Compromise Works: Haverhill to Buy Two New Fire Trucks, City Council Approves Full-Year Budget

Haverhill City Council. (WHAV News file photograph.)

It took an extra month to work it out, but the City of Haverhill has a budget for the year that began July 1.

The City Council last night approved the same budget they rejected a month ago. Their previous refusal came when the mayor would commit only to buying one new fire truck instead of two to replace a pair of 33-year-old engines. As a result, the Council passed a 1/12 budget to keep the city operating through the end of this month.

During that time, Mayor James J. Fiorentini and Haverhill Fire Chief William F. Laliberty delivered an alternative plan to purchase two new trucks this year by moving next year’s scheduled purchase of a pumper truck to 2024. The mayor explained how that would work.

“As I indicated to you, I think it was two weeks ago, no later than Labor Day, I will submit an amended capital plan and I will have in that, the purchase of two trucks in order to eventually be passed down to replace the reserve trucks,” he said.

That compromise resulted in a change of heart by the Council which unanimously passed the remaining budget of $196,162,837 for the year.

While the budget does increase spending for schools and the hiring of 13 additional police officers, Council Vice President Colin F. LePage pointed out it also calls for a two and a half percent property tax increase. The mayor, however, said he is hoping to see more money from the state to reduce that amount, but said that won’t happen for another three months.

“The state is not going to have a budget for us until sometime in late October. They just approved a new one-quarter budget today,” he explained.

On a positive note, the mayor did say the one-quarter budget includes level funding for Massachusetts schools, plus an amount for inflation, this year.

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