On Wednesday, the commonwealth and its 351 municipalities began anew, as localities closed the books on fiscal year 2015 and began FY2016. The state itself has not delivered a full-year spending plan. Others squeezed it in at the last minute. Springfield did not get its budget in quite that late. Rather, Mayor Domenic Sarno proposed it in May, followed by Council approval last month without cuts and only a single dissenting vote.
The upbeat spending plan, just short of $600 million, included more money for public safety staffing and required no funds from the city’s reserve account. Moreover, the budget seemingly represents a departure from the decades of cuts, layoffs and pain. But Springfield’s fiscal health is far more complicated and no less perilous.