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Pittsfield Council to See $205M FY24 Budget Proposal
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
05:39AM / Monday, May 08, 2023
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The proposed operating budget for fiscal year 2024 is almost $17,000,000, or 8.9 percent higher, than the previous year at  $188,822,018.

On Tuesday's City Council meeting agenda is an order to raise and appropriate a total of $205,634,497 for the FY24 budget beginning July 1. This begins the council's process of departmental spending deliberations with a budget adoption before the new fiscal year begins.

Mayor Linda Tyer is proposing the use of $1 million in free cash to lower the tax rate. 

The total budget also an enterprise total of $18,195,586, with $6,199,738 for DPU water treatment, $1,002,156 for sewer, and $10,993,692 for DPU wastewater.

The operating budget includes $255,797 for the mayor's office, $14.364,673 for the Police Department, $11,095, 563 for the department of public services, and $60,092,255 in unclassified.

Last week, the School Committee approved a $78,088,016 FY24 budget that was reduced by $220,000 after a conversation with the mayor. With school choice and Richmond tuition funds, the total is $78,558,016.

Reductions include the $100,000 line item to replace Chromebook computers, $22,000 from the Career Technical Education supplies, $5,000 from the curriculum and instruction account, and the relocation of a $95,000 social emotional learning coordinator to Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) III funds.

The school budget is a $5,689,754 increase from last year's appropriation of $72,398,262 with more than 85 percent of the increase allocated for special education instruction and support, Career Technical Education/career pathways, and contractual obligations.

The mayor will also present a five-year capital improvement plan that details some $308 million in investments in infrastructure, equipment and technology. The proposal prioritizes roads, parks and recreation, facilities, and modern information technology. Last year's budget adoption was not a walk in the park.

Before the final approval, Ward 2 Councilor Charles Kronick halted the council's vote on the $189 million fiscal 2023 budget with a charter objection, voiding all of the recommended amendments that were made to the proposal over four nights of deliberations.  

These included an additional $1,000 to the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) that he proposed, $65,000 for school maintenance, $50,000 to the building inspector's department, and a recommendation for the Pittsfield Police to earmark up to $250,000 in grant money to have additional clinicians as co-responders.

The original proposal of $188,589,144 was adopted by default but there was confusion about whether or not the city would have a budget for the fiscal year.

Tyer called a press conference to explain that, though the city had a budget by default, she had the option to amend it to include the $116,000 in increases. She said the charter objection caused a bit of "manufactured chaos" and was not expected.

On June 28, the added increases were adopted just two days before the new fiscal year.

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