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Town of Agawam budget discussed during budget workshop

Date: 6/11/2019

AGAWAM – On May 20, part one of a two-part budget workshop was hosted with the Agawam City Council. Agawam Mayor William Sapelli presented the fiscal year 2020 budget plan to the Council. The following is a summarized version of six of the categories in the budget with an outline of changes in comparison to the fiscal year 2019 budget as presented in the first budget workshop. The remaining categories will be released next week as the second part of this two-part series.

Before the presentation began, Sapelli said, “I just want to thank [the department heads] for all of the hard work and commitment they put into this budget based on their goals and objectives. The department heads don’t just go through and rubber-stamp and repeat their funding on each line item. They take a look at what their objectives are, how those goals and objectives relate to the other departments and to the town in general, and they make the appropriate changes. I appreciate all the hard work that they put into this and for their support here this evening.”

Sapelli continued, “I think the theme for the City Council, department heads and the mayor’s office has been to address a lot of the needs in town with regard to property, sidewalks, streets or lights and our budget will reflect that.”

Senior Center/Council on Aging

In the Senior Center category, there is a $5,704 budget increase over the fiscal year 2019 budget. There is a $500 increase in the “longevity” line item due to longevity five-year increases. “Electricity and Heat” increased by $8,000 in the Senior Center category. Sapelli explained that these funds were moved from the building cost center.

“What you’re going to see is a decrease in the administrative building cost center of an equal amount of $8,000. We just reallocated the funds from one to another so the bottom line wasn’t affected in the budget. We just put the monies where they belonged.” Sapelli explained.


The Assessor category contains a $12,414 increase over the fiscal year 2019 budget. There was a $4,564 increase under personnel and a $150 longevity five-year increase. Under professional services, there is a $6,500 increase.

Agawam Town Assessor Samuel Konieczny explained, “The professional services portion of my budget actually includes work for the cyclical inspections, which are mandated by the Department of Revenue. We do 10 percent of the town each year as well as the Department of Revenue has now implemented a five-year cycle to have all personal property in every municipality in the commonwealth reinspected every five years. In order to comply with that, we are having to contract out with a personal property company that will do these inspections as well as provide the software to support the data that they collect. The professional services line item also includes our mapping, our GIS, software licensing and the cyclical reinspections.”

Information Technology

The Information Technology category has a budget increase of $37,061 over the fiscal year 2019 budget. This includes a $19,673 increase for a Viewpermit software upgrade and MUNIS Bridge new assessment software.

Sapelli explained, “This is a program that allows all of our inspection, all of our departments to go in and look and see if there are outstanding payments due and it helps us. What we’ve been focusing on, if there’s a permit that hasn’t been paid for or a tax that’s still out there and somebody wants to come to us for some type of permit, whether it’s a building permit or something of that nature, and they owe us money in another area, now we have a software program where everybody can go in and look at it and there’s communication.”

There is also a $17,750 increase for a mail server upgrade under Information Technology.

Veteran’s Office

The Veterans Office category has two budget increases. There is an increase of $1,328 under Veteran’s Benefits and an increase of $3,200 for Agawam’s share of the budget with surrounding communities for the Veteran’s Council.

“The assessment for Agawam’s share of the budget with the surrounding communities for the veteran’s council you’ll see our allocation was $3,200.”

Building Maintenance

In the Building Maintenance category, there is an increase of $32,775 under “Regular Permanent Personnel.” This is due to the addition of a custodian floater position for the Police Station and Library. The position creates a decrease in part-time personnel, resulting in a $3,500 decrease in budget under the “Regular Temporary Personnel” category.

Due to the purchase of a floor scrubber, carpet extractor and four floor buffers, there is a budget increase under “Janitorial Equipment” of $8,995.

The total increase under Building Maintenance in comparison to fiscal year 2019 is $42,020 for fiscal year 2020.

Agawam Country Club

The Agawam Country Club category includes a $62,000 increase for temporary staff and a $5,000 increase for overtime. There is also a $5,000 increase for advertising. Food service increased by $25,000 for supplies.

Sapelli explained that higher participation at the Agawam Country Club could be attributed to the increase in several areas of the budget.

“Based on the increased play we’re getting, we also have an increase in the need for staffing, especially a need for an increase in supplies, especially when it comes to food and beverage. Now that we have a very welcoming group of individuals up there that are keeping set specific hours when golfers come in after they’re done playing, they are is still open. People are eating and drinking. Therefore, we have more of a need for supplies in those areas,” Sapelli explained.

A significant decrease in the budget is under “Water Purchase,” which Sapelli explained is due to switching to wholesale water rates. The decrease totals $7,897.

The total increase under Agawam Country Club in comparison to fiscal year 2019 is $98,392 for fiscal year 2020.

“This is based on projected revenues for this year and if we don’t make that projected revenue, we’ll have to cut back on the budget before we finalize the tax rate in the fall,” Laurel Placzek, Treasurer and Collector for the Town of Agawam, explained.

Reminder Publishing will release a follow-up story next week highlighting the remaining categories as discussed in the budget workshops.