PITTSFIELD — After weeks of budget workshops, the Town Council gave final approval Tuesday for the 2023 budget, totaling roughly $6.1 million.

The spending plan is an increase of about $400,000 compared to last year, or just less than 7% higher. But despite the increase, town officials say that because of rising revenue, the property tax rate is expected to go down. Unlike other towns in the area, Pittsfield’s budget runs on the calendar year, not the fiscal year.

“The amount of hours spent on this budget has been innumerable, and the effort that not only the council, but our town manager, has put into this has been immeasurable,” said Mayor Michael Cianchette. “We’ve come up with what we feel is a very good, very comfortable budget. I feel very confident in the numbers.”

The budget includes $31,000 to fund the first year of a townwide property revaluation. The last time the town updated assessed properties was in 2006, said Town Manager Kathryn Ruth, and even then that was a full door-to-door process.

Also in the budget is $55,436 to allow the town to hire a full-time code enforcement officer. In the past year, residents and councilors have brought up code violations at properties across town, but there has been difficulty addressing the problem with only a part-time code enforcement officer. The full-time position will mean the town can respond to violations sooner, and residents will be able to speak with the officer about concerns and code questions.

Councilors also increased funding for the library, a move stemming from early budget workshops in which there was talk of cutting funding and limiting library hours. But numerous residents came to speak to the council in support of the library, and the council agreed to increase funding to purchase new materials and increase library hours.


The budget also includes a slight cost of living increase for town employees. The original proposed budget had a 5% salary increase for the majority of town employees, but some positions that were at or near the minimum wage will receive an 8% increase.

The council kept the larger increase for lower paid staff, but made the decision to change the increase for most employees to 3% instead.

Numerous departments saw increases to budgets for electricity, gas and other utility costs that continue to rise.

The budget for the police department decreased slightly more than $88,000 compared to last year, even after councilors increased funding for overtime, gasoline and vehicle maintenance. The decrease largely comes from personnel, as councilors requested that several of the salaries be budgeted not for the entire year, because of vacancies in the department. Instead, two officer positions are budgeted for 12 months, two at 10 months and one at nine months.

Additionally, the school district eliminated the school resource officer position, so the town does not have to pay for the two months of that position’s salary.

Councilors also cut funding in areas where departments historically have not spent the full budgeted amount, such as animal control and general assistance. General assistance was decreased from $15,000 to $10,000; and animal control was decreased by $11,000, giving it a budget of $20,000 total.

Councilors extensively discussed adjusting how the town handles animal control, because currently the town has a contract with an animal control officer but that person is often unable to respond to incidents, leaving police officers to handle such calls. Councilors considered assigning the duties to the police department administrative assistant but ultimately decided to wait and let the new police chief look into the issue.

It is too soon to tell the exact impact the budget will have on the property tax rate, Ruth said, because the town won’t get the school district or county budgets until June. However, the rate is expected to decrease slightly. Ruth said the decrease to the tax rate is possible because the town has seen an increase to revenue in the last year, mostly coming from state revenue sharing.

Now, the 2022 tax rate is $24.40 per $1,000 of property valuation, and the 2023 rate is predicted to be roughly $23.04 per $1,000. That would mean that for a $250,000 property, the tax bill would drop by $340, from $6,100 to roughly $5,760.

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