Thank you to T.J. Plante, the Finance Department, Finance Control Board Director Steve Lisauskas and Deputy Director Patricia Vinchesi, Finance Control Board Chairman Chris Gabrielli, City Council President Bill Foley, City Council Finance Subcommittee Chair Kateri Walsh, my Chief of Staff Denise Jordan, and Cabinet and Department heads for their ongoing efforts.
In light of Governor Deval Patrick’s mid-year state budget cuts of $4.6 Million for Fiscal Year 2009, the City of Springfield is faced with a minimum $13 Million general city cut for Fiscal Year 2010 and a $6 - $8 Million shortfall in Chapter 70 school funds due to level funding aspects. Being fiscally prudent in tackLing this multi-year funding challenge, I will not use reserves to cover these cuts of reoccurring expenses.
The City must continue to be cognizant that reserves are going to be needed in Fiscal Year 2010 and Fiscal Year 2011. I am trying to avoid the 2003 event of massive layoffs of 358 individuals including 78 police officers and 53 firefighters. For Fiscal Year 2009 public safety will remain my number 1 priority. No sworn police officers or firefighters will be laid off.
Through many long days and nights, the finance team and I have met with cabinet heads to craft this difficult, but responsible plan.
All vacant funded positions (67 positions) have been eliminated for a cost savings of $1.8 Million. The remaining $2.8 Million will be done through department heads expertise of efficiencies in personnel adjustments. This can reduce our Fiscal Year 2010 budget by $8 Million. We now must continue to determine what are essential services and what must be looked at in a more creative – cost effective way.
This fiscal discipline will send a strong message to continue receiving favorable bond rating aspects. Our goal will continue to remain job retention for Fiscal Year 2009 and Fiscal Year 2010 and beyond.
As with our country, there is much uncertainty here and in our Commonwealth. Built in assumptions in the Governor’s budget of local option taxes such as hotel/motel meal taxes, telecommunication taxes, etc., have not been passed by the state legislature and have pros and cons. we still await the trickle down of President Barack Obama’s Federal Stimulus Package too.
I have not trIed to play politics, but only tried to be very methodical and sensitive in making these decisions to move our City forward.
The finance team and I will brief the City Council at the request of City Council President Bill Foley and City Council Finance Subcommittee Chair Kateri Walsh on Monday, February 2, 2009, at 5:30 p.m., and the Finance Control Board on Tuesday, February 3, 2009, at 10:30 a.m. As we move forward, I will continue to work with the City Council, School Committee, and Finance Control Board in crafting our Fiscal Year 2010 budget.
To the dedicated city employees who will be affected, I thank you for your service and the City will offer a support option package.
We have not raised the white flag of surrender. Through sacrifice we will get through this cycle. Together, I know this is tough to stomach now, however, if everything remained status quo the projected shortfall for Fiscal Year 2010 is $39 Million. These moves will make for a stronger future.
God Bless you and your families and God Bless the City of Springfield.