City council must give final approval later this month.
QUINCY — The city finance committee has recommended a budget that cuts almost $200,000 from Mayor Thomas Koch's proposed spending plan, but still provides for a number of new positions throughout city departments and pays for major upgrades in the city's health department to help fight its rat problem.
The committee voted on Monday to approve a $310.6 million budget for fiscal year 2019, which begins on July 1. The budget, a 3.7 percent increase over next year, is about an $11.2 million increase over the current budget. Much of the increase is attributed to contract pay raises for city employees and increases in fixed expenses.
Convening as the finance committee, councilors cut $183,279 between May 30 and June 4. The committee recommended small cuts to budgets for the fire department and the traffic, parking, alarm and lighting department, called TPAL by councilors, and the biggest cut, for $162,358, came out of the water enterprise fund.
On Monday, councilors approved the $3 million TPAL budget after more than an hour of scrutiny during two meetings. They cut about $13,000 from the budget that was to be used for rental space, though allowed for a $50,000 investment into city bike lanes as well as hiring two new traffic control officers at a salary of $42,000 each.
Councilors told department director Chris Cassani they expect to see fewer parking abuses and increased revenue from tickets issued by the additional parking enforcement officers.
"As of July 1 when this appropriation is in, I really want to make sure we are keeping track of tickets and the revenue they're making to pay for these positions," Councilor Noel DiBona said. "And I would like to see more than the $84,000 to pay for these positions."
The finance committee also approved funds to hire a new full-time director of emergency management to take responsibility for duties now handled by the fire chief. Other proposed hires include a full-time plans examiner, a plumbing inspector and a wiring inspector, both part-time positions.
About $1.2 million would support expanded city programs, including a $291,000 bump for the health department - a 35 percent increase - to support a program aimed at cutting down on the number of rats in Quincy, an ongoing problem for several years.
The city council still needs to give the budget final approval, which it is expected to vote on at its June 18 meeting, to be held at 7:30 p.m. at Old City Hall, 1305 Hancock St.
Reach Erin Tiernan at email@example.com or 617-786-7320. Follow her on Twitter @ErinTiernan.