© 2024
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Pittsfield Pays $1.3M Snow And Ice Deficit

Taken and uploaded by ToddC4176

Winter is a distant memory now that the summer tourist season is in full swing, but Pittsfield still has a $1.3 million snow and ice removal deficit to take care of. 

At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Pittsfield lawmakers reluctantly approved appropriations to cover a $1.3 million snow and ice removal deficit.  

Funds came from more than two dozen line items, free cash and other surpluses. Councilor Melissa Mazzeo was shocked, and asked Director of Finance Matt Kerwood about it.

“You found $773,811 in the FY 17 budgset that we didn’t use?” Mazzeo says.

“Yeah,” Kerwood says. (“Huh,” Mazzeo says.) “Now please note that that will be $773,000 that’s not turned back.”

Turned back in the next fiscal year.

The Department of Public Service spent roughly $1 million on salt and sand, and $800,000 for repairs – coming in $700,000 over budget.

Snow and ice removal is the only budget item that can be deficit spent from year to year, and costs vary depending on how harsh the winter is. Last year, the city spent $995,000 total on snow and ice removal. Next year, the city has budgeted $150,000 more for sand. Councilor Chris Connell.

“So in the last 3 years we have exceeded well over $1 million in that line, okay?” Connell says. “I am having a tough time understanding why we wouldn’t budget more than the $700,000, all right, in the snow and ice, and actually have these categories or these line items accurately reported, all right, we were going through that budget for five meetings and trying to pick out every single line item and bouncing up to what is being expended then to find out that we are turning back something.”  

Other than the roughly $770,000 that was reallocated, Kerwood says $300,000 will be used from the city’s overlay surplus.

“And this isn’t all of it,” Kerwood says. “There are additional funds. This is just what I used to identify to get to, to fund a portion of the deficit.”

Almost $300,000 more will be used from free cash – something Councilor Kevin Morandi isn’t happy about.

“We are going to be just a hair over $1 million in free cash,” Morandi says. “And I think that sets a really dangerous precedent.”

“Bottom line is, Councilor, that there is not enough of it to get to the $1.3 million,” Kerwood says.

Morandi argued against the use of free cash during recent budget hearings, too.

Kerwood said it was now or never to use overlay surplus – funds that are spent on tax abatements and exemptions – and free cash. The current spending plan is up June 30th.

Councilor Connell says it’s frustrating to have to deal with this deficit the week bills are due.

“We keep moving things around and it makes it that much harder for not only my fellow councilors and myself, all right, but the public to understand where actually this is going and why we don’t actually report this the way it is,” Connell says.

The city will need council approval in July to allocate an additional $80,000 to satisfy shortcomings in the Veterans Services budget.

Related Content