GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Cape Ann Chat

May 8, 2014

Glosta by the numbas

Do you hear that?  

Shh!  

There it is again!

It's the sound of numbers being crunched, paper being restocked, palms smacking foreheads, fresh cups of coffee and the echoes of ibuprofen lids (or maybe something a bit stronger) being popped off — it's budget time.

The city is set to spend some $97 million this year — no small feat.  And in an uncharacteristic move, Mayor Carolyn Kirk has thrown in about $1.4 million in free cash  to fund part of some new moves in the Fire Department — I plan to get into more detail about that later in the week.

No matter what your thoughts on the budget or how the money is spent— you've gotta respect the effort here.  Just like the tide, budget season flows in on a regular schedule, and this culminates weeks and months of hard work from city officials.  So join us here at the GDT as we prepare to dig in to the numbers game.

In fact, before we get too bogged down here, let's make it interesting.  A hardy handshake or maybe a shout-out on Facebook for the first person who comments with the correct answer to the following:

*Note, current city officials or their immediate family — you're excluded — no cheating.

What's the budgeted increase for the telephone service for the management information systems?

Kirk also said at the brief (and nearly vacant) City Council meeting that she's giving three of her department heads more responsibilities with the council itself in the absence of Jim Duggan, the former chief administrative officer.

Also, here's a list of upcoming, more in depth budget discussions.  If you pay taxes in the city, it's worth going to at least one meeting.

Rev. #6

FY15 BUDGET REVIEW SCHEDULE

Updated: 05/06/14

Date

Time

Clerk

Location

Agenda items

Monday 5/5

6:00 pm

DJ

CC Conf Room

Regular O&A

Tuesday, 5/6

7:00 p.m.

DJ

Kyrouz

Mayor Presents Budget to Council

Refer FY15 Budget to Budget & Finance Comm.

Wednesday 5/7

5:30 pm

MP

CC Conf Room

Regular P&D

Wednesday 5/7 (#1)

5:00 p.m.

DJ

3rd Fl. Conf Rm.

Enterprise Funds: Water, Sewer, Water & Sewer Rates, Talbot Rink

Thursday 5/8

6 pm

DJ

CC Conf. Room

Regular B&F

Monday 5/12 (#2)

5:00 pm

DJ

CC Conf Room

Community Development (including grants), Veterans Services, Tourism

Tuesday 5/13

7 pm

DJ

Kyrouz

Regular Council Meeting

Thursday 5/15 (#3)

5:00 pm

DJ

CC Conf Room

Mayor, Treasurer/Collector, Personnel, IT, Legal, Purchasing

Monday 5/19

6 pm

DJ

CC Conf Room

Regular O&A

Wednesday 5/21

5:30 pm

JS

CC Conf Room

Regular P&D

Wednesday 5/21 (#4)

5:00 pm

DJ

3rd Fl. Conf Rm.

City Clerk, Registrar, Board of Health, Shellfish, Library, Council on Aging, Licensing Board

Thursday 5/22

6:30 pm

DJ

CC Conf Room

Regular B&F

Friday 5/23 (#5)

2:00 pm

DJ

CC Conf Room

Fire Department including Civil Defense

Tuesday 5/27

7 pm

DJ

Kyrouz

Regular Council Meeting

Wednesday 5/28 (#6)

5:00 pm

DJ

CC Conf Room

Overview of Revenues, special reserves, educational and Cherry Sheet assessments, Regional Voke, Pension, OPEB

Thursday 5/29 (#7)

5:00 pm

DJ

CC Conf Room

DPW-all departments & Inspectional Services, including ZBA

Friday, 5/30 (#8)

2:00 pm

DJ

CC Conf Room

Police: All Departments including Animal Control

Monday 6/2

6 pm

MP

CC Conf Room

Regular O&A

Monday 6/2 (#9)

5:00 pm

DJ

Kyrouz

Schools

Tuesday 6/3 (#10)

5:00 pm

DJ

CC Conf Room

Waterways, Harbormaster & CPA fund

Wednesday 6/4 (#11)

5:00 pm

DJ

3rd fl. Conf Rm.

Revolving Funds, Assessors, Revaluation, Auditor

Wednesday 6/4

5:30 pm

MP

CC Conf Room

Regular P&D

Thursday 6/5

5 pm

DJ

CC Conf Room

Regular B&F

Tuesday 6/10

7 pm

DJ

Kyrouz

City Council: Public hearing on FY15 Budget

Wednesday 6/11 (12)

4:00 pm

DJ

CC Conf Room

Revisits and Motions

Thursday 6/12 (#13)

4:00 pm

DJ

CC Conf Room

Revisits and Motions (if needed)

Monday 6/16

6 pm

DJ

CC Conf Room

Regular O&A

Tuesday 6/17

7 pm

DJ

Kyrouz

Special Council Mtg: PASSAGE of FY15 BUDGET

Wednesday 6/18

5:30 pm

DJ

CC Conf Room

Regular P&D

Thursday 6/19

5 pm

DJ

CC Conf Room

Regular B&F

Friday 6/20

 

 

 

LAST DAY TO PASS BUDGET

 

Anyway, a piping hot batch of kudos to city Public Health Director Noreen Burke, her team, and Gloucester's Board of Health for issuing a report on the state of the city's health in 2013.

They put out a solid first step in data tracking.  Now, there's nothing to compare it to, really; the last health report was in 2005.  But let's not play the blame game folks.  The fact is, health data can be very telling — more permits, as health staffer Max Schenk noted — mean more people are taking risks, a sign of economic recovery.  

There are also just some tidbits that are not that useful, but interesting none the less. Did you know there are 14 commercial swimming pools in the city?  

I'm already eager to see 2014's overview — what sort of complaints the city receives, when beaches were closed, and how well new programs and coordination efforts are working.

Check out the story to see the full health report. If the city follows in its own footsteps, the next one might be out until 2023.

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