BROCKTON — City councilors shot down a half-million-dollar “revolving fund” as fallout from the school overspending scandal continues.
With voters paying closer attention to city finance since the revelation Brockton Public Schools overspent by $14.4M in fiscal 2023, councilors balked at creating a fund to support economic development and planning. The “Economic Revolving Fund” would have allowed the planning department to spend up to $500,000 with approval from the city’s chief financial officer.
“It’s tone-deaf,” Ward 4 City Councilor and Council President Susan Nicastro said at a Thursday committee meeting to consider the idea.
Ward 5 City Councilor Jeff Thompson sponsored the proposal. He said the city council would approve any money put into such a fund. State law lets cities to set up revolving funds with certain restrictions, including a requirement that city council each year sets a limit on how much can be spent.
What is a revolving fund?
Nicastro wasn’t alone in not buying it. Moises Rodrigues, the city councilor and former mayor who earned the most at-large votes in the Nov. 7 election, said it’d be a slush fund that “could become a little monster of its own.”
Budget Director Tiffani Ciasullo, pinch-hitting for CFO Troy Clarkson at Thursday’s meeting, said the measure would earmark money so it doesn’t fall back into the city’s cash reserves each year.
“I can assure you this is not a slush fund,” she said.
Ciasullo is leaving the city at the end of the month after a 22-year career that began in the city clerk’s office. She said she will be taking a job with the state Parole Board.
‘Economic revolving fund’ dead on arrival
At-large City Councilor Win Farwell minced no words.
“For me, this is beyond the pale,” said the former mayor, using an idiom for something outside the limits of acceptable behavior. “I’m just shocked that it came in with the confluence of all the other issues we’re wrestling with in the city.”
Ward 7 City Councilor Shirley Asack, who leads deliberations as head of the ordinance committee, also wasn’t having the proposal.
“There’s no way I can support it as written,” she said.
Members of the council’s ordinance committee voted unanimously to table the idea. That puts the proposal into a legislative limbo where it will likely not be taken up again without major changes.
The city utilizes several revolving funds. In the most recent budget, they include $650,000 for ambulance receipts and $337,500 for cable access.