Greenfield mayor’s proposed budget would increase 1.34 percent

Reduces schools’ requested 5.5 percent increase to 0.95 percent

  • The Greenfield Town Hall Recorder File Photo/Paul Franz

Recorder Staff
Published: 4/1/2018 8:29:57 PM

GREENFIELD — Mayor William Martin proposed his budget for fiscal year 2019 to City Council.

The proposed budget totals $48.81 million and is $646,300 more than last year’s adopted budget. If approved, the city’s tax rate would increase from $22.43 to $22.72 per $1,000. The budget proposal is a 1.34 percent increase from last year.

About $215,000 of the proposed total budget is to fund two new school resource officers. This money will come out of the public safety line item. As for the rest of the school money, the mayor did not go along with the Greenfield Public Schools’ requested 5.5 percent increase.

Martin’s budget plan calls for an increase of 0.95 percent. Greenfield Public Schools had a proposed total of about $18.18 million, and total education budget — which includes the Franklin County Regional School Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School — is about $19.36 million.

Martin wrote in a letter about the budget to City Council and residents that there are $1.2 million in alternative funding sources for education, and recommended that the Greenfield School Department use them in place of increasing the budget significantly.

A list of possible alternative funding options and strategies were also sent to the School Committee by Martin. Suggestions included reducing the amount of vacant positions funded in the budget and limiting School Choice. A total of $150,000 in free cash was also recommended by Martin toward department needs.

Public safety line item’s proposed increase was the largest dollar amount, totaling $426,816, or 6.68 percent. This total includes the addition of two new school resource officers.

The additional resource officers come in the aftermath of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Fla., which resulted in 17 killed, including 14 students, and another 17 wounded.

The rest of the proposed increase, according to Martin, is for contracted raises in salaries.

The public works budget saw its proposed spending go up $230,286, or a possible 9.3 percent increase. Martin said that the increase is due to both salary increases and rising sludge disposal cost that has become a contentious issue in recent months.

The executive budget also increased $70,305, or 28.36 percent. This was due to a restructuring of administrative staff in the city, according to Martin. This includes adding two positions within the mayor’s office.

A notable reduction in the budget came from debt service, which is reduced by $278,355, or 15.07 percent, which Martin said was due to certain city debts being paid off.

City Council’s Ways and Means Committee is expected to discuss the proposed budget April 18, followed by City Council in May.

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