The city’s operating budget of $802 million was passed Monday by the City Council for the 2023 fiscal year starting July 1, representing an increase of $49 million, or 6.5 percent, over the current budget. It was an anticlimactic vote after the night’s approval of the next city manager, and one councillor suggested it not happen Monday at all.
In some more tidbits from budget hearings, we learned that even the most understandable budget ever still has some work to do in terms of clarity; that despite surging public records requests, the Law Department needs no more technology to help; and that parking revenue and the raising of annual parking permit fees can be sensitive subjects.
Public meetings this week look at LGBTQ+ issues, Alewife zoning and development, the use of federal Covid recovery funds, the budget for the next fiscal year, a school district sexual misconduct policy, implementing a 988 crisis line and some food, drink and event issues – including a new bubble tea business for Harvard Square.
In some tidbits from budget hearings, we learned that a municipal broadband hire is listed as being in the City Manager’s Office; our housing liaison could evolve into an Office of Housing Stability; police body cameras have wide support; and Cambridge ranks high on cybersecurity … according to the people responsible for Cambridge’s cybersecurity.
A final hunk of Covid aid funds arrived before the City Council on Monday – $23.1 million described by staff as aimed at concerns ranging from homelessness to broadband infrastructure – but a vote to release it was delayed by at least a week. Meanwhile, a “strategic pause” on public suggestions for the remaining $33.1 million was called.