Rheault, Rossi to continue as council leadership
Date: 1/11/2011Jan. 12, 2011
By Katelyn Gendron
AGAWAM The City Council has opted out of reorganizing its hierarchy this year, keeping its president Donald Rheault and vice president Robert Rossi at the helm.
Rheault and Rossi said they're pleased to continue their work leading the council and noted that this year will bring with it some unique challenges.
"We've got severe budget restraints that will demand a lot of disciplined votes. This is probably going to be the most challenging budget [we've seen]," Rheault said. "From my discussions with constituents, they're not too happy with any increases in taxes so it's up to us to maintain services without increasing taxes."
Rossi said the "big question" is not whether or not fiscal year 2012 will be a difficult budget year. "The big questions is, 'What are we going to do about it?'"
He continued, "We need to lower our fixed costs because we've been on a slippery slope for a long time because we're spending more than we're taking in [via taxes]."
Rheault and Rossi said other priorities for the council this year would be off-street parking around Six Flags, contract negotiations with unions and proceeding with the Feeding Hills Sewer Extension Project.
"We must continue that sewer project. That's going to give us future growth potential in Agawam. There's a lot of valuable acreage up there that will expand our tax base and the homes up there will increase in value [with the sewer system]," Rossi said.
He noted the first phase of the project is completed and the design of the second and third phases is currently underway.
The next meeting of the City Council will take place Jan. 18 at 7 p.m. at Roberta G. Doering School, 68 Main St.