Dear Ward 6
budget season has arrived.
One of the most significant things that the Northampton City
Council does every year is bring the City's residents into the process of
discussing the budget document submitted by the Mayor. We are hoping that more residents
will become involved and the visibility of the City Council budget
hearings. Our annual budget is a statement of our priorities and
values as a community, and I encourage as many of you as possible to join
in to the process. It is
important to come to the Budget Hearings and find out where your money is
Background on the
At a joint meeting
of the City Council and School Committee on January 31, Mayor Narkewicz,
along with the City's Finance Director Susan Wright, presented an excellent
overview of the City's finances, as background for the process leading to a
budget for Fiscal Year 2018, beginning July 1, 2017. This comprehensive presentation covers, among other
things, where the City stands in relation to surrounding communities
regarding tax rate and average tax bill, new growth, unemployment rates,
state of stabilization funds and other fund balances, sources of municipal
revenue and revenue trends (including hotel and meal tax receipts), per
pupil education spending, bond rating (which in Northampton in five years
has moved from A+ to AA+ to AAA, the highest attainable), federal funds
coming to the City (slightly over $3 million), the impact of charter school funding on
the City budget, and municipal staffing levels over time.
For anyone wanting to get more information, the Scanlon & Associates
audit of the City's finances, for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2016,
along with management letter and recommendations, can be found here.
Water and Sewer
Rates for Fiscal Year 2018
One of the
building blocks for the municipal budget is the revenue projections for the
City's four enterprise funds: Water, Sewer, Solid Waste and Storm Water.
Over 80% of the indirect funds flowing to the City budget from the
enterprise funds come from the Water and Sewer funds, so setting the fees
for those services is an important matter.
At the March 16 meeting of the City Council the Mayor will present his
proposal for water and sewer rates for FY2018. The Council will refer the
matter to the Public Works and Utilities Committee, which held a public
hearing on the proposed fees Monday, March 27.
As background on the way that water and sewer fees were set this last year
- a methodology which is unlikely to change in the Mayor's proposal - a
great deal of information can be found here.
Program for Fiscal Years 2018-2022
On March 2 the
Mayor presented to the City Council the proposed Capital Improvement
Program for Fiscal Years 2018-2022. The plan was developed with input from
the Capital Improvement Program Committee. The CIP is a five-year plan that
projects the next five years' worth of capital improvements, with cost
estimates and financing methods, along with the estimated annual cost of
financing, operations and maintenance for facilities and major equipment.
This, too, is an important building block leading towards the FY2018 budget. A public hearing on this Capital
Improvement Program was held by the Finance Committee at its meeting March
28 in City Council Chambers. The
first reading will be at the City Council meeting on April 6, 2017 at 7 pm
in City Council Chambers.
The proposed plan can be found here.
Public hearings on
the FY2018 Budget Submitted by the Mayor
The Mayor expects
to submit his budget proposal for FY2018 to the City Council at its May 18
meeting. After that time public hearings will be held, though dates have
not yet been determined. I
will furnish the dates of those hearings when available.
At one of its June meetings the City Council will vote on the proposed
budget for the new fiscal year.
membership on City commissions, committees and boards
The City Council's
City Services Committee, at its meeting April 10 at 4 pm (in City Council
Chambers), will review the process by which participation in City
commissions, committees and board is solicited and the process in the
Mayor's office of reviewing applications and submitting appointments to the
City Council. We expect the Mayor to join us for this discussion. Under this discussion are concerns on
how unwieldy the present system is, such as how residents determine where
vacancies exist and why applicants don’t get responses.
Because of a dramatic increase in the level of interest in local
government, especially among younger residents, it's important that we seek
improvements, where appropriate, in this appointments process.
Contact: Captain John D.
Police Remind Public About Dog Ordinances
Massachusetts (April 26, 2016)- The Northampton Police Department
would like to remind residents and dog owners about the city leash
law and canine waste ordinances. Now that spring is here, many
people are out walking their dogs. The City Parks and Recreation
areas are also in full use for games and other activities. Please
remember that if you are on city property you must have your dog on a
leash and pick up after your pets. The city ordinances can be
enforced by the Animal Control Officer and the Police Department.
The Northampton Police and Animal Control Officer will be stepping up
enforcement on these ordinances, especially in the Parks and
Responsibility for and removal of canine waste.
shall be the duty of each person who owns, possesses or controls a
dog to remove and dispose of any feces left by his/her dog on any
sidewalk, street or other public area. It shall further be the duty
of each person who owns, possesses or controls a dog to remove and
dispose of any feces left by his/her dog on any private property
neither owned nor occupied by said person.
person who owns, possesses or controls such dog shall appear with
such dog on any sidewalk, street or other public area without the
means of removal of any feces left by such dog. Furthermore, no
person who owns, possesses or controls such dog shall appear on any
private property neither owned nor occupied by said person without
the means of removal of any feces left by said dog.
Running at large; restraint of dogs.
person owning or keeping a dog within the City shall allow such dog
to roam at large upon the land of another, except if it is on the
premises of another person with his or her permission, nor shall they
allow such dog to roam at large on any portion of a public highway or
any public property, nor shall an owner or keeper restrain a dog on
his/her own property so as to permit said dog to extend onto public
or private property or to create a danger to the public safety.
owner or keeper of a dog in the City which is not on the premises of
the owner/keeper or upon the premises of another with the permission
of said person shall restrain said dog with a chain or leash of
sufficient material and strength as necessary to restrain the dog and
shall be held by a person capable of controlling the movements of the
dog. The chain or leash shall be of a length which prohibits the dog
from being a nuisance to persons nearby or causing damage to public
or personal property.
Informational Meeting on Water and Sewer Rates
following is a link to the April 13, 2016 meeting on Northampton's
Water and Sewer Rates and the proposed increase. This recording is
courtesy of NCTV:
Sent: 4/13/2016 2:46:15 P.M. Eastern
Subj: MEDIA ADVISORY - Assessor's
Office Gathering Digital Images
Due to numerous calls to
the City's Public Safety Dispatch, this is a re-release of a media
advisory distributed on March 30 informing the public that the
Assessor's Office has hired Tyler Technologies to gather digital
images of all residential, commercial and industrial properties in
Northampton. Most of these images will be taken from the public right
of way. In the case of long driveways or other impediments, it may be
necessary to access the property only for the purpose of
photographing the buildings. Posted driveways will not be attempted
but may be contacted at a later date. We anticipate completion by the
beginning of June 2016.
Tyler employees and their
vehicles are registered with both the Assessor and the Northampton
Police Department. They will display an orange placard in the rear
window of the vehicle and a magnet on the door of the vehicle stating
that they are working on behalf of the City of Northampton Assessor’s
Office. Any questions or concerns can be directed to the Assessor’s
Office at 413-587-1200.