Council seeks public input on budget
Date: 5/24/2011May 25, 2011
By Debbie Gardner
WESTFIELD If residents are curious about how their tax dollars will be spent in fiscal year 2012 (FY12), the City Council encourages them to get involved in the budget review process.
At its May 19 meeting, the council voted to set aside June 8 at 7 p.m. in the City Council Chambers for the public hearing on Mayor Daniel Knapik's proposed $121 million FY12 budget.
Knapik presented what he referred to as "a level service budget" with "no furloughs" to the City Council at its May 5 meeting. During his presentation Knapik noted that was the earliest date in his 10-year experience with city government the budget had ever been delivered.
City Councilor At Large Patty Andreas noted that residents need to remember by the time the council hosts its public hearing on the budget, it has only the power to make cuts and cannot, at that point, add monies to augment department budgets or alter spending allocations.
City Councilor At Large Nicholas Morganelli, Jr. noted that the council's Finance Subcommittee is currently meeting at 6:30 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday evening at the City Hall to review portions of the budget.
"I urge the public to attend the meetings on Tuesday and Thursday nights," Morganelli said. "If people are really concerned about where their tax dollars go, come to the meetings."
Ward Six City Councilor Christopher Crean said he hoped the public would get more involved with the budgeting process and make their voices heard.
"We want to remind the public that these meetings are going on," he said. "Or the public hearing [on the budget] may be like when we set the tax rate ... nobody comes." Debbie Gardner can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com