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Updates and Information

Dear Ward 6 Residents:


The municipal 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 being spent.





Background on the City's financesfinances


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 2018rates


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


Capital Improvement Program for Fiscal Years 2018-2022improvement


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 Mayorhearings


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. 


Applying for membership on City commissions, committees and boardsapplying


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. Cartledge
Telephone: 413-587-1176
Email: jcartledge@northamptonma.gov

Northampton Police Remind Public About Dog Ordinances

NORTHAMPTON, 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 Recreation locations.

§ 128-13 Responsibility for and removal of canine waste.

It 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.

No 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.

§ 128-9 Running at large; restraint of dogs.

No 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.

The 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.


Mayor’s Informational Meeting on Water and Sewer Rates


The 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:


From: mayor@northamptonma.gov

Sent: 4/13/2016 2:46:15 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time

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.