Michael Fenton

WAMC

   In the wake of scandal over alleged misconduct, the city council in Springfield, Massachusetts is poised to vote tonight to put a board of civilians in charge of all police department personnel decisions. The move is strongly opposed by the city’s mayor. 

     Voters in three Massachusetts cities this November will decide whether to authorize a property tax surcharge to finance a local fund that could pay for historic preservation projects, protecting open space, and building affordable housing.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno
WAMC

Almost a month before the start of the new fiscal year, the city of Springfield, Massachusetts has a new budget in place. The city will be hiring more police and firefighters amid questions about whether the city can meet its pension obligations to future retirees.

Springfield is considering adopting a Massachusetts law that allows for a property tax surcharge to create a local fund for historic preservation projects, protecting open space, and supporting affordable housing.

A new budget has been adopted for the second-largest public school system in Massachusetts that officials say puts “students first.”   The Springfield Public Schools will spend more money next year on technology in the classrooms, early childhood education, and launch a program to put a computer in the hands of every student.

WAMC

Municipal finances in the city of Springfield, Massachusetts, which faced bankruptcy a little more than a decade ago, are looking up. Mayor Domenic Sarno has released a recommended budget for the next fiscal year. 

Should municipal employees be legally required to live in the city or town that pays their salary?  The long-simmering debate over local residency requirements in Massachusetts has flared recently in several cities, including Springfield.

 Three city councilors in Springfield claim six deputy or district chiefs in the Springfield Fire Department are in violation of the city’s residency ordinance. Their public demand for the fire officials to move into the city immediately, or give up their jobs, brought a sharp rebuke from Mayor Domenic Sarno.

An artists rendering of the proposed MGM Casino in Springfield, MA
MGMSpringfield

The first casino approved for construction in western Massachusetts cleared a milestone regulatory hurdle Monday night in Springfield. The city council approved the site plan for the MGM Springfield casino.

The council voted 12-1 to approve the site plan for the $950 million casino project and to accept changes to the host community agreement with MGM that eliminates a 25-story hotel tower from the project.

The civilian board that investigates complaints against the police in Springfield, Massachusetts has not issued a public report about its work in almost two years. The mayor’s office says there is no target date for releasing the overdue reports that are supposed to come out annually.

The city council in Springfield, Massachusetts this week unanimously elected Michael Fenton to be council president for an unprecedented third consecutive one-year term.

Fenton, who was the youngest person to hold the council president’s office when he was first chosen at the age of 26, spoke this week with WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill.

WAMC

Today was inauguration day for the mayor and city councilors in the largest city in western Massachusetts.

Domenic Sarno took the oath of office to formally begin a new term as mayor of Springfield during an inauguration ceremony that put his well-known optimism and civic pride on full display and included the playing of a new marketing video that boasts Springfield as a “city on the rise.”

"I have every confidence that Springfield stands on the dawn of an unprecedented renaissance," declared Sarno in his 4th inaugural address.

WAMC

MGM  has secured approvals from Massachusetts casino industry regulators and the city of Springfield’s legislative body that allow it to demolish buildings and do other work to prepare the site where the company proposes to build a $950 million casino. After almost a year of delays, there could soon be significant construction work on the project.

WAMC

The highest court in Massachusetts has effectively cleared the way for construction of a wood-burning power plant in Springfield. Plant opponents see their last hope in the hands of a local health board.

The state Supreme Judicial Court this month declined to take up an appeal of two lower court decisions that directed the city to issue a building permit for the proposed $150 million biomass plant on Springfield’s eastside.  The project had been tied up in litigation for more than five years.

An artists rendering of the proposed MGM Casino in Springfield, MA
MGMSpringfield

This could be a pivotal week as officials in Springfield, Massachusetts determine how they will respond to the proposed downsizing of the casino planned by MGM Resorts.  The City Council is holding a special meeting this evening. City officials have invited top MGM officials to a meeting later in the week to explain the proposed changes.

construction workers in front of buidling
WAMC

MGM wants to shrink by 14 percent its proposed resort casino development in Springfield, Massachusetts. The proposal surprised and angered the city’s mayor, who has been one of the project’s biggest boosters.

