Mayor Spicer To Present $287.7 Million Budget to Framingham City Council For Approval

FRAMINGHAM – Mayor Yvonne Spicer will submit a $287.7 million budget to the Framingham City Council. The budget is a $6.6 million increase from the current fiscal year budget approved by Town Meeting in May 2017. The proposed Fiscal Year 2019 budget, which begins on July 1, is a 2.8 percent increase over the current budget.

The proposed budget, which requires an approval by the 11-member Framingham City Council, would increase the tax levy by 2.25 percent. The maximum allowed is 2.5 percent.

The previous increases the last 3 years by Town of Framingham Selectmen were 1.5%, 1.5 percent and 1.75%

“I have been your Mayor for just over 100 days. While we treasure our community’s history, our eyes remain fixed on the future. This budget has been a carefully crafted package of cost-conscious spending that funds our first steps toward operating as a city,” states the Mayor in her budget message.

“We have focused this budget plan on the areas identified in the Mayor’s Transition Plan,” states the presentation.
1. Smooth Transition to City Form of Government
2. Excellence in Education and Schools
3. Invigorating our Economy: Planned Growth, Balanced Development
4. Preservation of Assets, Resources and Quality of Life
5. Investing in Our People

The Mayor said “this first City budget initiates or completes all the provisions required by the Charter. It also includes
the recommendations provided by the Mayor’s Transition Team.”

The line item for the Mayor’s office is $1,173,369. Included in this budget is the full-time senior senior advisor for external affairs and senior policy advisor. The Mayor indicated to the City Council she would be submitting the classification plan for these positions, as well as the classification plan for two additional positions she plans to create – Communication Director and a “Diversity and Inclusion Officer.”

The Communications Director position would pay between $92,000 and $112,000.

“In FY19, we have built a centralized communication office within the Mayor’s Office. A City-wide communications plan is under development. As recommended by the Transition Team, a Communication Director is funded for FY19 to implement the communications plan and direct media inquiries and manage the city’s social media interactions. As part of that plan we have transferred the two communications positions from Technology Services (Public Information Officer/Webmaster and Records Access Officer) to form a cohesive Communications team in the Mayor’s Office. The Communication director and staff will support the initiatives of citizen engagement, diversity and inclusion, working together with the Senior Policy Advisor, the Citizen Participation Officer, and the Diversity and Inclusion Director to connect directly with the People. The Communication Director and staff will provide the portal for the People to have input into the operation of their City,” states the mayor’s budget address to the City Council.

The Diversity and Inclusion Officer is proposed at a salary range of $98,000 to $131,000. The position would “manage the
engagement of our diverse citizens into their government, including employment, and participation and membership on boards and committees.”

The Mayor’s office budget also includes the position for a Citizen Participation Officer, as required in the City charter.

The overall City of Framingham budget provides for a $5.6 million increase to the Framingham Public Schools. Superintendent Bob Tremblay’s budget was unanimously approved by the new 9-member School Committee and submitted to the Mayor, who must include it her budget to the City Council. The line item for the Framingham Public Schools is $133,017,949.

The City of Framingham’s share of the Keefe Technical Regional School budget for fiscal year 2019 is $8,992,897.

“As I promised on Inauguration Day, I am working to build a vibrant City that is inclusive, forward thinking, and transparent. Invigorating our local economy will continue to be a top priority. My administration and I will continue to cultivate relationships with our business community, to build relationships and support business growth, the goal being creating a Framingham that is a great place for
to live, work, and play in. In our City residents will be actively involved in reimagining their neighborhoods: building a consensus around the type and scope of redevelopment and the design and feel of our Village Centers. As your Mayor, I am committed to fostering dialogue in every one of our neighborhoods, working with the neighborhood organizations, and ultimately moving forward all projects for thriving, pedestrian-friendly, village centers,” states the budget message to the City Council. “Consensus building around redevelopment and revitalization is not easy and is a slow process. It is however a vital part of encouraging economic growth and vitality. Our neighborhood organizations have an important role to play in this process by fostering dialogue; creating a vision – a feel and a visual concept – for the neighborhood; and working along with the municipality to bring projects to fruition, including open space and environment protection projects. I am committed to moving this process forward – hearing all voices across the neighborhoods and working to develop acceptable designs and solutions. I will continue to reach out and ensure that the needs of all our villages are taken into consideration.”

