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Finance Committee sets budget hearing schedule

Ward 2 Councilor Mayor Ralph J. Figy also serves as chair of the Finance subcommittee. (THE WESTFIELD NEWS FILE PHOTO)

WESTFIELD – Ward 2 City Councilor and Finance subcommittee chair Ralph J. Figy announced the schedule for department budget hearings, a public hearing and final vote by the City Council on the fiscal year 2021 budget.

Figy said before the hearings can begin, the School Committee must vote on a revised budget June 10 at 7 p.m., following the June 4 vote by the City Council to approve a transfer of $1.5 million in Free Cash for the schools.

Westfield Public School Superintendent Stefan Czaporowski said after that meeting that the district had initially only made $3 million of the $4 million in cuts that had been requested by Mayor Donald F. Humason Jr. He said $1 million of the Free Cash would make up the difference, leaving about $574,000 additional money for the budget, plus another $150,000 in additional Chapter 74 income for out-of-district students attending Westfield Technical Academy.

“The difference is $724,000 that we’ll be able to add back in, and we will use it to restore positions,” Czaporowski said last week.

The budget hearing schedule officially begins with a presentation by the mayor of his budget to the City Council June 12 at a Special Meeting at 6 p.m., with department reviews beginning on June 15. All meetings will be held on zoom for members and department heads, and broadcast on Channel 15.

“It is my intention to have each subcommittee meeting to be run as a subcommittee meeting of the whole. Any budget reductions will be presented and voted on after each department presents their budget,” Figy said in his announcement of the schedule to councilors.

There will be no public participation at the subcommittee hearings. However, there will be a public hearing on June 22 at 6 p.m., where residents will have an opportunity to call in or to email comments (directions on schedule below).

The following is the proposed Departmental review schedule:
June 12 – 6 p.m. Special City Council Meeting to accept the Mayor’s budget.

June 15 – 5:30 p.m. Airport, 5:45 p.m. Emergency Dispatch, 6 p.m. Technology Center, 6:15 p.m. Personnel, 6:30 p.m. Payroll, 6:45 p.m. Purchasing.

June 16 – 5:30 p.m. Council on Aging, 5:45 p.m. Veterans, 6:00 p.m. Law, 6:15 p.m. Auditor, 6:30 p.m. Treasure/Collector, 6:45 p.m. Planning.

June 17 – 5:30 p.m. Engineering, 5:45 p.m. Flood Control, 6 p.m. City Council, 6:15 p.m., City Clerk
6:30 p.m. Mayor, 6:45 p.m. DPW-Water, Sewer, Stormwater, Recycling, Park and Rec, 7:15 p.m. Health and Transfer Station, 7:45 p.m. Police, 8:15 p.m. Fire/Ambulance.

June 18 -5:30 p.m. Community Development, 5:45 p.m. School Department.

June 18 -7 p.m. City Council Meeting

June 22 – 6 p.m. Public Hearing. To participate in the Public Hearing, call 1 929 205 6099;
Meeting ID: 885 4292 2523; Password: 792210 .Or you may send your comments to [email protected]

June 29 – 6 p.m. Special City Council Meeting to vote on the FY2021 City Budget.

Figy said the committee intentionally scheduled the final meeting for June 29. “We’re hopeful there will be some better news coming out of the state by then,” he said.

He also said currently there are no state numbers at all to work with. “We’ve never made a budget without state numbers. I don’t see a state budget until August at the earliest,” Figy said.

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