Investments in public safety, public works highlight budget that reflects City’s strong financial standing
REVERE, MA – Acting Mayor Patrick M. Keefe Jr. this month submitted the Fiscal Year 2024 budget to the City Council, highlighting investments in public safety and public works while focused on a continuation of initiatives that benefit the city’s residents and businesses, all in balance with the city’s financial capacity.
Keefe, who as City Council President became Acting Mayor in April, worked closely with Chief Financial Officer Richard Viscay to produce a comprehensive operating budget that maintains vital city services across the entire scope of municipal government.
“The budget we’ve proposed to the City Council is responsible, balanced, and continues initiatives that benefit all Revere residents, employees, and business owners,” said Acting Mayor Keefe. “Most important, the budget reflects our goals to invest in public safety, public works, health and human services, and culture and recreation.”
Investments in Public Safety
Keefe noted that Revere’s rise as one of the Commonwealth’s fastest-growing cities made public safety his priority. He emphasized initiatives that increase the City’s public safety force, including:
- Hiring eleven new firefighters, fully budgeted for FY2023, increasing total staffing to 119;
- Breaking ground and beginning construction of the new Alden A. Mills Point of Pines Fire Station, with a contract signed and construction beginning this summer;
- Hiring five new police officers budgeted for FY2024, increasing total staffing to 115;
- Acquiring new fire and police equipment that prepares our public safety personnel for emergency operations.
Acting Mayor Keefe cited infrastructure and public works objectives as another priority. The proposed FY24 budget addresses this priority by:
- Construction of a state-of-the-art DPW facility on schedule to open late summer/ early fall of 2023;
- Fulfilling obligations of the FY 2023 labor contract, creating a general foreman position as well as two lead supervisors for AFSCME Local 880 (one for DPW general and one for DPW water/sewer);
- Investing in public works projects such as sidewalk and paving projects as the city continues a long-term approach to improvements in vehicular and pedestrian access throughout the city.
Health and Human Services
Acting Mayor Keefe noted that public health concerns have shifted from the Covid-19 worries to broader public health issues. Accordingly, the new budget addresses operational changes within the Public Health structure. This includes, primarily:
- Absorbing the Community Engagement and SUDHI Departments into the Public Health’s budget to create a streamlined organizational structure with program managers and staff reporting directly to the Chief of Health and Human Services.
Culture and Recreation
Citing the importance of cultural and recreational opportunities as a primary component of quality of life in the city, Acting Mayor Keefe touted Revere’s Office of Talent and Culture, the Next Stop Revere Tourism Office, the City’s Parks and Recreation Department. “We will continue to deliver professional events, programming, and activities to all Revere residents and visitors,” Keefe said. In the proposed FY24 budget, the Travel and Tourism Department will merge with Revere Parks and Recreation with operational funding through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Culture and recreation will:
- Increase funding for the Revere Public Library, to ensure proper staffing and operational needs to ensure compliance with the Commonwealth’s Municipal Appropriation Requirement (MAR) that allows the Revere Public Library to be part of the NOBLE network and all its resources; and funding an operating “Bookmobile” to bring library access to all neighborhoods of Revere;
- Expand the Recreation Department’s aquatics program by establishing a departmental revolving fund that will cover all operational costs via user fees;
- Renovate the Haas Health and Wellness Center with an anticipated opening of September 2023 (ARPA funded).