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Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz to talk about budget at series of community meetings

David Narkewicz

David Narkewicz Purchase photo reprints »

The mayor has been meeting with department heads for several weeks and has asked them to craft level-funded budgets for fiscal 2014, which begins July 1. He’s also interested in hearing from the public early in the process.

“I want to get their feedback and input ... before I submit my budget,” Narkewicz said.

The city is dealing with a significant budget gap exacerbated by several factors including health insurance, collective bargaining, state aid and more.

The first meeting is scheduled for today at 11:30 a.m. at the Senior Center, 67 Conz St.

The remaining five meetings will take place at 7 p.m. on the following days: Wednesday at the Leeds School cafeteria, 20 Florence St.; Monday, March 18, at the Bridge Street School library, 2 Parsons St.; Wednesday, March 20, at Northampton High School’s Little Theater, 380 Elm St.; Monday, April 1, at the R.K. Finn Ryan Road School gymnasium, 498 Ryan Road; and Tuesday, April 9, at the Florence Civic Center, 90 Park St.

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VFW bingo returning

Whether it’s called bingo or beano, the popular pastime is returning to the VFW on Monday nights starting April 1.

The City Council last week supported the VFW Michael F. Curtin Post 8006’s application to the state Lottery Commission for permission to reinstitute bingo.

Bingo will take place from 5 p.m. to midnight at the Post building, 18 Meadow St. in Florence. Tom Pease, the post’s senior vice commander, said many residents have requested that the VFW bring back bingo.

“Monday night is a night elderly people want to get out,” Pease said.

Bingo proceeds will be used to fund VFW charities, support veterans in need and sponsor youth sports teams, he said.

Pease insists the VFW will use the name bingo, even though the state prefers the term beano.

Residents will have now two opportunities to play bingo during the week, as the Elk’s Lodge 997 sponsors its own game on Wednesday nights at 17 Spring St.

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System tracks council orders

The city has posted a spreadsheet on its website designed to make it easier for city councilors and residents to track proposed orders and ordinances that have been sent to subcommittees for review.

Council clerk Mary Midura developed an Excel document that she fills in as the items move through the subcommittees before eventually coming back to the council.

Several councilors asked for such a tracking system, which Midura initially created to help her navigate the process. The spreadsheet lists the date the orders and ordinances were referred, what committees they went to, and when the council took final action.

To find the document, visit “hot topics” on the City Council’s homepage at www.northamptonma.gov/citycouncil/index.php.

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