PITTSFIELD — The City Council on Tuesday approved a $179.2 million operating budget for Pittsfield’s next fiscal year.
Three councilors who had raised concerns about portions of the budget, over a series of hearings in May and this month, voted against the budget at the council’s last remote meeting before members return to in-person meetings.
Councilors made only minor adjustments to the spending plan Mayor Linda Tyer submitted to them this spring, reducing her proposal by $205,000 to account for mistakenly overbudgeted expenses within the Police Department.
Councilors Helen Moon, Chris Connell and Kevin Morandi voted against the budget. The vote closed the budget process for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
The council had approved the budget on a preliminary basis last week, and accepted it Tuesday with little debate or discussion, save for Councilor Anthony Maffuccio, who clarified that while he supported Tyer’s municipal spending plan, he disapproved of the $67.3 million budget for the Pittsfield Public Schools.
Maffuccio wanted more money for teachers.
“They have failed the teachers year after year with pay raises. They continue to fail our teachers,” he said.
Also approved by the council Tuesday was a new order from Tyer to appropriate $1.5 million from the city’s free cash reserve to reduce the city’s tax rate. Despite a Tyer administration policy to use no more than $1 million annually for the purpose of easing the burden on taxpayers, Tyer agreed to the increased figure after the council rejected her previous proposal of $750,000.
Final approval also was given to Tyer’s $6,992,000 capital budget.
During her regular COVID-19 update, Tyer said the city’s case rate and test positivity rate continue to trend lower, with no new positive cases reported in several days. She also offered an update on the number of coronavirus tests administered locally since the pandemic began last spring.
“We’ve hit a milestone,” she said. Over 100,000 tests have been administered to Pittsfield residents since March 2020, she said.