Look Ahead, Pittsfield: A summer unlike any other amid pandemic

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It was a long road, Pittsfield, but a fiscal 2021 municipal budget is now officially in place.

Councilors gave the final blessing to Mayor Linda Tyer's budget on Thursday, after tussling on school spending and police funding. As for alterations to Tyer's budget, councilors gave her proposed $11.4 million police spending plan a $100,000 haircut, and reallocated $85,000 from police patrol to clinicians.

A few councilors chided the School Committee, on which Tyer sits, for declining to add the funds cut from police to the schools, whose $65.1 million, level-funded budget is largely at the mercy of the state. The council passed the budget by an 8-3 vote, capping a series of June hearings and ensuring the city won't default to a month-to-month spending plan.

The question for city and school district officials in Pittsfield — and a number of other communities across the state that have sent out pink slips to educators — is whether it will receive increases in state education aid this year. Gov. Charlie Baker said last week that answers to that question could be coming within the next 30 days.

This week will see the close of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Pride Month, a month of celebration and remembrance that this year saw events held virtually amid the pandemic. The fourth annual Berkshire Pride festival has been postponed until Oct. 10.

In another chapter from the story of COVID-19 cancellations, Independence Day on Saturday also won't look or sound like it did for years past without the Fourth of July parade. But for a taste of tradition, the Parade Committee partnered with PCTV to re-air archived parades beginning Friday.

Amanda Burke can be reached at aburke@berkshireeagle.com, on Twitter @amandaburkec and 413-496-6296.

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