No layoffs in Sarno’s proposed 2015 budget

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno has introduced a nearly $582 million budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which he says is balanced and does not include any layoffs.

The proposed $581.9 million budget announced Monday keeps staffing at its current levels, and actually allows for additional hires, with plans for 26 new recruits in the city’s police academy, and 20 new firefighters.

Sarno says that they were able to avoid a projected $21.8 million deficit, and balanced the budget, in large part through increases in revenues. Property tax collections increased in the city as values have risen. The city also benefited from a more than $900,000 increase in state aid. Funding from the state constitutes 62% of the city’s total revenue, and the city had struggled with reductions in aid in previous years.

The city saved money by cutting some $8.3 million in expenses, though the mayor says that they were able to do so without making any layoffs. Additionally, the city took $2.8 million from its stabilization (“rainy day”) fund in order to balance the budget, leaving the fund with $30 million. Sarno says that this shows Springfield has made a lot of progress when it comes to managing its finances.

“This is a major accomplishment due to the fact that during the recent downturn, the City dipped into its ‘rainy day’ fund to cover over $23.6 million in programs over the past three years. This year however, marks a milestone where our reserves are actually being maintained from the previous fiscal year,” Sarno said in a letter to city councilors and residents.

The proposed budget now goes to the City Council for review.

For a closer look at the mayor’s new budget, and how a deficit was avoided. Click here.

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