$2.4B budget eliminates programs, jobs

$2.4B budget eliminates programs, jobs

By Dave Wedge  |   Wednesday, April 13, 2011  |  http://www.bostonherald.com  |  Local Coverage

The city is pulling 30 staffers out of five community centers and bracing for potential layoffs in the schools and possibly other departments as part of a tight $2.4 billion spending plan set to be unveiled today.

The budget calls for the Boston Centers for Youth and Families to stop running city-funded programs on June 30 at the Kent School in Charlestown, Tynan School in South Boston, Harbor School in Dorchester, Orchard Gardens School in Roxbury and the Mason Pool in Roxbury.

“I’m greatly concerned about losing another resource,” said state Rep. Nick Collins, who represents South Boston and parts of Dorchester. “I have received some calls from constituents about it. With summer coming, this is a great concern.”

The city hopes to avoid closing the five community centers by bringing in non-profit groups to run programs.

The budget, which Mayor Thomas M. Menino will present to the council this morning, also figures in the elimination of 240 school jobs, many of which will be cut through retirements and attrition, as well as staffing changes due to the department’s closure of nine schools and merging of eight others into four. Officials said there could be school layoffs but just how many will be unknown until the fall.

“There are still challenges, and we’re asking each department head to do more with less,” said Councilor Mark Ciommo, head of the council’s Ways and Means Committee. “We’ve laid the groundwork the past couple years toward sustainability, but we’re not out of the woods yet.”

Most departments will be funded at the same level as 2011 under the plan, but the Police Department would see a $2 million cut, shutting down one of the department’s “neighborhood interaction units” — a civilian call center for non-emergency calls.

Despite the cuts, the city is bringing in a new police class in June and is planning to hire 35 new cops.

Health-care costs continue to hamstring the city and are due to hit $315 million in 2012 — a $17.5 million increase — while city officials project state aid cuts of up to $37 million.

The budget also includes $8 million toward the design of Menino’s highly touted redevelopment of the Ferdinand Building in Dudley Square, a $115 million project that will transfer hundreds of city workers to new digs in the Roxbury neighborhood.

— -dwedge@bostonherald.com

Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1330366

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