SPRINGFIELD—In the waning weeks of the preliminary campaign here, candidates for the five at-large City Council seats face a big challenge: standing out. Two Council retirements and a competitive mayoral race has yielded a historic 20 candidates for the September 12 at-large preliminary.
On June 20, for the first time since the shroud of the coronavirus fell upon Springfield, city councilors confronted Mayor Domenic Sarno, faccie e faccie, in chambers as he presented his budget for new fiscal year.
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 mayoral race in Springfield will not be the only one with a preliminary in 2023. Earlier this month, the city Election Commission certified incumbent at-large Councilor Sean Curran and 2021 runner-up Juan Caraballo for the ballot. They were the 12th and 11th candidates to turn in enough signatures for the at-large race. On September 12, voters will whittle the list down to 10 candidates for the November 7 general election.
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.
Despite the big figures involved, the Springfield City Council scampered through its regular February meeting uneventfully. But with looming costs for current and future retirees, the meeting was a sobering reminder of Springfield’s future fiscal challenges.
SPRINGFIELD—A new calendar year also means a new municipal year here. The only formal order of business in the new year was the installation of the Council President. At-large Councilor Jesse Lederman had already secured the votes for a full term as President in 2023. Yet, this is no ordinary municipal year.
In its last meeting of 2022, the Springfield City Council tackled a tight, straightforward agenda with few fireworks. The items were almost all financial, save an ordinance to raise the pay of councilors, school committee members and the mayor.
On Monday, the Springfield City Council authorized participation in Community Choice Energy Aggregation (CCA), a state program that lets communities choose their source of electricity.
Authorization triggers a process that will take time to complete. The Council took other actions that, once their processes reach completion, will have more immediate effect.