According to a release from the Mayor’s Office, the City of Fall River’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget has been adopted. The budget, which was formally presented to the City Council on May 11th, 2021 will be in effect on July 1, 2021.
The statement said that despite the City Council’s rejection of the total budget at the June 22, 2021 City Council meeting, Massachusetts General Laws (M.G.L. ch.44 §32) and the City of Fall River’s Charter (Article 6, Section 6-4) state that if the City Council does not take action on any budget items within 45 days after its receipt, the proposed budget goes into effect for that fiscal year.
The memo also stated that “the vote of the City Council last week to reject the entire budget was ineffective in stopping the the FY 2022 budget from being enacted. A vote of the City Council to reduce or reject the budget in its entirety- or a vote to reduce categories of spending by a total amount or percentage without voting to reduce particular line items by specific dollar amounts is invalid. The Council chose not to act on any of the recommended line item amounts by approving, reducing, or rejecting individual line items. Due to expiration of the 45 day time period following the budget’s May 11th receipt, the original proposed budget has been adopted.”
Mayor Coogan had the following remarks on the matter:
“I would like to make it clear that the City Council has had ample opportunity to suggest revisions to the budget. During the City Council meeting on June 22nd, councilors offered suggestions regarding areas to increase or reduce the budget, pursuant to a vote. I regret that none of these ideas were acted upon by the Council in a timely fashion.
“As our legislative branch, it is the responsibility of the City Council to understand the timelines and procedures relevant to the passage of the budget. I expect that the City Council president and members may attempt to shift blame to the administration, however, the budget process and its approval are governed by municipal and state law.
“As July 1st approaches, we must plan to maintain current operations and City services as we begin the new fiscal year. This budget was crafted with the goal of better serving all of our residents, and I would like to thank all of those who were a part of the drafting of this year’s budget- especially our City department heads.”