Recorder: "City Council OKs $48M budget"

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GREENFIELD — Schools got what they needed Wednesday, as City Council voted to move $400,000 to Greenfield public schools.

The council moved $352,811 from other departments and added $47,189 to Mayor William Martin’s proposed budget, adding the money to Greenfield public schools. The money given to the department included $101,000 erroneously put into the budget by Martin for school resource officers.

The city’s budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 totals $48,857,493, which is a $1,772,523 increase from the current budget of $47,084,970.

Of the $400,000 for Greenfield public schools, $100,000 is expected to go toward an additional fifth-grade teacher and administrator at Greenfield Middle School, and $50,000 for key swipe technology at school entrances. The remaining $100,000 would keep schools level-funded, School Committee members previously noted.

“I don’t think there is any more to it,” Councilor Tim Dolan said of the $47,189 addition. “We are talking less than $3 for every resident, which means the difference between having an extra fifth-grade teacher and not having a fifth-grade teacher.”

The $352,811 came from several department budget cuts, which were then repurposed for Greenfield schools.

The most notable amount of money came after the council cut funding for two school resource officers, which reduced the police department’s budget by $118,128. That cut along with an additional $28,026 from the police expenditures line item resulted in the largest overall transfer to the school department, totaling $146,154.

Council voted to reduce the health department’s salaries by $52,920, which Councilors Brickett Allis and Isaac Mass previously suggested could be done through consolidation of health inspection services under one director of inspections. This could be paid for by a still-unfilled chief health director position, which has been vacant since then-director Alexeev Jones was fired following an arrest in January.

Other cuts from departments that were given to the schools included salary reductions for two positions that employees are expected to retire from in July: $6,000 from the assessor position and $5,000 from the city clerk position.