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Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz to unveil budget to council

— The City Council will get a look at next year’s proposed operating budget when it gathers tonight, though the information will come with one big Proposition 2½ asterisk.

Mayor David J. Narkewicz is set to submit the budget for fiscal 2014 without figures from a $2.5 million override voters are scheduled to consider June 25. That means the budget will include cuts of 15 positions and service reductions needed to close a projected $1.4 million gap.

If voters approve the override, the city would have enough time to update its budget at a third June meeting scheduled for June 27 before the next fiscal year begins July 1.

The meeting begins with a public comment session at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Puchalski Municipal Building, followed by the regular session.

The council at its May 2 meeting agreed to place the override on the ballot, and councilors tonight are expected to take two votes on an order setting a special election for June 25.

If the override initiative is successful, the money would be used to not only plug the budget gap next fiscal year but also to create a cushion for the next several years. It would provide $1 million for the schools, $726,300 to other city departments and $773,700 for an override stabilization account.

The override would add 79 cents for every $1,000 of assessed home valuation, increasing the tax bill for an average single-family home valued at $297,323 by about $235. The tax would be permanently added to the city’s tax levy.

Without the override, some 15 positions would be eliminated across all departments, including 11 in the schools and four in the police department.

Once released, the budget will move to the council for review and must be finalized and approved with two readings by June 30.

The council is scheduled to hold budget hearings with city departments May 29 and 30, from 5 to 9 p.m. each night. The council will hold a 7:05 p.m. public hearing on the mayor’s budget at its June 6 meeting.

In other business, the council will consider:

∎ Proclamations declaring May and June safe prom and high school graduation season and May 19 to 25 as National Public Works Week.

∎ A donation of $20,000 from Jack Hornor and Ron Skinn of Florence to paint Grove Street Inn.

∎ An order to install temporary stop signs at the intersection of Jackson Street, Woodlawn Avenue and Prospect Street.

∎ A recommendation to disapprove petitions for street acceptance of Bradford Street South and Center Court, and referral of a petition to accept Massasoit Avenue as a public way.

∎ A fireworks application for the Northampton Family Fourth Celebration scheduled for Saturday, June 22. The 20-minute display is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. from a location in Look Park.

∎ Second vote on an order to purchase a shared easement, with the town of Williamsburg, for the eventual extension of the Norwottuck/Mass Central Rail Trail to South Main Street in Williamsburg.

∎ An order to acquire a free easement from Historic Northampton over its property from Graves Avenue to the Bridge Street School property. The easement will allow for the installation of a stormwater sewer to address a drainage problem.

∎ A second vote on an ordinance amendment rezoning watershed protection throughout the city.

∎ Referral of three ordinance amendments regarding parking change proposals on Round Hill Road to the Ordinance Committee.

∎ A second vote on an ordinance amendment prohibiting parking at all times on parts of Hockanum Road and Fair Street Extension. The parking ban is for sites next to water standpipes.

∎ An ordinance creating an Elected Officials Compensation Advisory Board to study compensation levels, as instructed by the new charter.

∎ Announcement of June 20 public hearings regarding a Department of Public Works’ application for a license to store fuel at its 125 Locust St. headquarters and at the wastewater treatment plant at 33 Hockanum Road. The hearings will take place at 7:05 p.m. and 7:10 p.m., respectively.

Legacy Comments1

The schools are taking the brunt of this hit and that is not right. I'd rather see us cut back on DPW, parking, whatever. The article says 15 positions would be cut across all departments, but all 15 positions are in School and Police. What about the executive office? City Hall? Fire? All tough choices, but we can't place the burden on the most innocent amongst us who can't speak up for themselves: the children.

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