Haverhill Mayor and City Council Try to Forecast Income and Expenses at Budget Workshop Tonight

City Finance Director Charles Benevento and Mayor James J. Fiorentini during 2017 budget talks. (WHAV News photograph.)

How much money will Haverhill bring in during the upcoming budget year and how much can it afford to spend?

These are the questions before Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini and members of the Haverhill City Council tonight when they have a special workshop. Last Tuesday, Fiorentini told councilors answers are elusive—especially as they relate to education. He explained the state is suffering a staggering drop in tax revenues due to COVID-19-related business closures.

“The big unknown is state aid—particularly Chapter 70—which makes up a large portion of our budget. We can’t come within a million or $5 million of knowing it, so there really is no budget we can submit right now,” the mayor said.

Besides income, the mayor said, it is unclear how much operating the schools will cost since it is not yet clear whether there will be normal classes, remote learning or some combination.

City Finance Director Charles Benevento is expected to share what is hearing from the state Department of Revenue. In a worst-case scenario, Fiorentini said the city may have to start July 1 spending month-to-month.

The virtual meeting begins at 7 p.m.

In other public meetings this week:

Tuesday, May 26

The Community Affairs Advisory Board meets remotely Tuesday, May 26, at 6 p.m., to make recommendations on how to spend additional federal Community Development Block Grant money that has been awarded to the city for coronavirus-related expenses.

Wednesday, May 27

Haverhill School Committee’s Finance Subcommittee meets remotely Wednesday, May 27, at 8:30 a.m. The agenda includes a discussion of the Coronavirus Relief Fund.

Thursday, May 28

Haverhill Conservation Commission meets remotely Thursday, May 28, at 7:15 p.m.

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