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Greenfield mayor raises all department budgets in 2015

GREENFIELD — The mayor has proposed a balanced budget of $44.9 million for 2015, an increase of 3 percent over this year’s budget of $43.7 million, which means no layoffs and improved services.

Mayor William Martin said “There may be more increases to some departments in the fall, when our free cash (surplus) is certified and we have a supplemental budget.”

In the current proposal, police will receive an increase of $106,415, or 3.9 percent, over this year, and fire will receive $55,755 more than this year, or a 2.9 percent increase.

Schools will receive 3.8 percent more, or a $677,323 increase, and public works will see $40,910 more in its budget next year.

The library, Recreation Department and veterans services also received increases.

“We’re expecting a $50,000 increase from the state in school money and $140,000 in unrestricted money, but that’s not a lot,” said Martin. “We’re doing a lot of this on our own.”

Martin said he was able to increase most budgets because of increased revenues and savings the town has realized.

“We’ve saved a lot through our being green and efficient,” he said. “We’ve worked hard to increase other revenues, like parking. It’s paying off.”

Martin promised in 2013 that his 2014 spending plan would “hold the line” and not increase by much, but if departments could just hold on, they would see an increase in the 2015 budget, and it appears he has made good on that promise.

Town Council will spend the next couple of months reviewing and discussing each department’s budget. Its Ways and Means Committee will meet with each department head.

Then, the full council will vote a 2015 budget.

The council cannot add money to anyone’s budget but the school’s, and if it were to do so, it would have to take the money away from something else. The council can vote to reduce any department’s budget.

The new budget will go into effect on July 1.

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