This communication is a snapshot overview of the submitted supplemental of the supplemental budget for FY23 proposed to the City Council for review and approval which results in adjustments in areas to get us closer to our target objectives. The city budget concludes with an additional $124,911 to the overall budget from what was last presented. This will be the final submitted FY23 supplemental budget prior to setting the new tax rate by calendar year-end. The updated figures are based on current revenue and expense projections to-date, and an understanding of Holyoke’s municipal service needs. The budget once again does not propose a Proposition 2½ override or any reduction in services and continues to offer a surplus which we are not appropriating. To review budget workbook, click here.
The original proposed city budget submitted in June 2022, preserved gains through restraints so we can better mitigate potential shortfalls and continue to improve our management of capital needs. A balanced budget was submitted with an excess capacity of $784,892. Not long afterwards, revenues were updated which resulted in a surplus of $1,184,396 not appropriated. In the first supplemental budget previously approved, we appropriated an additional $802,258 to operate in FY23. Included in that surplus figure was ARPA revenue replacement which we will need to keep a close eye on as we go forward with future budget balancing strategies. In my last communication during the first supplemental budget submission, you’ll recall I mentioned that because of the continuation of conservative estimates of receipts and new growth potential not yet realized, our excess capacity may be greater than anticipated. As it turns out, it was true. Today, our new surplus, before proposed adjustments, is at $1,874,555. With adjustments, it’s $1,749,644. Although this is good, it’s important we continue to maintain fiscal constraint to the highest level, especially knowing that in future budgets we will not see ARPA revenue replacements. Between restrains and leveraging new growth opportunities, we may be able to make available more room in our budget and appropriately mitigate future impacts as needed – i.e. union contract obligations, school expenses, retirement, and insurance costs.
This final supplemental budget allows us to achieve our objectives and maintain a decent, although not perfect, tax rate. I say not perfect because I know we can do better. Nevertheless, this first attempt is a decent shot toward moving in the direction.
Below I have outlined changes reflected in this supplemental of the supplemental budget for FY23 so it’s easier for people to follow and know what the proposed changes are:
- Decreased surpluses in various position line items as well as the Veteran’s Benefits line item based on anticipated expense projections. These reductions allowed us to raise revenues to fund the proposals below.
- An increase of $292,000 to the school expenses based on updated final state figures, reflected in the tax recap form.
- An increase of $100,000 to the Overlay Account which brings the account up to $600,000. This is reflected in the tax recap form. The mall submitted for a significant abatement that is currently being negotiated. If we end up not needing the extra dollars, I look forward to work together with the City Council to transfer the funding out of overlay and toward something strategic (i.e. capital stabilization, or balancing shortfalls, etc.). NOTE: this was raised in the tax recap.
- Personnel Dept – an increase of $32,084 to the Personnel Assistant line item to hire a 2nd assistant who will focus solely on Benefits Management.
- Procurement/Purchasing Dept – an increase of $2,500 to pay for procurement training courses.
- Assessors Dept – an increase of $200 for education and training to pay for an Excel Course for the Head Clerk.
- Treasurer Dept – an increase of $80,000 for Land Court Expenses.
- Treasurer Dept – an increase of $30,000 for an anticipated IRS Tax Liabilities, Penalties, and Interest.
- Tax Collector Dept – an increase of $10,000 for Tax Title Certification.
- Tax Collector Dept – an increase of $5,000 for advertising.
- Tax Collector Dept – an increase of $500 for education and training.
- OPED – An increase of $1,000 to in-state travel to cover staff costs to Massachusetts Municipal Association Conference.
- Police Dept – An increase of $35,000 to Data Management Equipment/Services.
- Police Dept – An increase of $35,000 to Education and Training.
- Police Dept – An increase of $18,000 to Office & Professional Supplies.
- Police Dept – An increase of $15,000 to Ammunition.
- Police Dept – An increase of $32,000 to Personnel Equipment which includes $18,800 for outfit for new recruits and $13,200 to match a grant for police bulletproof vests.
- Police Dept – An increase of $3,000 to Auxiliary.
- Emergency Management – an increase of EMD Stipend of $3,000.
- Council on Aging – an increase of $7,500 for Motor Vehicle Fuel.
Also submitted to the City Council includes:
The DPW Supervisors Union Contract MOU that has been negotiated along with transfer requests to honor the negotiated increases. There are still other union contracts to be negotiated that we are planning for our existing budget to sustain as well as any other shortfalls of our obligations during budget adjustments at year-end.
The Holyoke Public Schools finalized 2023 budget forecast tying out with the state voted Conference Committee budget. All state figures and school obligations have been updated in the current tax recap form.
Capital Stabilization Transfer requests to fund some capital related projects identified in the draft Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). Please know it’s a living document which we are going to continue to update the fiscal year. These investments include:
- A vehicle for the Animal Control Officer – $80,000.
- Two 2022/3 Ford Transit 350 HD Low Roof for the Holyoke Public Schools – $143,000.
- 2023 For F-650 Single Axle Dump Truck for the Holyoke Public Schools – $120,000.
- Replace Control System for HVAC at Council on Aging – $75,000.
- 6 New Police Cruisers (2-year lease) for Police Department – first year $241,000.
- Three Ford F-250’s (two with Hydraulic Dump Insert) for DPW – $165,000.
- TOTAL: $824,000
As free cash becomes available, I plan to continue to invest in the Capital Stabilization so we can continue to respond to capital needs on the draft CIP.
As far as process is concerned, this version of the budget will be presented to the City Council at their November 1st meeting. The City Council may forward to the Finance Committee for review and recommendations and will likely be taken up at the following City Council council meeting with Finance Committee recommendations. However the City Council decides to offer support in this supplemental, we will be sure to work within the limits of what is made available.
Citizens of Holyoke, November 15 will be one full year serving as Mayor and to-date it continues to be my greatest pleasure working on your behalf. And I am thrilled to share with you that it has been great working with our City Councilors! Without the work they do and the support they provide to this city, it would be difficult to get anything done. Thank you all in for your support!
Joshua A. Garcia, Mayor