Mayor Confident Council Will Pass $178.5 Million Budget

Haverhill City Council Vice President Melinda E. Barrett would like to see six additional police officers hired.

While attempts to negotiate a budget compromise between a majority of the City Council and Mayor James J. Fiorentini appear to have failed, the mayor expressed optimism Monday, his $178.5 million budget will be passed Tuesday.

The mayor’s optimism comes as a surprise to several councilors who offered a number of cost-cutting measures to offset the cost of hiring a compromise total of six additional police officers.

“I’m confident the Council will pass a budget. It’s their number one responsibility. I did not submit a one-twelfth budget, and I’m very confident the Council will work with me. This is the third budget that I’ve submitted and I’m confident that they will vote for it,” Fiorentini told WHAV.

Council President John A. Michitson and Vice President Melinda E. Barrett met with the mayor and his Chief of Staff David S. Van Dam early Friday afternoon. Barrett summarized the meeting.

“He will do the four police officers. That was the best he could do. I asked for at least six. I thought six was in the middle. For every three police officers, there is at least one a shift and this would cover two shifts. We won’t have so many forced stays to maintain minimum manpower,” Barrett said. She explained forced stays means officers must work extra shifts at the expense of their family lives.

Meanwhile, Councilor Colin F. LePage has identified underestimated payments to the city of $600,000 and is proposing up to $255,000 in additional cuts.

“I made the offer. These are underestimated revenues. Historically, they’ve always exceeded the budget.” The money, he said, comes from underreported automobile excise taxes, penalties and interest on taxes and investment income. The extra money could be used for the city’s rainy-day fund, returned to the taxpayers, increase public safety or any combination. In any event, LePage said, there would be no tax increase required to hire additional police.

Fiorentini said he is happy with his budget.

“It adds four police. It adds downtown foot patrols. It adds a police reserve list. It brings us to the higher police complement in decades.”

4 thoughts on “Mayor Confident Council Will Pass $178.5 Million Budget

  1. I think blocking the budget would have been a very bold move by these city council members if anyone of them had the balls to oppose the mayor. The council especially Mitchison come of as frustrated jealous brats.

  2. So evidently the Mayor cares nothing about the fact that we are 30-40 officers shy of where we should be. Was he even watching the presentation done before the council ? Does he even care that police calls went up over 40% IN ONE YEAR !! Where is this guy’s thinking ? Rail trails and trees over crime ? Once again feelings seem more important than real issues. Maybe Haverhill will be a sanctuary city soon making everyone FEEL GOOD again ! Unreal

    • Jack, it’s not a question of “maybe” Haverhill will be a sanctuary city soon…through his actions the mayor has confirmed what his public policy position is concerning the safety in the city. He is quietly promoting pro-sanctuary city public policy. Haverhill is now a VERY dangerous city. There is now also a liberal, pro-illegal immigrant organization who wants to “officially” make Haverhill a sanctuary city through a legislative edict from the city council. If we don’t vote the pro-illegal immigrant supporters out of office….that is the mayor and Andy Vargas….it won’t take long before Haverhill becomes the new Lawrence. An independent, non-partisan private company has already declared Haverhill one of the most dangerous, high crime cities in Massachusetts. You can hire all the cops you want….until the elected officials who promote and support illegal trespassing criminals in the city are voted out of office nothing will change.