Fiscal Year 2018 Recommended Budget

Beginning July 1, 2017 and ending June 30, 2018


City Services

City Services such as Police, Fire, Public Works, Housing and Public Health are projected to increase by a total of $54 million (4.0%), including funding reserved for collective bargaining.

Public safety costs are rising by 3.5% in FY18, primarily driven by the shift of 75 firefighters from a SAFER grant onto the City’s operating budget, contractual increases from collective bargaining agreements, and acceleration of the upcoming Police recruit class.

Other City departments

Public Works, Transportation, Housing, Public Health Commission and 38 other departments are increasing by an average of 1.5% due to basic city services contract escalation and targeted investments. Twenty-three of these departments will see a reduction in their appropriation in FY18.

Because almost all of the City’s union collective bargaining agreements are under negotiation, most departments’ budgets do not include cost of living salary increases for employees. Instead, that funding is centralized in a $27 million collective bargaining reserve.
In addition, city health insurance costs are projected to increase by $10.6 million (4.9%), even after achieving health care cost containment savings.

To make targeted investments further detailed below, the City is pursuing smart savings initiatives in the FY18 Budget:


Reforms and savings

  • The FY18 budget continues the public safety and streets overtime reforms launched last year and adds the Parks Department, achieving $13.2 million in cost avoidance.
  • The City eliminated 23 long-term vacant positions in FY18; cumulatively, we estimate the City will see $5.3 million in costs avoided from inactivating long term vacants over two years.
  • Based on health care cost containment reforms achieved in the 2015 PEC agreement, Boston will achieve $10 million in savings in FY18, $2.6 million of which are related to FY18 specific changes.
  • Since 2014, the City has performed 18,551 streetlight LED retrofits. The FY18 Budget reflects an avoidance of 33.6 mWh, or $5.8 million in energy costs, directly attributable to this work.
  • Thanks to Boston's investment in 20 EMTs in FY17, this year’s budget achieves a 10% reduction in EMS overtime and 8% increase in third party billing revenue. These changes will generate a $4.1 million in net savings for the City in FY18.
  • Finally, City Departments and the Public Health Commission include a combined $4 million in other budget tightening measures in FY18.

With the City’s efforts to contain costs combined with Boston Public Schools’ Transportation and Central Office savings, the FY18 budget avoids $60 million in costs.