Mayor Brian Arrigo introduced his FY 2017 Budget proposal to the City Council on Monday, the Mayor’s first budget since taking office this January. The budget lays out a number of administrative changes and new initiatives designed to professionalize city government, improve efficiency, and strengthen city services. The proposed budget also slows the growth of city spending and does not tap in to the rainy day fund.
“This budget is not a finished product representing all the progress we’d like to see in Revere over the course of my administration, but it serves as a blueprint for the direction we want to move in,” said Mayor Arrigo in his letter to the City Council.
- The establishment of a Human Resources department and hiring of a Human Resources director will aid in the professionalization of city government. An independent, professional HR director will ensure the City is hiring the best, most qualified employees. Revere is one of the only cities or organizations of its size without an HR department.
- The creation of the Office of Innovation and Data Management will include implementation of a 311 Customer Service system for Revere residents, which will allow us to provide residents with thorough and efficient constituent services. The Office will also be tasked with bolstering innovation and technology in Revere, and working with departments on collecting and analyzing data to improve city services.
- The water and sewer department will be broken off from DPW, with its own Superintendent and Financial Manager. As Revere moves toward compliance with its consent decree with state and federal regulators, professional oversight of water and sewer will allow the City to do this work more efficiently.
- The Office of Strategic Planning and Economic Development will be established, replacing the current planning and community development & economic development offices. Streamlining this work under one department will help ensure Revere is effectively working towards its goal of attracting the kind of high-quality commercial development and job creation residents are looking for.
- The Parking Enforcement office will be broken out from the City Clerk’s office, and a new parking clerk hired, allowing for parking-related initiatives such as an overhaul of the residential parking permit program. The administration recognizes that parking is a quality of life issue for residents and requires dedicated, professional attention.
- The Public Health department will be reorganized, broken out from the Inspectional Services Department and established as its own entity in coordination with the Regional Public Health Coordinator for Revere, Winthrop and Chelsea. This reorganization will empower the work the city is doing to tackle substance use (including the Opioid epidemic) and promote healthy community initiatives such as active living and healthy eating.
The total budget of $173,003,411 prior to state assessments represents a small 2.13% increase over FY2016 – the smallest increase in several years. Importantly, the budget also does not tap in to the city’s rainy day fund. Non-education discretionary costs increased by just 0.5% ($410,785), with the rest of the increase attributable to fixed costs outside of city control, such as retiree pensions.
For context, recent years’ budgets have customarily increased between 4% and 5%. Last year’s budget increased by 4.8%, with discretionary, non-education increases totaling about 4% and over $3 million. In that light, this budget proposal represents a significant refocusing on savings and efficiency. The administration is continuing to work hard to find efficiencies and prioritize use of funds to make sure spending can be kept in check while still improving city services for residents.
“With an independent, citywide audit underway, and as my administration continues to find ways to prioritize spending and find efficiencies, I’m confident that we’ll be able to keep making city government more efficient,” said Mayor Arrigo. “As we do that, and as we increase our commercial tax base, we’ll be able to accomplish more of my goals for the City, including further bolstering DPW and other city services, as well as providing tax relief to residents in owner-occupied homes.”
“This budget represents a starting point as we look to build an economy, strengthen our neighborhoods, and improve city services.”
The entire budget is posted online; click here to download it.