Northampton mayor renews deficit warning

  • —STAFF PHOTO

  • —STAFF PHOTO

  • U.S. Marine Corps Korea veteran, Purple Heart recipient and Veterans Council of Northampton President Bradley LeVay, left, of Leeds and Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz lay a wreath in the Park Street Cemetery during a Memorial Day remembrance ceremony in Florence on Monday morning, May 28, 2018. —STAFF PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 6/27/2019 5:55:08 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Fresh off the City Council’s final approval of the city’s fiscal 2020 budget, Mayor David Narkewicz reiterated Thursday that city coffers are running dry and that the city should consider a property tax override to avoid running a deficit next year.

Without additional revenue, Narkewicz said, the city will exhaust its fiscal stability fund and be in the red next year.

The mayor has expressed the desire to put the override on this year’s Nov. 5 ballot and to campaign for it. Should it pass, the mayor has said he would use the money to fund a new four-year fiscal stability plan.

“We need to have a conversation about renewing the plan,” Narkewicz said.

He also said that, without recreational marijuana revenue, the city would probably have had to consider an override to fund the fiscal 2020 budget. Narkewicz also pointed to the need to overhaul the Chapter 70 formula for state education funding, and expressed a preference for the passage of the PROMISE Act, which would increase state aid to schools.

The City Council gave its final stamp of approval to the budget June 20, when members passed five financial orders that authorized the appropriation of nearly the entire $116.8 million budget.

The council unanimously approved orders on second reading approving appropriations for the coming fiscal year’s general fund budget, sewer enterprise fund budget,  water enterprise fund budget,  solid waste enterprise fund budget, and stormwater and flood control enterprise fund budget. 

Approximately $5.8 million of the $100.5 million general fund budget for fiscal 2020 is outside of the city appropriation process.

Narkewicz signed the five orders on June 21. Speaking to the Gazette on Thursday, he said he was grateful to the council, as well as the many citizens who attended town hall budget meetings.

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


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