An artists rendering of the proposed MGM Casino in Springfield, MA
MGMSpringfield

Proposed changes to the design of the resort casino MGM plans to build in downtown Springfield have sparked considerable discussion and debate over the last week.  The Springfield City Council tonight will consider giving voters a say this November.

The council, at a special meeting, will consider putting a non-binding question on the November 3 municipal election ballot that asks voters if they support MGM Springfield’s proposal to eliminate the high-rise glass façade hotel from the casino project.

WAMC

A last- ditch court fight will be waged by opponents of a proposed wood-burning power plant in western Massachusetts.

The  Springfield City Council, with the bare minimum of seven councilors present to be able to conduct business, voted unanimously at a special meeting Friday morning to appeal to the state’s highest court the decisions of lower courts that directed the city to issue a building permit to Palmer Renewable Energy.

An artists rendering of the proposed MGM Casino in Springfield, MA
MGMSpringfield

Officials from MGM Resorts Thursday sought to persuade at times skeptical Massachusetts casino industry regulators that proposed design changes to the company’s Springfield casino project would be an improvement and not a downsizing.

It is approaching crunch time for municipal budgets in Massachusetts where the fiscal year ends June 30th.  A new budget to run the state’s third-largest city is expected to be finalized later today.

The Springfield City Council has scheduled a special meeting Monday evening to vote on a budget for fiscal year 2016, which starts on July 1st.

WAMC

It is municipal budget season in Massachusetts. The mayor of Springfield  is proposing a budget that puts more cops on the streets and does not dip into the city’s cash reserves. 

Mayor Domenic Sarno, in a message that accompanied the release Thursday of a recommended budget totaling almost $600 million, praised the city’s finance team for producing a spending plan that prioritizes public safety, avoids layoffs, maintains core services and for the first time since 2008 does not touch the city’s cash reserves to balance the budget.

Triin Q's photostream Flickr

The city council in Springfield, Massachusetts is poised to approve a casino ethics ordinance, but the city’s mayor has been silent so far on the issue.

The Springfield City Council is expected to give final approval at its next regular meeting to an ordinance that would put restrictions on public officials obtaining jobs at the new MGM casino being built in the city.  Supporters say it is intended to foster public trust in the municipal decision making surrounding the casino project.

MGM Springfield

The Springfield, Massachusetts city council is considering an ordinance that would put restrictions on public officials obtaining jobs at the new MGM casino being built in the city.

Under a proposed municipal ethics ordinance, the city’s elected officials—the mayor and 11 city councilors – would be barred for at least five years from obtaining a job at the MGM casino after leaving the city’s employment.  Non-elected officials who are considered “major policymakers” would face a two-year ban.

WAMC

The mayor of Springfield, Massachusetts is proposing a city budget that he says leaves him in a good mood after years of belt tightening.  The president of the city council is promising a speedy, but thorough review of the spending plans. 

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno is recommending a $582 million budget for the new fiscal year that he says will maintain essential services, result in no layoffs of municipal workers, and fund public safety academies to fill vacancies in both the police and fire departments. 

" I'm in a good mood," said Sarno.

SPD

The mayor of Springfield, Massachusetts and the city council appear to be on a collision course over control of the police department. Councilors are looking into putting a civilian board in charge of the police, while the mayor wants the department run by a law enforcement professional.

The city council in Springfield Massachusetts will have three new ad hoc committees this year. A special committee created two years ago to advise the council on casino issues has been dissolved

Springfield City Council President Mike Fenton announced appointments to 15 standing committees and assigned councilors to chair three new special committees that will be tasked with identifying new revenue sources for the city, examining workforce development efforts, and attracting young professionals to live in Springfield.

When a new city council is seated in Springfield, Massachusetts this January a majority of its 13 members will be black or Hispanic.  It is the first time in Springfield history voters elected minorities to a majority of the seats on both the city council and school committee.  City councilor Michael Fenton said he has commitments from his colleagues to be elected council president in January.  At 26 , he would be the youngest council president in the city’s history. He spoke with WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill