Mayor Tyer presents $175.5M operating budget to Pittsfield City Council

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PITTSFIELD — Mayor Linda Tyer presented her $175.5 million operating budget to city councilors on Tuesday in the first budget hearing of the season.

The proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year includes $63.5 million for city schools, $25.4 million in health insurance for municipal employees and $19.3 million for police and fire services.

It reflects an increase of 3 percent over the current fiscal year.

Tyer's spending plan would maintain level services, she said, and in some cases restores cuts made in previous budget rounds.

Making a budget entails tough decisions, she told councilors.

"Many of these are not easy issues," she said. "But I'm proud of the service we provide to our citizens."

Councilors will pick apart the proposed budget through a series of hearings over the coming weeks. Councilors must approve a municipal spending plan next month.

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Councilors also preliminarily approved Tyer's five-year $10.8 million capital improvement plan, which includes $2 million for a reconstruction of Tyler Street, as well as a separate $1.2 million for construction at the troublesome intersection of Dalton and Woodlawn avenues and Tyler Street.

Tyer said the city's financial outlook looks significantly better than it did when she took control of the ship in 2016. "Those were very difficult, dark days," she said.

Now, she said, "our successes are accumulating." To that point, she cited $2 million in new tax revenue that is boosting city coffers.

Still, she said "we must be conscious stewards of our finite resources."

Tyer said she began the budget process in January by working with department heads on her team's priorities.

"This evening is the culmination of all that work," she said.

Amanda Drane can be contacted at adrane@berkshireeagle.com, @amandadrane on Twitter, and 413-496-6296.


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