Mayor Submits Budget Proposal to City Council
Mayor Roxann Wedegartner has submitted her fiscal year 2024 budget proposal to the City Council. The $61.6 million package represents a spending increase of nearly 6.5 percent over the current year’s operating budget of $57.9 million. The proposal includes significant reductions across many departments to mitigate continued cost increases for goods and services, while also supporting contractually obligated salary and wage increases for the City’s valued employees.
“Because we were obligated by law to present a balanced budget, this budget already contains significant reductions from the funding requests submitted by City departments last fall. The proposed increase over the current budget is driven largely by contractual wage and salary obligations, the need to retain high quality department heads and supervisory staff, and increased costs for certain contracted services,” said Mayor Wedegartner. “We focused on a shared common purpose of providing a balanced City budget that realistically maintains services and programs while confronting pressures that are beyond our control, ranging from stubborn inflation to reduced enrollment in Greenfield Public Schools, which caused a reduction in overall state aid to schools. State aid to the City was also reduced, or stayed static in some cases.”
Enrollment in GPS declined by 158 students this year. The result is less education aid from the Commonwealth and more of a burden on the local tax base. While Chapter 70 funding was approximately $500,000, the assessments for Charter and Choice sending were nearly $300,000, leaving slightly less than $200,000 in additional revenue to be dedicated to GPS.
Education appropriations account for 37 percent of the proposed budget; general government appropriations account for nearly 31 percent; and City and School Department employee benefits, debt service, and property and liability insurance account for 32 percent.
“This is another tough budget year. The decline in school enrollment and rising costs for goods and services along with rising costs in health insurance for our employees and retirees are contributing factors in this budget. Nevertheless, I submit this spending plan with some sense of optimism,” added Mayor Wedegartner. “Although off to a slow start, local receipts continue to rebound from the lows of the pandemic, we have been able to secure millions in state grants to plan for the future, and by this time next year we will have opened a new library, fire station and skate park—all while continuing to prepare for the upcoming downtown revitalization project.”
The Mayor’s complete budget proposal is available online at www.greenfield-ma.gov/budget.