Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller presented Newton’s fiscal year 2023 budget proposal, which increases city spending on schools and city services, to Newton City Council on Tuesday.
The operating budget of $480 million, which runs from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023, is up $17.3 million from the prior year. Its major components include $262 million allocated to Newton Public Schools, $61 million to fund water, sewer and stormwater companies, and $5.6 million to community preservation funds.
Fuller presented the budget to city council on Zoom after testing positive for COVID-19, while some councilors attended the meeting in person at Newton City Hall.
Fuller said the COVID-19 pandemic continues to hamper city revenue, manifesting in both modest increases in federal and state funding and a drop in tax revenue from pre-pandemic levels. . His administration wrote in a written analysis of the budget that the effects of the pandemic will have less impact on the City’s revenues in the years to come.
Fuller said his administration has also taken initiatives to increase budget funding after the pandemic, such as employing city employees to collect yard waste instead of outsourcing the work.
Fuller said the city will use $3 million of its American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to increase its operating budget by $480 million. More complete also announced that the city will allocate an additional $2 million in ARPA funds to support residents facing hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The city has committed approximately $32 million of its $63.2 million in available ARPA funding.
Fuller also said that despite the city’s reduced revenue streams as a result of the pandemic, it must reduce its use of ARPA.
“Otherwise, Newton would face a dangerous financial cliff of our own making,” Fuller said. “Additionally, we are cautiously holding ARPA funds in reserve in case we experience another bad turn from the virus and with it the need to make additional investments.”
The city’s FY2023 budget will follow a similar precautionary principle, according to Fuller.
“Despite a 3.5% increase for the Newton Public Schools budget and a 3.0% increase for City Services, we still had to make tough choices this year,” she said. “This budget balances our ambitions for Newton with our fiscal reality. Pragmatism must continue to guide us as we navigate complex economic trends. »
The city council will deliberate on the budget in the coming weeks and will vote on it at the end of May, according to a calendar on the city website.