Budget plan includes a proposed 5.87% overall increase from 2022
Special to the Advocate
Malden Mayor Gary Christenson on Tuesday night formally submitted a municipal budget proposal of $196,806,055 to the Malden City Council for review. The FY2022-2023 budget proposal would cover city expenditures from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023. The budget proposal was referred to the City Council’s Finance Committee, which is chaired by Ward 5 Councillor Barbara Murphy, who has now scheduled a committee meeting where the budget plan will be reviewed.
In the budget proposal released to the Council, along with a substantial increase if the budget allocation for the Malden Public Schools, Mayor Christenson outlined the following priorities of the plan:
Malden Redevelopment Authority (MRA) integration
- Reflects the second year of the integration of the MRA into the City of Malden through the creation of a new department (the Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development)
- Integration of the off-street parking operations into the existing Parking Department
- Supporting our residents and businesses as we recover from the COVID-19 Pandemic
Continued support for assistance through advocacy and education to maximize the resources available through the American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA)
- Enabling our residents to continue the recovery through access to funding for things like rental and mortgage assistance, food insecurity and child care funding
- Creation of business support programs; parking fee reductions, on-street dining support, and programs needed to help our local businesses get back on their feet
- Advocacy for access to the $4.5 billion in state funding to assist Malden with the pandemic recovery
Expanded City Mission through Health and Human Services
- The American Recovery Plan Act will present funding sorely needed to address the needs of our residents.
- Myriad of state and federal programs will highlight the need for education and coordination.
- Human Services Coordinator position funded to educate residents and connect resources with needs.
Continued focus on lead line replacements
- Maximize the potential of ARPA in advancing the lead line replacement initiative
- Expansion of lead line replacement to the private side
- Prudent utilization of Massachusetts Water Resources Authority programs with forgiveness provisions for the same
Continuing commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)
- The budget fully funds the previously added position of a DEI Coordinator and the continuation of funding added last year for associated support.
- $350,000 committed by the Mayor to improve language access is not reflected in the budget as that is funded by the ARPA funds.
“As we look to the year ahead, we do so with cautious optimism. We know that the action taken by our federal government through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) has provided us with a once in a lifetime opportunity to deliver for our community,” the Mayor said in a statement to the Council. “This budget reflects some of that effort, as we capitalize on ARPA funds to keep moving forward on important deliverables like lead lines and stormwater upgrades to minimize the impact of the same on water rates and general fund budgets.”
He also addressed the education of Malden’s students. “Our expected contribution as a city has gone up almost $11 million in two years, far beyond the reality of what our budget can afford. While there are some safeguards built in, we continue to advocate for a true solution to this inequity,” the Mayor stated. “While we saw some of the positive impact of the student opportunity act in the FY23 Chapter 70 aid, it won’t help us deal with the issue of the expected local contribution increase. We also must plan for the approximately $1.3 million expense that will hit our assessment for the North East Voke building project, while at the same time dealing with pension costs escalating at an unsustainable rate, and inflation that will put further pressure on expectations at the bargaining table for our employees.”
“The most positive development this year which enabled us to present a balanced budget with minimal reliance on free cash was the continued recovery of local receipts. This category, more than any other, reflects the true health of the local economy, and on that front, Malden is alive and well,” Mayor Christenson stated.