Budget Conferences to Confirm 2019 Spending Begin This Week in Haverhill

Haverhill City Hall. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Members of the Haverhill City Council join Mayor James J. Fiorentini to further budget talks this week. (File photograph)

Haverhill’s 2019 fiscal year continues to take shape this week as several key city agencies enter budget conferences at City Hall.

Mayor James J. Fiorentini’s proposed $194.5 million budget, which increases spending by $7.2 million—mostly for public schools—received a largely positive reaction after it was unveiled May 18. In addition to more money for schools, Fiorentini earmarked funds to hire a police lieutenant in what he called a “new approach” to fighting gang-related crime that has beset the city.

The mayor told WHAV he decided to withdraw $5 million from the city’s free cash reserve because other revenue sources did not grow enough. The money taken from free cash represents about half of the total available, but the city will not touch its rainy-day fund.

“New growth is one of the things that concerns me. It’s up more than I thought it would be in February, but it’s still way, way below what it was a few years ago,” Fiorentini said.

City Council President John A. Michitson, who voted against all versions of the mayor’s budget last year because they did not include enough new police officers, told WHAV he likes the hiring of a police lieutenant to manage a partnership with Lowell-based UTEC to address gang violence.

“It is linked to many of the shootings the past couple of years. I’m hoping to bolster public safety more during the budget review process,” Michitson told WHAV. He said he also agrees with hiring a new maintenance/project manager for capital projects and an additional Highway worker.

All budget conference meetings are open to the public and begin at 7 p.m. in the City Council office, Room 204, at 4 Summer St.

A sampling of meetings is listed below:

Monday, June 4: Police Department & Emergency Management; Veterans
Wednesday, June 6: Public Works & Parks Department
Tuesday, June 12: Haverhill Public Schools
Wednesday, June 13: Fire Department

A final review is scheduled for Monday, June 18.