City Manager Thomas Ambrosino is proposing a municipal budget just north of $212 million for Fiscal Year 2023.
On the city side, the budget calls for 13 new positions, including four new police officers and a full-time election commissioner. The City Council will begin its discussion of the budget at its next subcommittee on conference meeting.
“The Budget funds City expenditures at $94,108,013 and School Department expenditures at $118,236,617, for a total budget of $212,344,630,” Ambrosino stated in a letter to the City Council. “The School Department Budget has increased by 8.97%, most of it paid from new Chapter 70 funding generated by the Student Opportunity Act. The City expenditures have increased by 5.62%.”
Most of the increases on the municipal side of the budget are reflected in the salary accounts, according to the city manager.
“This is due mainly to raises required in collective bargaining agreements and to the addition of new positions in the operating budget,” stated Ambrosino. “These new positions, a total of thirteen, are intended to improve the delivery of services to residents and allow the City to increase internal capacity for handling new projects and programming likely to be implemented with ARPA funding.”
The full list of the new positions includes a new floater position in the assessor’s office, a technical project lead in the IT department, the full-time elections commissioner, four new full-time police officers, a new housing inspector in the inspectional services department, a junior business manager for the DPW, two water and sewer junior operators for the DPW, a Health and Human Services Director, and a part-time assistant in veteran’s services.
The elections commissioner will be solely responsible for election-related issues such as overseeing voter registration, coordination and training of election volunteers, compliance with state voting regulations, and other requirements.
“The person will also be available as general backup to other duties in the (city clerk’s) office,” stated Ambrosino. “Having an additional full-time person in this office should improve performance for an office that is currently understaffed.”
The four new police officers will restore the uniformed force to its full contingent of 111 officers, according to Ambrosino.
The addition of a Health and Human Services Director will restore a position the city has not had since December of 2020.
“The City is able to absorb the increase in new personnel because of our very favorable financial position,” Ambrosino stated. “This year, for the first time in my tenure, the City will not propose any reserves to support the budget. The FY23 Budget is fully balanced with anticipated revenues.”
In his letter to the council, the city manager also noted that this year’s regional school district expenditure has increased by $252,384.
“The line item now includes the first modest payment on the debt for the new Northeast Regional Vocational High School, a total debt service payment of $343,374,” Ambrosino stated. “That debt service figure will rise gradually to approximately $1.9 million annually starting in FY26.”