FY20 Budget Proposal Implements Strategic Priorities and Ensures Financial Stability
For Immediate Release:
5/8/2019 8:56 am
City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. has submitted his FY20 budget proposal for review and consideration by the Worcester City Council.
“Given Worcester’s unprecedented time of growth and recognition, it is imperative to ensure we have the capacity, systems and structure in place to keep the momentum at full speed, address any challenges, and capitalize on the opportunities presented to us during this unique time in our City’s history,” said the City Manager.
The proposed budget includes a spending plan to deliver essential City services, implement strategic priorities and ensure financial stability. Priority areas include education, public safety and youth programming while also supporting core services and new initiatives.
The FY20 budget recommendation totals $685,744,411, an increase of $32.5M (5%) from FY19, the majority of which is committed to the Worcester Public Schools. Local tax revenues are projected at $311.7M, an increase of $12.5M ($8M Proposition 2½; $5M New Growth and -$500K Overlay) and maintains the Unused Levy Capacity at $18M, the largest in the City’s history. A full breakdown is provided here.
Key initiatives within the budget include:
- Addition of three Safety Captains for the Worcester Fire Department (WFD), additional recruit classes this year for the WFD and Worcester Police Department, and the purchase of new interdepartmental public safety communications software.
- More Building and Code Inspectors to assist with keeping up with life safety and code violations/enforcement in the City’s growing housing stock.
- An increase in Emergency Management Staff.
- Increased summer jobs and career development including an expansion of the Park Stewards Program.
- Expanded summer recreation with the addition of free swim lessons at Crompton Pool.
Office of Urban Innovation:
- The creation of an office of innovation in the City Manager’s Office to make data-driven decisions based on data analytics and process engineering.
- A WOOStat Program and Smart Cities solutions will be designed to boost customer service, produce efficiencies and add transparency.
ESCO and Green Initiatives:
- Implementation of the next phase of ESCO measures to realize cost and energy savings. The recent conversion of city streetlights to LED has led to a budget reduction of $436K from the previous year.
- A consultant has been hired to assist the Green Worcester Working Group in developing a Green Worcester Strategic Plan.
- The addition of a new staff assistant position to the Blue Spaces Initiative to assist the Senior Analyst manage workflow and continue the momentum of the program.
- The addition of two additional positions in the Parks Department at Hope Cemetery, a working foreman, and a laborer. The working foreman will be primarily responsible for the maintenance, management and repair of small power equipment. The laborer will help manage the maintenance of the new sections within the cemetery during all four seasons. In addition, personnel will be allocated to assist with the clean-up of our expanded parks to include Blackstone Heritage Park and the new dog parks.
- The addition of a nuisance inspector within DPW&P that will handle compliance issues with trash and graffiti.
- Per the City Council’s request, the City’s succession planning needs have been reviewed and will be implemented this year. As a strategy to develop our talented employees and create succession opportunities, positions like the DPW&P Deputy Commissioner, Deputy Assistant City Manager, Deputy Director of Emergency Management, Assistant Cultural Development Officer and Human Resources Director have been added to the City organizational chart. Also included is the addition of an Office of Urban Innovation and moving both Cultural Development and Cable Services under the oversight of the City Manager’s Office.