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Budget deficit to be determined

Date: 7/3/2013

On April 8, 2013, I announced my candidacy for mayor of Westfield. At that time I stressed to the city's 23,700 registered voters the absolute importance of voting in the mayoral election on Nov. 5, 2013. I called this election one of the most important mayoral elections in the city's history because so much is at stake.

I said at the time that the choice would be clear. Vote Knapik and face more tax increases, more borrowing and more debt or vote Roeder and expect tax stabilization, no borrowing except for the Senior Center and a crackdown on city spending in general. I also said that the voters should be the deciding factor on the future direction of this city.

I am pleased to state that my position has not changed; in fact, I am more determined than ever that my positions are the correct ones based on what is happening right now with the city budget process.

As I write this, the City Council is trying to figure out how to resolve a budget deficit of over $500,000 for fiscal year 2014, which [started] July 1. There is no money they say. This translates into more tax increases, increased fees, higher water run-off fees, who knows? Interesting for a city that is poised to spend $133 million in the next two to three years on numerous projects – if Mr. Knapik is re-elected.

Moreover, I am as concerned about the budget shortfall for this fiscal year (FY13), which [ended] June 30. I understand it may be as high as $2 million. What is the truth? This should be on everyone's mind as the fiscal year draws to a close because state law mandates that the budget be balanced.

Last year the budget shortfall was $888,000 and city employees were laid off to erase the deficit. Where is the press on this issue? As a taxpayer I want to know what the budget shortfall is for FY13. I want to know right now. So, let me end this piece by asking a simple question of the mayor and City Council – what is the budget shortfall for FY13?

Please vote on Nov. 5. Your vote will make a difference.

Mike Roeder, mayoral candidate