FRAMINGHAM – City of Framingham Mayor Charlie Sisitsky submitted his budget to the City Council on April 15, almost 2 full weeks before the due date of May 1.
This was the earliest the City Council had seen a budget since Framingham became a City.
“First, I am not cutting the School Committee budget. I am recommending to the City Council to approve the budget the School Committee voted and approved,” said Mayor Charlie Sisitsky.
The Framingham School Committee on March 30 unanimously approved a $154.2 million budget.
“This is the earliest the budget has ever been submitted to the Council since Framingham became a City,” said Mayor Charlie Sisitsky.
The total proposed budget is $325 million, a 6.4% increase.
The budget will need to be approved by the 11-member City Council.
This was a draft budget, said the Mayor.
A final budget will be submitted on May 2.
The City Council’s finance subcommittee chaired by at-large City Councilor George P. King. Jr. will be holding several public hearings on the budget in May. A vote is schedule by the end of June.
“I’m awarding non-union employees a 2% raise,” said Mayor Sisitsky. “they have not had a raise in 4 years.”
Why the increase?
“The cost of gasoline and diesel has increased significantly. Due to future uncertainty, budgets are increased 25% to 30%,” said the City’s Chief Financial Officer Louise L.E. Miller.
“The City’s fixed price supply contract in effect in FY23 has an estimated 5% reduction in total cost from FY2022. The cost of distribution is set by the DPU with a budgeted increase of 6% to 8%. The cost is just under half for supply versus distribution resulting in a budget increase of 3%,” wrote the CFO in a memo to the City Council.
“The City issued a bid and received favorable pricing for supply approximately 35% less than current pricing. Gas supply accounts for approximately 40% of the total cost of natural gas, resulting in a budget decrease of 15% for natural gas,” wrote the CFO.
“The salary line for Fire Department increased substantially following arbitration. We recommend funding the current vacancies over the next few months, and funding turnout gear for firefighters through Free Cash,” wrote CFO Miller.
“Four furloughed (police) officers are being restored,” said CFO Miller.
“The Sanitation Department has seen a number of contractual increases well beyond inflation. We will review the contracts to determine options. The new DPW Director will also work with the COO to determine the best manner in which to deliver required services,” wrote Miller.
“Health Insurance: We will have a better understanding of FY2023 costs once the open enrollment period has closed. At this time, we have assumed a 7% increase in health insurance costs,” said CFO Miller.