Northampton council gives budget final OK

  • Northampton City Hall File photo

@BeraDunau
Published: 6/22/2018 5:48:10 PM

NORTHAMPTON — The City Council unanimously passed the city’s $111,976,953 fiscal 2019 budget on second reading at its Thursday meeting. The budget calls for the city to tap into a fund established in the wake of a 2013 Proposition 2½ override for the first time.

“I’m pleased,” said Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz, who noted that this means that the city will have an operating budget in place when next fiscal year starts on July 1.

The budget passed by an 8-0 vote, as Ward 5 City Councilor David Murphy had to leave prior to the vote.

“It’s a levelheaded and reasonable budget,” said City Council President Ryan O’Donnell, who expressed appreciation for the city’s fiscal management.

The budget consists of a $96,019,032 general fund, as well as enterprise funds for water, sewer, solid waste and stormwater and flood control.

The city will dip into the override fund to the tune of $277,850, although when it was set up it was projected that the city would need to tap into it starting in fiscal 2017.

Narkewicz said that tapping into the fund was significant to him. He also said that the fund is projected to be able to cover budgetary shortfalls for one more fiscal year.

“We’re going to have to have a conversation,” he said.

Narkewicz said that another stability plan will be required once this one has run its course, or services will need to be cut or restructured.

He also noted that revenue from recreational marijuana and the recently struck down Fair Share Amendment, also called the “millionaire’s tax,” was not factored into the projection.

Narkewicz said that the thought was that the Fair Share Amendment, if passed, could have lead to an increase in Chapter 70 funding.

When asked about the budget, O’Donnell expressed frustration with the amount of money the city is losing because of the state’s charter school reimbursement formula.

“The state is shorting us,” he said.

Narkewicz also criticized the reimbursement formula, and said that reimbursement could have been funded by monies from a passed Fair Share Amendment.

When asked about the defeated amendment, O’Donnell said that the Legislature needs to find a new way to raise revenue in a progressive way.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.




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