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Springfield City Council Approves $756 Million Budget

pringfield Mayor Domenic Sarno makes a point about his proposed FY 2022 budget at a remote meeting with the City Council.
Paul Tuthill

    A new budget is in place in Springfield, Massachusetts for the fiscal year that starts July 1st.

   After a prolonged debate over funding for police training and gun violence prevention, the Springfield City Council Monday night voted unanimously to adopt an almost $756 million budget as proposed by Mayor Domenic Sarno.

   "I thank Council President Marcus Williams and Finance Chair City Councilor Trayce Whitfield and the City Council for doing  their due diligence on this budget," Sarno said. "I know it is a strong budget. We have a lot to celebrate."

   The budget uses $12 million from the American Rescue Plan Act to plug revenue holes and avoid layoffs and cuts in city services. Also, for the seventh year in a row, the city will not need to tap its more than $40 million in cash reserves to balance the books.

   Proposed spending increases by almost 4 percent.

  "We have been able to move on my important issues of public safety, public education, economic development, healthy neighborhoods and community services," Sarno said.

   Sarno told Councilors the city is also continuing a multi-year effort to reduce its unfunded pension liability, which remains the highest of any municipality in the state, by upping its contribution to the pension fund by 9 percent this year to $51.5 million.

    Councilors found more to like with Sarno’s budget than to dislike.  Councilor Kateri Walsh said she was very happy with the budget.

   " I am proud to vote for this because we know how difficult it has been and how hard everybody has worked," Walsh said.

    By law, the City Council can only cut the mayor’s recommended budget and cannot increase spending.

   City Councilor Trayce Whitfield proposed cutting $200,000 from the police overtime account and asked that the money be redirected to programs to prevent gun violence.

  "If we put more money to outreach and preventative service maybe there would be a dent you could see," Whitfield said.

   She withdrew the motion before it was voted on.

   By an 11-2 vote Councilors rejected a motion to cut $840,000 earmarked for the annual lease payment on a police firing range.  Several Councilors criticized the rental agreement when it first appeared in the last budget.

   Councilor Orlando Ramos, who chairs the Public Safety Committee, argued for an increase in funding for police training.

  "I am not trying to create any tension, or insult our police officers in any way," Ramos said.   "I support you. but we feel you are incorrectly policing our community. We don't feel the way you have policed Black and brown communities over the last few years works."

     Chief Administration and Finance Officer T.J. Plante said the city is applying for a grant to underwrite the cost of more police training.

    " I have no problem coming up with additional funding for our police officers especially if we can link it to outcomes that we are looking for," Plante said.

   Plante said Springfield police officers currently receive 40-hours per year of in-service training, which he described as “a fair amount.”


The record-setting tenure of Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. The 2011 tornado and its recovery that remade the largest city in Western Massachusetts. The fallout from the deadly COVID outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers Home. Those are just a few of the thousands and thousands of stories WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill has covered for WAMC in his nearly 17 years with the station.
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