Last Monday night, the City Council approved a nearly $225 million city budget for fiscal year 2022. The budget process went off smoothly this year, and councillors praised the professionalism of Mayor Brian Arrigo, Chief Financial Officer Richard Viscay and the city’s department in presenting a balanced, level-funded budget to the council.
“I’ve looked over this budget consistently since I received it, and I can tell you that back as chairman of ways and means, several years ago, we were in a much different position. I was able to cut out $600,000 from that budget,” said Ward 5 Councillor John Powers. “I look around the city today, and I look at the professionalism of this group sitting in front of me. All of our departments are functioning professionally, as they should.”
Powers said that in the FY22 budget he could find no areas where he would be comfortable making cuts, a sentiment echoed by several other councillors, including Ward 6 Councillor Richard Serino.
The budget breaks down to approximately $193 million for general fund expenditures and about $31 million for the city’s water/sewer and solid waste enterprise funds. The general fund expenditures include $42 million for city expenses and $104 million for the school department. The great majority of the school expenses, over $102 million, are for the Revere public schools, with the remainder going toward the assessment from Northeast Metro Tech High School.
Viscay made one final presentation of the overall FY22 budget to the Ways and Means Subcommittee. Viscay was joined in the City Council Chambers by Arrigo and a number of city department heads and employees. As he has throughout the budget process, Viscay characterized the administration’s proposed budget as one that is responsible based on realistic revenue estimates. “The Fiscal Year 2022 budget is built to restore many of the cuts that occurred in Fiscal Year ’21, and that is key personnel and services that will best serve the city and its stakeholders,” said Viscay.
The council’s Ways and Means Subcommittee, which is chaired by Councillor-at-Large Gerry Visconti, held nearly 11 hours of hearings on the budget over the past several weeks. Several councillors thanked Visconti for heading up a smooth and professional budget process.
“I know it doesn’t look like a lot when people are looking in – it looks like you are just running a meeting,” said City Council President Anthony Zambuto. “I know how many hours [Visconti] spent going over this budget. I know how he prepared for this, and I’m proud of him as the chairman of ways and means.”
Visconti said he is pleased that the budget process was a smooth one this year. “You can’t do anything else in the city until the budget gets passed,” he said.