Proposed City, Water and Sewer Budgets Rise to $193.6 Million

Haverhill City Hall. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Editor’s note: With the Haverhill City Council being asked to approve revised budget numbers Tuesday night, WHAV News sought—on behalf of listeners and readers—to understand growing discrepancies in numbers appearing among various city documents. City Finance Director Andrew Vanni this morning provided necessary and helpful clarification.

Counting water and sewer totals, Haverhill’s city budget rises to $193.6 million beginning next month. The amounts are still subject to city council and state approvals.

City Finance Director Andrew Vanni explained the cost of operating city government and schools is $176.1 million. An additional $9.4 million is necessary to operate the city’s sewers and related facilities and $8.1 million for water service. Property taxes, fees and state aid generally pay for city government while water and sewer ratepayers pay the costs of those services directly.

The city budget plan goes before the Haverhill City Council Tuesday night for formal approval.

According to documents, the $176.1 million portion of the city budget is driven by $78.9 million for education; $40.6 million in employee benefits and retirement; $20.7 million for police and fire; $12.7 million for various reserves, bus service and rainy day funds; $8.4 million in debt payments; $7.5 in public works; $3.2 million for city administration; and $3.1 million for the library.

The city expects income of $166.5 million from taxes, water and sewer fees and other receipts. The number includes $789,993 the water and wastewater departments pay the city for various services, but charged to water and sewer ratepayers. The $176.1 million total the council is being asked to approve includes a $103,000 upward projection in fee revenues from city clerk, inspectional services and free cash accounts.

Additional projected expenses of $261,099 are offset by $157,778 in reduced expenses, including a $111,478 cut in the parking lighting account. The remaining $46,000 in in cuts comes from recreation, veterans and economic development and planning salaries. Last year, city councilors approved a $166.9 million budget, not including $8.6 for sewer and $7.4 million for water.

Among budget orders going before the council, a $166.5 million general fund revenue appropriation includes nearly $161.1 million in taxation and other receipts and $4.6 million from the free cash account. A total $789,993 in receipts from water and wastewater departments round out the general fund amount.

The council is also being asked to set aside $2.4 million to stabilization fund and re-appropriate $292,560 revenue from a parking funds account. In addition, the council is asked to approve $936,450 in revolving funds for departments including recreation and parks, council on aging, Wood School daycare and municipal open space management. The largest of the revolving funds is a $456,000 appropriation to Veterans Memorial Skating Rink.

The city council meets at 7 p.m., Tuesday, in council chambers at Haverhill City Hall.

7 thoughts on “Proposed City, Water and Sewer Budgets Rise to $193.6 Million

  1. Why don’t you eliminate the comment portion of the web site. The word police and those who protect our figurehead city government will never allow any opposition to be voiced!

  2. “$936,450 in revolving funds for departments including recreation and parks”
    Taxpayers pay $900K and the mayor has the nerve to turn around and charge city youth sports leagues a user fee? The thief of a mayor is double dipping!! People managing all the various youth sports leagues across the city should demand that those user fees they’re now being charged be eliminated. It is literally outright theft by the mayor. The mayor literally uses every possible city resource to generate revenue. And in this case taxpayers are paying for it twice.

    Tim Coco….please find out what happened to the $3.5MILLION that was a budget surplus in FY 2013. The mayor, as he always does, raised taxes 2.5% in that budget but then ended the year with a surplus. After committing fraud by putting it in the budget in the first place, naturally he committed larceny by not returning that surplus to taxpayers. So what happened to it???

  3. Back in May (just last month), the Mayor and City Council approved a $168.6 million budget. Was that to soften the taxpayers of Haverhill up for the kill? Why would everyone spend so much time on a budget and then come back to the well less than one month later to discuss a seriously expanded budget of $193.6 million? If they weren’t ready and were discussing an incomplete budget in May, why not just say so and postpone the approval until all of the numbers had been calculated???

    Could it be that the City Finance Director is incompetent? Can’t add and come up with a meaningful budget? Are the Department Heads incompetent also? They can’t add? Talk about The Gang That Can’t Shoot Straight!

    Question that I have is….. does this new budget also include the $2+ million SPED deficit that has been discussed recently, or will Superintendent of Schools, Scully, come back in subsequent months with his hat in hand also looking for more money than was budgeted??? This even though he is aware today that his budget is short.

    Are we going to read in July that the City needs yet more money? What does all of this do to our Water/Sewer billing? When and where does this all end? And when do we really get to the bottom line aka, what is all this going to cost us?

  4. Looks like there’s a string of municipal purpose loans starting on the 25th (see EMMA), thirty in all, with maturity dates starting as early as next year all the way to 2045. Of course we won’t make it that far, but who cares? Most of the people making these decisions will be worm food long before then. Growth curves, thanks to things like compound and exponents, you know, math, have a funny thing of ALWAYS running away from you.

    Oh well, more bonds, more deficit spending, more RECORD taxation, and more larceny and cronyism by Rep. Brian Dempsey and his pals on Bacon Hill to give the appearance all is well. Should do wonders for the working classes and their families, or those just hanging on in the most income disparate states in the country.

    • All individuals in city and state government live in a fantasy world of perceived power and self importance, none any more self evident than the crop in Haverhill. None of them has a clue, when in doubt raise taxes and fees. Our water and wastewater bills are ludicrous.