City Manager Thomas Ambrosino presented a city budget just short of $181,500,000 for Fiscal Year 2020 to the City Council Monday night.
The proposed budget funds city expenditures at $86,095,981 and the schools at $95,391,784 for a total budget of $181,487,765. This budget is about $6.5 million more than the FY19 budget, an increase of 3.71 percent.
“The FY20 budget continues support for many programs we have implemented over the past few years,” Ambrosino stated in a letter to the City Council.
The City Manager is proposing full funding for social services programs in the downtown, including the Navigators and Youth Navigator program. The Health and Human Services budget also includes a new social services contract to support the ISD housing program.
The budget does include new positions in three city departments — E-911, DPW, and Elder Services — and an increase from a part-time to a full-time position in the Licensing Department. The E-911 increase, a total of three new full-time positions, follows a personnel review by the department’s new director.
Increases in the DPW include personnel for a new 311 system as well as a group of new hires required for the city to operate its own Water and Sewer Department.
The FY20 budget includes funds in salary reserve to cover the anticipated costs of ongoing union negotiations with City Hall employees. With the exception of the police and fire union contracts, all municipal union contracts expire on June 30 of this year.
•In other business, the Council approved an order proposed by councillors Giovanni Recupero, Enio Lopez, Luis Tejada, and Damali Vidot requiring that all street cleanings should be limited to the same amount of time in every street. Lopez and Recupero both noted that residents who live in areas where they have to move their cars for five hours for street cleaning face greater hardship than those where street cleaning is limited to two hours.
•The council also held a public hearing on zoning amendments that will allow for outdoor dining and improved signage and facades in the city.
Several local business owners and city officials spoke in support of the zoning amendments, noting it would improve the look of the downtown and make for a livelier, safer city.