Springfield City Councilor wants more funding for veterans

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – One Springfield City Councilor said he won’t vote to approve next year’s municipal budget unless more money is allocated to veterans.

City Councilor Tim Rooke said the Veterans’ Department director told a budget meeting Wednesday night that they don’t have enough staff to provide services for returning vets or the ones who are already here.

Rooke said the city Veterans Department has only 4 employees to service 350 cases. He compared that to Boston, which he said had 17 staffers for 700 cases.

Rooke said he wants funding for two or three more staffers, and he told 22News that a majority of the city councilors feel the same way.

“I refuse to vote for the budget until it’s adequately funded,” Rooke said. “And eight of my colleagues agreed with me.  And I think the message was pretty clear that they should come back with a revised budget for the veterans department if they want the budget to pass.”

Rooke said he hopes to meet with Mayor Sarno and the Springfield Finance Director with a goal of boosting budget funding for more staffers in  the city veterans department for the coming fiscal year.

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