City braces for more cuts at the state level

It is said that one cannot squeeze blood from a turnip, and so city officials are saying this week that nothing more can be squeezed from their budgets either.

Last Friday, Gov. Deval Patrick announced that the state had collected far less in revenues than it expected in September. In fact, the shortfall left the state in a $249 million hole that had the governor already discussing the possibility of mid-year cuts to local aid once again.

Last year, the governor cut local aid to Revere in the middle of the year, forcing drastic cost cutting measures such as laying off nine policemen and shutting down City Hall on Fridays.

Mid-year cuts are especially problematic for cities because they take away money from the city that has already been pledged and budgeted.

Now, it looks like the knife might be headed a little deeper, and it’s a reality that Mayor Tom Ambrosino said he isn’t even ready to think about.

“I haven’t identified anywhere there could be additional budget cuts because it would mean brutal, brutal decisions,” he said. “Every department is down to bare bones levels…I don’t know what we would do. We’re closed on Friday, so I guess we would close on Thursday too. I really don’t know. I’m very concerned about mid-year local aid cuts.”

He said that it did strengthen his resolve to try and push through the local option meal’s tax.

“It’s more evidence and more conviction on my part that I have to go back to the City Council in early 2010 for the local meal’s tax,” he said. “As difficult as it is for the business community, we will not survive without that.”

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