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City Council approves FY25 Budget

Posted on June 25, 2024

On Tuesday, June 11, the City Council convened to review and vote on the Mayor’s proposed FY25 budget (click to review budget)Watch the full City Council meeting here.

In this phase of the budget process, the City Council can cut but can not add to the budget. The council made $62,290 worth of cuts which includes:

  • $2,500 from In-state Travel to the Massachusetts Municipal Association Annual Meeting Conference. 7 yeas for the cut (Bartley, Greaney, Jourdain, Magrath-Smith, Ocasio, Sullivan, Vacon). 6 nay against the cut (Anderson-Burgos, Devine, Givner, Murphy-Romboletti, I. Rivera, J. Rivera).
  • $27,790 from Mayor’s Budget for Contract Negotiations of a union contract not yet ratified. 7 yeas for the cut (Bartley, Greaney, Jourdain, Magrath-Smith, Ocasio, Sullivan, Vacon). 6 nay against the cut (Anderson-Burgos, Devine, Givner, Murphy-Romboletti, I. Rivera, J. Rivera).
  • $32,000 from the city’s IT budget for Software License usage fee. 8 yeas for the cut (Bartley, Greaney, Jourdain, Ocasio, I. Rivera, Sullivan, Vacon). 5 nay against the cut (Anderson-Burgos, Devine, Givner, Murphy-Romboletti, J. Rivera).

To review the total of proposed cuts that either passed or did not pass, click here. The highlighted in yellow represents cuts that were passed. Non-highlighted represents proposals to cut that were made but did not passed.

In City Council, on June 11, 2024, the final vote of the FY2025 was adopted on a call of the roll of the yeas and nays. The proposed budget with the final cuts was passed with 7 yeas in support of the total budget (Anderson-Burgos, Devine, Givner, Magrath-Smith, Murphy-Romboletti, I. Rivera, J. Rivera). And 5 nays against the total budget (Greaney, Jourdain, Ocasio, Sullivan, Vacon).

I want to thank all departments heads who have participated in the budget process that has resulted in a budget that is balanced with no service reductions. Special shoutout to our City Auditor who has worked with me hand-in-hand through the process. Lastly, thank you to the City Council for their ongoing support.

The FY25 budget is based on what we understand to be our revenue and expense projections and a fairly balanced understanding of Holyoke’s municipal service needs. This budget includes another year of increases in net school aid which has an impact on our local contribution to fund our public schools due to the Student Opportunity Act. Transportation costs went up up significantly as well as our health insurance which has absorbed the little bit of excess capacity we have worked hard to build since the beginning of my term in office. Because of these increases coupled with our contractual obligations and COLA increases for retirees and Schedule A employees of the City Ordinances, we tried to keep department budgets within a 2% increase or close to it.

The approved budget includes average moderate revenue increases in net local revenue growth to assist in closing the ARPA revenue replacement gap that existed from fiscal years 2022-2024 while remaining somewhat conservative. However, these estimates remain conservative to help continue to mitigate any circumstances that contribute toward uncertainty.

In previous year budgets we have used ARPA revenue replacement funds to fill revenue gaps caused by COVID. This budget does not include any dependency on ARPA revenue replacement dollars.

The budget does not propose a Proposition 2½ Override over the levy limit or any reduction in services.

The budget left on the table only a small surplus, however when the new real estate and personal property valuations are certified by the state, this surplus will grow and at that time additional adjustments can be made. Because of the conservative estimations of receipts and the maximum new growth potential not yet realized, our excess capacity may be greater than anticipated, which offers the city a little more flexibility to pivot under unforeseen circumstances.

The budget is a moving target with new revenue projections being realized every day. We will know more about our revenue capacity as we get closer to the fiscal year-end and calendar year-end prior to setting the tax-rate. I anticipate making additional adjustments to the budget as we get closer to calendar year-end so that we can strike a better budgetary and service need balance.

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