Mayor Coogan reiterated his stance today that the FY22 budget in its current state will take effect on July 1st.
Coogan issued the following statement early this afternoon.
“The City of Fall River relying on the diligence of our department heads and senior staff have developed an FY2022 budget that was submitted to the City Council in a timely manner so the Council had every opportunity to take appropriate action within the 45 day timeframe pursuant to the City Charter and DOR guidance. The administration believes that this is a solid budget that provides quality services to the residents and businesses, it allows for an appropriate increase in staff and some capital improvements per the needs of our City Department Heads and Division Managers.”
“The FY2022 budget will take effect @12:01am on July 1, 2021. The administration will work with the City Council to incorporate supplemental appropriations of both increases and decreases that may be necessary and beneficial to the taxpayers of our City going forward.”
At last night’s City Council meeting, several council members expressed that they still have an issue with the budget. Some of the issues included salary increases, parts of the budget that have yet to be settled in the council, and a reported department head that authorized an override of the budget amount without an approval. The Council floated the idea of possibly taking the budget issue with Coogan to court after July 1st.
Pam Laliberte-Lebeau discussed some of the City Council’s budget concerns today on “The Fall River Show” with Marc Dion.
Later this afternoon, after Mayor Coogan had sent out his statement, the City Council and President Cliff Ponte Jr. issued a statement.
“First, I want to express my continued disappointment with the Mayor’s position on the budget. Councilors still have legitimate concerns. For example, Councilor Shawn E. Cadime and other Councilors raised concerns about a $1.2 million dollar deficit and a department head went into the MUNIS system and authorized an override of the approved budget amount without approval.
“The Corporation Counsel stated the following:
– No department shall incur a liability in excess of the appropriation made for the use of such department, except in cases of a major disaster which poses an immediate threat to the health or safety of persons or property. See M.G.L c.44 s.31.
– During the last two (2) months of the fiscal year, on recommendation of the Mayor, the City Council may, by majority vote, transfer any amount appropriated… to any other appropriation.” See M.G.L c.44 s.33B(a).
– Additionally, any collective bargaining agreement should be submitted to the City Council “within thirty (30) days after the date on which the agreement is executed by the parties,” with a request for an appropriation necessary to fund the cost of the items contained therein. See M.G.L c.150E s.7(b).
“Councilors have continued to ask what the next step is now that we know that the Administration has not followed and violated the Home Rule Charter as well as Massachusetts General Law.
“The Administration has known about this since June 16, 2021 and the City Council has received no transfers and payments are still being paid out since Councilor Shawn E. Cadime initially raised the issue.
“Fall River deserves good government.”
The battle between the Mayor and the Council concerning the budget is clearly not over.