The Mayor’s proposed budget calls to “fully fund the operations of the Recycling Center, which maintains existing hours of operation at the very modest $20 fee. The Facilities Management Department includes full staff for both operations and municipal building
capital project management. Staffing for this department in FY19 includes and added position to manage current and future sustainability initiatives and strategic planning for the Long Range Building Plan. We will transition the operation and maintenance of the City’s cemeteries to the Edgell Grove Board of Trustees during FY19.”

The budget calls for restructuring the Framingham Health Department.

“Lead by our new Public Health Director, the Department has been reorganized to focus on four major areas: Community Health, Environmental Health, Clinical and Nursing, and Emergency Preparedness. The Community Health unit will be refocused with a Community Health Manager (existing position, new employee), a Community Health Program Coordinator and a Substance Use Prevention Program Coordinator to fulfill its mission to “protect, promote, and preserve the health and well-being of all residents”. Contracted services for environmental testing and coordination have been redirected toward an Environmental Health Manager and an Environmental Protection Inspector. The Chief Public Health Nurse will be able to leverage an actual part time Public Health nurse position (versus cobbling together per diem hours) to provide services to residents and manage the City’s volunteer Medical Reserve Corps,” states the report to the City Council.

The Mayor’s proposed budget calls for the “addition of a Sustainability Coordinator/Long Range Building Planner position in the Facilities Management budget. The purpose of this position is twofold: (1) to measure and manage sustainability projects throughout the city, and (2) to update the Long Range Building plan in order to reduce our carbon foot print. The Facilities Director and the School Building and Grounds Director will work closely with this person to identify projects for state, federal and private grant and incentive funds. This position will define a plan of regular, scheduled maintenance to increase the efficiency of the buildings we own, and identify opportunities for green energy use. This new position will manage grants, measure energy consumption by City departments and facilities and make recommendations to the Mayor relative to City-wide sustainability policies and initiatives.”

The Mayor will submit her full budget to the City Council tonight.

Line items for the proposed FY19 budget provided to the 11-member Council are as follows:

Unclassified Division
Property/Liability Insurance $1,897,918
Self Insurance $80,000
Retired Police and Fire Medical $100,000
Workers’s Compensation $650,000
Unemployment Insurance $410,000
Sick Leave buyback $40,000
Group Insurance (Health, Dental and Wellness) $30,487,603
Medicaid Part 1 Contract $80,000

Retirement Division
Framingham Retirement Fund Appropriation $15,412,744
Medicare/FICA Appropriation $2,134,099
Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB) Appropriation $500,000

Debt Service
Principal and Interest on Bonds $14,227,562
BAN Interest $365,661
Interest on Abatements $298,000

Fire Department $14,925,245

Police Department $14,393,409
Animal Control Department $185,017
Framingham Emergency Management Department $86,910

Public Works Division
Administration Department $599,050
Engineering Department $1,039,627
Fleet Department $1,201,598
Highway Department $3,888,658

Sanitation Department $3,831,901
Streetlight & Traffic Signals Department $1,020,801

Framingham Public Library $3,319,354

City Clerk/Elections Division
City Clerk Department $323,772
Elections Department $233,859
Office of the Mayor $1,173,369

Facilities Management $2,603,332

City Solicitor $750,000

City Council $299,684

Parks & Recreation Department $2,928,536
Council on Aging $515,315
Loring Arena $599,247
City Cemeteries $35,504

Administration and Finance Division
Accounting Department $618,409
Assessing Department $721,836
Chief Financial Officer Department $370,083
Purchasing Department $199,067

Technology Services Department $2,199,402

Media Service Department $387,710

Treasurer/Collector Department $645,521

Inspectional Services Division
Inspectional Service Department $1,117,922
Weights & Measures Department $90,106

Public Health Department $1,176,295

Community &Economic Development Division
Community and Economic Development Department $460,529
Conservation Commission $245,659
Planning Board $239,871
Zoning Board of Appeals $99,117
Economic Development Industrial Corporation (EDIC) $125,000

Human Resources Division
Human Resources Department $602,871

Veterans Services Department $581,056

Framingham Public Schools $133,017,949

South Middlesex Regional Vocational Technical Assessment $8,992,897

Stabilization Fund $451,913

Capital Stabilization Fund $2,200,000

Salary Reserve Fund $490,000

Reserve Fund $400,000

Snow & Ice Appropriation $1,654,688

Tax Title Account $78,275

State Assessments $7,819,221

Tax Overlay Account $2,100,000

General Fund Total $287,723,173

Framingham Source Editor Susan Petroni

Susan Petroni Framingham Source Editor Email: editor@FraminghamSource.com Phone: 508-315-7176

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