizens throughout the city who do not have available transportation.  Transportation of Springfield seniors to our centers has been suspended due to COVID-19, ensuring our most vulnerable population remains healthy and safe
  • Despite sites being closed due to pandemic, department found creative ways to continue engaging seniors through virtual events, exercise videos, private phone concerts, wellness checks, take home crafts and drive-in events such as bingo and trivia

Fiscal Responsibility

  • We are pleased to announce that Springfield received the “Distinguished Budget Award” from the Government Finance Officers Association for the 13th year in a row. The City also received the “Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting” for issuance of the City’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the ninth consecutive year.
  • Pension: $51.5 million contribution towards pension liability; a 9.0% increase over the FY21 Adopted Budget.
  • Honors all contractual obligations including collective bargaining agreements, and all agreements as necessary for the School Department, including the SPS food service contract
  • Responsible Employer Ordinance: Two Project Managers will continue to ensure diversity in hiring practices for City construction projects. These individuals also ensure consistent compliance with all Federal and State rules and regulations

Health Department

  • This department has been fully funded, and serves an absolutely critical role in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the “front line defense” against the virus, HHS has managed the monumental task of evaluating the current situation surrounding the health crisis while continuing to educate the public on updated CDC guidelines, along with other best practices that will ensure the health and safety of all
  • As the pandemic begins to turn a corner, HHS continues its steadfast efforts to not only test, but more importantly vaccinate, as many of the City’s residents as possible. This has been done through the strategic use of Federal and State funding provided as part of the nationwide response
  • Funding will continue for one nurse supervisor and one gambling outreach coordinator to provide assistance to those at risk for gambling addictions. Forty percent of the Nurse Practitioner’s salary is now paid through grant funding
  • Funding has been added for a newly-created office of Racial Equity, along with a Cannabis Compliance Program Coordinator


  • In an effort to continue providing services during the pandemic, our libraries have offered curbside pickup to residents so that they can continue to rent books and other library materials
  • In collaboration with the Davis Foundation, the Springfield Public Libraries continues to manage the award-winning Read! Reading Success by 4th Grade program.
  • The City will continue to fund the Read/Write/Now adult literacy program.
  • Continued support and funding for all Springfield neighborhood branches.

Parks & Recreation

  • Beginning in FY22, in an effort to brighten the City’s neighborhoods, the Parks Department will work aggressively to remove tree stumps throughout Springfield. Removing these stumps is not only aesthetically pleasing to the eye, it will also create more space for residents to use after the areas are reseeded and grass is grown
  • The Terrace Maintenance Program will be fully funded in FY22
  • Funding will also continue for the Downtown Crew, which maintains the downtown metro area parks including DaVinci Park, Emerson Wright, Riverfront Park, Court Square, Stearns Square, and Pynchon Plaza. Pynchon Plaza is currently under construction, and will provide a direct walkway from many downtown restaurants and the casino to the Quadrangle and the Springfield Museums
  • Camp STAR Angelina, which was cancelled last year due to COVID-19, will be reopening for FY22.  Additionally, all pools and splash pads will be open for families to enjoy during the summer
  • The Parks Department continues to monitor COVID-related guidance from both the State and CDC, and soon hopes to determine if other recreational programs and activities can be allowed. This includes the After School & Evening Gym programs, the Summer Concert Series, and “Movies in the Park.”


  • The Thomas J. O’Connor Animal Control & Adoption Center will continue to maintain funding for essential operations, while also servicing our neighboring cities, Chicopee and Holyoke. In an effort to maximize operational efficiency, a new part-time Maintenance Technician has been added for FY22

Veteran’s Services

  • This department will continue to fully fund services to our veterans. The addition of newer staff in recent years has allowed this department to serve our veterans more efficiently, through proper case management efforts

Public Safety


  • The Springfield Police Department continues to utilize the body-worn camera program that was launched in FY20.  With the introduction of body worn cameras, Springfield has become the first city in the Commonwealth to employ this new technology across its police force. Body worn cameras have increased transparency and accountability.  Footage from body worn cameras is used to enhance police training. This investment in technology will improve residents’ safety, and highlight Springfield as a city on the cutting edge of law enforcement strategies
  • Funding has also been provided to run a new police academy of 40 recruits, beginning in the Fall of 2021
  • Continues funding for the replacement of ballistic vests, portable radios, seven (7) square miles of the ShotSpotter Gunfire Detection System (one square mile is being added to the Forest Park neighborhood), and the latest software available. For FY22, a new Early Intervention Software will be implemented to allow the SPD to quickly identify and address patterns of use force and certain other behaviors, with the goal of assisting officers through coaching to improve their on-the-job performance. To that end, the department hopes that this initiative will also help with retention amongst the sworn ranks.


  • For FY22, the Springfield Fire Department will also be hiring new recruits in order to stay ahead of attrition. The Department will run two academies this year.  Recruits will also continually be sent to the state-run academy program
  • Funding to proactively replace equipment such as firefighter turnout gear and SCBA air bottles - this gear ensures the safety of our first responders
  • Additionally, a lease payment for a new fire apparatus, begun in FY20, has been fully funded in the budget
  • Funding for Emergency Communications/Dispatch
    •  The Springfield Emergency Communications (Dispatch) Department, which closely collaborates with the Police and Fire departments, has also been provided with funding for several ongoing initiatives.
      • The Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) and Records Management Systems (RMS) is in the process of being replaced to improve working systems for all public safety employees, while also helping to ensure the safety of our community. While the new system is not expected to come online in FY22, the department seeks to make significant progress in reviewing and ultimately selecting the best option.
    • The consolidation of Police and Fire dispatch services at a single location on Roosevelt Avenue, which was finalized in January, has been a tremendous help in maximizing operational efficiency and marks the first time in the department’s history that everyone is under the same roof. This will significantly enhance cross-training efforts, while also ensuring ample supervisory coverage to address issues and provide feedback to call takers in real time
Page last updated:  Tuesday, March 1, 2022 01:32 pm