QUINCY — Quincy officials are proposing a $39 million spending plan for the 2022 fiscal year that is estimated to be balanced while maintaining adequate reserve funding.
The proposed spending plan had its first reading on Monday. Some of the goals of the 2022 fiscal year are to maintain a cash reserve fund of 10% of the general funds operating expenses, fully fund pensions costs, set a minimum level of funding for capital spending and adopt a 5-year comprehensive infrastructure plan on an annual basis.
Quincy Mayor Kyle Moore said when he took office eight years ago, there was a structural budget deficit of $1.7 million and a projected reserve of $1.2 million. But in his last year in office, the city has a balance budget with a projected increase in reserves.
“And we’re in a great spot where this budget relies on no federal dollars (or) grant money coming in,” Moore said. “So as the stimulus money comes in, whether it be for transit lines or whether it be for Quincy Regional Airport or direct money to municipalities, we’re going to be able to use that as a way to reflect on the opportunities that we want to fund, and I think that puts us in a great position moving forward.”
The Quincy Fire Department’s budget is about 6% less than last year’s budget, which fire chief Joe Henning said was directly related to a reduction in personnel.
Although 60 firefighters are needed to keep the city’s five stations open, the department’s budget is for 58 sworn personnel with additional money invested in overtime pay. Henning said it would cost about $122,000 in overtime costs to keep the stations functioning compared to the roughly $170,000 it would cost to hire and train two additional firefighters.
Nevertheless, Henning said it will be very difficult to get through the year on overtime without new hires.
“We run into challenges now filling overtime shifts,” Henning said. “There’s a thing called overtime fatigue and you have trouble getting people to work overtime after a certain period of time. And we’re running into a little bit of that now, and I’m certain we’re going to do everything we can to ensure that we have those positions staffed all the time.”
The Quincy Police Department’s budget is for about $13.6 million, which police chief Robert Copley said is less than the revised fiscal 2021 budget.
The department also had to increase its overtime costs due to the loss of a typist who was laid off last year due to COVID-19. Civilian overtime increased by $20,000 but it would take $70,000 to replace the typist.
“One thing I wish this budget did that it doesn’t is replace that typist,” Copley said.
Copley added that the department has lost three officers to resignations that are yet to be replaced because there weren’t any basic police classes in the past year due to the pandemic.