Haverhill’s schools are the big winners in the city’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget, receiving the lion’s share of the spending increase proposed by Mayor James J. Fiorentini.
The mayor revealed a $185.7 million budget to the City Council Tuesday, which calls for $5.6 million more in spending than the current $180.1 million budget for FY 2017.
The schools stand to gain $5.3 million of the increase, or 95 percent.
With the remaining $300,000 increase, Fiorentini plans to hire two police officers and a highway superintendent, as well as adding to the city’s sidewalk paving fund, bringing it to a total of $500,000.
Fiorentini said the Highway Department has lost most of its workforce over the years, dwindling from 70 to 12. Many are performing double duty, including Public Works Director Michael K. Stankovich, who also serves as highway superintendent. Hiring a new highway superintendent will give an added layer of supervision and will free Stankovich to do more long-range planning.
The anticipated police hiring will bring the city’s paid force to 101 officers, Fiorentini said.
Councilor William J. Macek commended the mayor’s proposal. “You’ve chosen the right places to put the money,” he said. “The schools are the right choice for this particular budget.”
The council will review the mayor’s proposed budget. According to the city’s charter, the council has no authority to add money to the budget, but does have authority to cut spending requests. The Fiscal Year 2018 budget goes into effect on July 1.