Proposed North Adams budget increases 2.3 percent


NORTH ADAMS — Spending would increase 2.3 percent in the coming year under a fiscal 2017 budget introduced on Tuesday by Mayor Richard Alcombright.

The City Council quickly referred the $39.5 million spending plan to committee for further review.

The budget includes several renewed investments in city staff.

After years of consolidating departments and positions, Alcombright is proposing the city hire an assistant technology systems director at $40,000 annually, make the director of community events a full-time position for an additional $10,551 annually, and hire a building maintenance specialist at a $39,357 salary.

Among noteworthy changes in revenue, the budget relies on a 4.5 percent increase in real estate taxes to $16.19 million, though it's unclear exactly what impact this would have on the residential, single-family tax rate until the budget is finalized and the tax rate is set.

For the first time in three years, the mayor's budget also relies on $205,000 in reserves to balance the budget.

State aid is projected to increase 2.2 percent to $18,99 million in fiscal 2017.

Obligations to the city's public school system are expected to rise 2 percent to $16,744,198 in fiscal 2017. The budget also calls for payments to McCann to climb almost 9.2 percent to $993,015.

Medical insurance will see yet another jump 3.8 percent to $4,449,507 and pension obligations will increase 4.4 percent to $ 2,572,081 this year under the mayor's proposal.

"The most notable areas of increase are in public safety, health insurance, and pensions," Alcombright wrote in a letter accompanying his proposal.

The proposal, which was not discussed or debated by the council at its meeting Tuesday, will be reviewed in a series of at least two Finance Committee meetings scheduled over the course of the next two weeks.

The two firm meeting dates of the Finance Committee, which holds less formal meetings that are open to more public input than a regular City Council meeting, are May 16 and May 23. At least one more meeting, in which the Finance Committee will discuss proposed school budgets, has yet to be scheduled.

According to the mayor's proposed schedule, the Finance Committee will return the budget to the council on June 14 and the final budget will be voted on by the full council on June 28.

Contact Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376.


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