The Springfield City Council returned from its preliminary hiatus last Monday to a smattering of financial whatnot typical after such absences. It was the first full meeting since Council members Justin Hurst, an at-large councilor, Jesse Lederman, the body’s president appeared on last week’s mayoral ballot, challenging incumbent Domenic Sarno.
Over $21 million in bonding was before the Springfield City Council last Monday, weeks after Mayor Domenic Sarno successfully pushed his budget through. Nearly all of these were normal capital projects that do not belong in the budget anyway.
The budget process is always political. This is true whether the context is the hottest set of races Springfield has seen in a decade or not. Yet, on display at the City Council meeting last Monday was proof that chambers had become an area in the city’s political battlefield this cycle.
Although meetings have become much more fluid since going hybrid last year, the Springfield City Council’s outing hit a snag on Monday. The body trudged through a permit for the Student Prince to close Fort Street during summers.
The Springfield City Council faced a light agenda this past Monday. Once more the Council held off on final passage of a historic district for the former Isolation Hospital. The body continues to meditate on the owner’s litigation threat. That limited the meeting to uncontentious items. Among them was a revote on the firefighters’ labor contract due to a drafting error.
Another ward seat on the Springfield City Council shall be subject to a contes. Kareem Kibodya, who has been a policy and advocacy staffer with the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts, is set to challenge Ward 4 Councilor Malo Brown.
During an otherwise unremarkable meeting, the Springfield City Council paused final passage of a new historic district amid doubts and legal threats from the owner. At their April 10 meeting, councilors gave initial approval to historic protection for the former Isolation Hospital on State Street.
The Springfield City Council remains a sea of relative political calm even as the mayoral race begins to make waves. Fortuitously, Monday’s meeting included three challengers to Mayor Domenic Sarno—two incumbent councilors and a former councilor all of whom support a bill to make a local singer’s tune the state jazz song.
State money allocated to Springfield via Chapter 90 is nothing new to the City Council. Every year, the body formally accepts the disbursement. In recent years, city officials have paired it with bonding to maximize road repairs. The annual allocation has also been flat.
No incumbent in Springfield ward seats appears to be bailing and there have been few rumblings about challenges.
A noted exception is Ward 6, where rumors of a challenge to Councilor Victor Davila have circulated for months.