Cambridge Civic Journal Forum

April 26, 2010

April 26, 2010 City Council Agenda Highlights – The FY2011 Budget Arrives

Filed under: City Council — Tags: , , — Robert Winters @ 12:21 pm

April 26, 2010 City Council Agenda Highlights

Tonight’s the night when the voluminous annual Budget Book arrives on the desks of each city councillor. This marks the official start of “Budget Season” at City Hall where councillors often use the opportunity of the Budget Hearings to grill City department heads on operational details of their departments whether or not they are related to their budgets. The bottom line (literally) is that this year’s total recommended FY2011 operating budget is $443,288,905 plus $16,416,120 for the Water Fund plus the capital budget of $9,935,015. The previous FY2010 recommended operating budget was $426,226,960 plus $17,985,890 for the Water Fund plus the capital budget of $29,360,780.

The comparison by general categories from last year to this year is as follows:

Category FY2010 Budget FY2011 Budget 1 yr % Change 5 yr % change
General Government $45,627,180 $47,778,775 4.7 23.4
Public Safety $97,169,260 $101,163,395 4.1 24.1
Community Maintenance & Development $79,033,800 $82,475,075 4.4 40.3
Human Resource/Development $28,232,600 $30,102,300 4.6 30.2
Education $133,563,880 $137,492,275 2.9 10.8
Intergovernmental $42,600,240 $44,277,085 3.9 15.9
Grand Total $426,226,960 $443,288,905 4.0 22.1
Water Fund $17,985,890 $16,416,120 -8.7 -4.0
Capital Budget $29,360,780 $9,935,015 -66.2 10.2

There are some notable differences in specific departments and assessments as well.

Department FY2010 Budget FY2011 Budget 1 yr % Change 5 yr % change
Executive $1,841,390 $1,980,195 7.5 34.7
City Council $1,461,370 $1,518,725 3.9 49.2
Election $799,490 $897,050 12.2 22.4
License $830,755 $902,730 8.7 22.0
Emergency Management $156,230 $0 -100.0 -100.0
Peace Commission $111,745 $116,580 4.3 46.7
Library $7,450,945 $8,135,070 9.2 43.7
Human Rights Commission $210,355 $190,005 -9.7 14.3
MWRA Assessment $21,333,055 $21,617,305 1.3 35.2
Cherry Sheet Assessments $15,267,185 $16,659,780 9.1 4.4

Note, in particular, that the single biggest jump in department budget over a five year span was for the City Council itself. You can download the 5-year summary spreadsheet here: http://rwinters.com/docs/bottomlineFY2011.xls.

Elsewhere on the Agenda, there are these items worthy of comment:

Resolution #28. Congratulations to a special person.   Councillor Toomey, Councillor Decker, Vice Mayor Davis, Mayor Maher, Councillor Seidel

Resolution #50. Resolution honoring a great supporter of the Portuguese community.   Councillor Toomey

The whole idea of a public meeting seems to suggest that the identity of this “special person” and this “great supporter” should be made known. The City Council is a publicly elected body, not a private social club.

Order #11. That the City Manager is requested to confer with appropriate departments to determine whether the city can submit a proposal for use on the Sullivan Courthouse and to report back to the City Council.   Councillor Toomey

It’s a long stretch to imagine the City making use of a building of this size, especially in light of the considerable abatement costs that would likely be associated with any renovation and reuse of the building. It also seems doubtful that Councillor Toomey would be advocating packing another major “affordable housing” development into East Cambridge in light of his recent Order.

Order #14. That the City Manager is requested to restore funding for School Department clerical positions until a proper and negotiated process can be achieved with the Cambridge School Department and Unions representing the employees, and to report back to the City Council on the progress.   Councillor Toomey

There was a day when the School Committee concerned itself with matters such as this. Is it really proper for the Cambridge City Council to direct the City Manager to restore funding for positions under the jurisdiction of the Superintendent of Schools who is hired by the duly-elected Cambridge School Committee? Question this matter during the School Department Budget hearing if you must, but doesn’t this just stink of micromanagement – and not even by the proper elected body? — Robert Winters

6 Comments

  1. Re order #11 – it might indeed by a stretch to imagine the city buying/using the building, but it makes sense to me for a councillor to ask the city to at least take a look before the property goes out to bid publicly.

    Comment by Dee W — April 27, 2010 @ 7:22 am

  2. Thanks for the concise information. One note, the License FY 2011 number in the summary grid presented should be $902,730.

    Comment by Lorelei — April 27, 2010 @ 7:43 am

  3. Thanks for the info but you didn’t mean $261,519,545 in the Fiscal Year 2011 column for Human Resources Development. Doesn’t add up. Should it be $29,531,300 + or -.

    Comment by bob richards — April 27, 2010 @ 2:44 pm

  4. Why is the city’s emergency management budget cut to zero for 2011?

    Comment by Matt — April 28, 2010 @ 7:07 am

  5. According to the FY2011 Budget Book, the funding for Emergency Management is now contained in the Fire Department Budget.

    Comment by Robert Winters — April 28, 2010 @ 8:29 am

  6. Re order #11 – it might indeed by a stretch to imagine the city buying/using the building, but it makes sense to me for a councillor to ask the city to at least take a look before the property goes out to bid publicly.

    Comment by Emily — June 3, 2010 @ 2:21 pm

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