At an event in Fall River Government Center on Wednesday afternoon, the Correia Administration unveiled the city’s proposed fiscal year 2020 budget. The sixth floor announced this year’s municipal budget will feature a 4.7% increase from last year putting the figure at $313.7 million.
Featured in the proposal were numbers outlining a plan to add 6 new police officers and 2 mechanics to the F.R.P.D as well as 5 firefighters to the F.R.F.D. These additions are part of the S.A.F.E.R Grant and will have their compensation packages absorbed into future fiscal years.
Also outlined, was the revenue that was lost when the Pay As You Throw Initiative was called off earlier in the year and where its been replaced.
“We are increasing or replacing that revenue, if you will, with the impact fee and excise tax for marijuana,” Chief Financial Officer Mary Sahady explained. “We’ve received our first couple of checks with regard to marijuana and they’re very positive.”
The numbers with only one establishment open in the city are impressive.
“We’re looking at potentially somewhere between $1.3 million and $1.5 million worth of revenue with the single recreational facility currently open,” Sahady said.
During a charter-mandated session of the city council and school committee earlier in the year a $2.1 million placeholder was discussed. One positive that came from the presentation was that figure will be absorbed into the municipal budget.
“You’ve all heard us talk about our internal policy, keeping debt service $10 million,” Sahady said. “The city side, including the school, debt is currently existing just under that $10 million number. However, this particular year we’re picking up the $2.1 million worth of short-term debt.”
The short-term debt is part of the $60 million borrowed as the city share for the new B.M.C Durfee High School. That share will increase by $5.4 million.
Cathy Ann Viveiros is the city administrator and explained during the proposal city employees help in making suggestions as how to best utilize the various resources.
“They’re doing the job every day and regularly coming to us with suggestions as to how we can cut our costs and better use personnel, as well as introduce technology into the operation of city government to save funds,” she said.
Viveiros went on about how city employees add help the process “They bring services that normally would go out to higher paid vendors in-house, so they can be performed more cost effectively.”
Fall River’s City Administrator went on to comment on the municipal budget proposal as a whole and explained why she think it’s a sustainable one.
“We are maintaining the 5-year capital plan and all of the decisions that are made regarding these budget, whether its eliminating purple bags or searching for new revenues are all done with an eye towards assuring, long-term, these decisions remain in the best interest of the community and the people we serve on a day-to-day basis.”
The budget will also include a 2.5% increase in property taxes as allowed under Massachusetts General Law.