SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

July 2, 2013

Salem councilors approve 'lean' $136M budget

By Bethany Bray
STAFF WRITER

---- — SALEM — The salaries of two new police patrolmen and two new firefighters are included in the city’s $136 million budget for the coming year.

Fiscal year 2014 began yesterday. City councilors voted to give final approval of the fiscal 2014 budget on June 27, after meeting with the city’s finance team and department heads through the spring.

The $136 million budget is a 1.05 percent increase over the fiscal 2013 actual adjusted budget, said Sarah Stanton, the city’s finance director. The school department’s portion of the budget totals $52.5 million.

The budget has no major cuts or layoffs, Stanton said. Both the proposed and approved budgets will be posted at www.salem.com.

“It’s a lean budget ... everything is basically holding strong,” Stanton said. “I think Salem has one of the most impressive budgets around. It’s a very transparent budget. There should be a lot of confidence that money is being spent wisely.”

In addition to the two new police officers and two firefighters, the budget includes a new full-time building inspector and a part-time Latino affairs coordinator, a position that will work on community outreach through the mayor’s office.

The new police and fire personnel will be hired at staggered intervals throughout the coming year, Stanton said.

Last week, it took city councilors just under 19 minutes to read through and approve the budget, department by department. To avoid conflict of interest, councilors Arthur Sargent and Joseph O’Keefe left the room during the fire department vote, Jerry Ryan left the room for the votes on the school and police departments, and Robert McCarthy left the room during the school department vote.

Bethany Bray can be reached at bbray@salemnews.com and on Twitter @SalemNewsBB.