×

Two city councilors suggest nearly $500,000 in cuts to budget

  • The Greenfield Town Hall Recorder File Photo/Paul Franz



Recorder Staff
Thursday, May 17, 2018

GREENFIELD — Two city councilors are asking the City Council to cut 1 percent from next year’s budget and are ready to propose where the cuts should be made.

Councilors Brickett Allis and Isaac Mass are proposing $489,311 in cuts from Mayor William Martin’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1. They want to discuss these ideas during the council’s meeting next week. The cuts would affect several departments, and include removing two new school resource officers.

The current budget is $47,084,970. Martin proposed a budget increase of 1.34 percent to $48,810,304. The proposed budget, though, includes $101,000 erroneously included by Martin to fund school resource officers in the police budget. The total is expected to be removed by the council next week.

Allis and Mass’s cuts would reduce the proposed budget to $48,320,993 but include the $101,000 error.

Police

Police would see the most money cut, totaling $176,154. The majority of these cuts are to police salaries and expenditures, including $118,128 for school resource officer wages.

Mass said cutting the school officer positions is suggested because the School Committee doesn’t support the added officers in schools and the positions were added without the committee’s approval.

Public works

Mass and Allis suggest reducing the Department of Public Works director’s salary by $11,461. They said current Director Don Ouellette has expressed a desire to leave his position.

According to Ouellette, his current contract expires soon and he will need to either negotiate a new contract or step down by July 1.

He said if he receives another job before then, he will “probably leave earlier.”

Ouellette later said, “I have been honest with the mayor and I’ve been honest with the councilors: My plan right now is to retire in October 2019.”

Other notable cuts

The councilors propose cuts in the executive department, removing $40,000 for the unfilled economic development and marketing position.

The total would reduce the executive line item by 12.7 percent, from $318,249 to $278,249.

Mass said the $40,000 could instead be used to fund an additional full-time firefighter, which would then transfer the money to the fire department. Greenfield firefighter and president of the Greenfield Permanent Firefighters Union Peter McIver previously said the department needs at least four additional firefighters.

Other cuts include reductions in salaries in several different city positions, which Mass attributed to attrition within the city and reduced salaries for those replacing retiring employees.

Upcoming retirements expected include City Clerk Deborah Tuttle and Chief Assessor Audrey Murphy, both in July.

Mass and Allis also suggest consolidating health inspection services under one director of inspections, which would be paid for by money set aside for the still-unfilled chief health inspector position. Mass and Allis suggest in their written explanation that this could save the city an additional $52,920.

Martin said Wednesday that he was assessing the potential fallout the cuts could cause.

“I’ve notified all the departments affected by the possible reductions and to report back on the possible impacts,” Martin said.

He said he should have a response sent to City Council by today.

City Council is meeting to deliberate on the budget next Wednesday.

You can reach Dan Desrochers at:

ddesrochers@recorder.com

413-772-0261, ext. 257