Budget season underway in the city

WESTFIELD—Budget season has started in the city, and according to Mayor Brian Sullivan, the first round of budgets were expected this week.

According to Sullivan, the various heads of departments in the city were requested to submit their initial budgets by Friday, Feb. 9. These budgets, according to Sullivan, would have level funding, with a 2.5 percent expected increase factored in, as well.

Westfield Mayor Brian Sullivan (WNG file photo)

The collection of the initial budgets is one step in several that will be happening in the city in the coming months, as they prepare to get the city’s budget ready by the spring.

Sullivan said that once all of the departmental budgets are submitted, he will then meet with his financial team and start to evaluate the numbers. He will also meet with other members throughout the city to work out the specifics.

“I will sit down with the auditor and go through last year’s budgets and this year’s budgets and have every department head come in to decipher what is going on—analyze and manage what we have moving forward,” Sullivan said.

These budgets, according to Sullivan, will be “level” he said, based on last year’s OKed budgets. However, he said that there must be a factoring in of a 2.5 percent tentative increase, which he said is essentially “due to contractual obligations.”

There could be difficulties from departments, Sullivan noted, as other costs may rise, or additional costs may have come since the last budget season. He said this could be caused by materials or other events out of departmental control.

When asked about the potential for the budget to increase this year, as well as what departments may see increases, Sullivan said that at this point it was difficult to determine where or if an increase will occur.

“There’s nothing that’s outstanding on the first blush; ‘wow, this is just going to hinder our budgets this year’,” Sullivan said. “But I won’t really know until it all pieces together.”

Among the areas that could be impacted one way or another however, is education, according to Sullivan. He said that there have been items that have changed on the state level regarding education, which could impact the budget.

Sullivan said that he expects to get through this initial phase in the budget process by the end of February. From there, he anticipates the estimates of state funding by March or April.

Following that, he hopes to have the budget ready for City Council and any potential review and cuts by the beginning of May.

Then, the budget is due to the state by July 1.

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