Mayor Fuller presents $525 million FY2025 budget proposal

Mayor Ruthanne Fuller presented her Fiscal Year 2025 budget proposal to the Newton City Council Tuesday night, calling the plan “sustainable, strong, and hefty” as she held up a 538-page binder at the podium.

Fuller is requesting a total of $525.4 million for next fiscal year, which is a 5.1 percent—$25.7 million—increase over FY2024.

“The investments of this budget are a clear expression of our values in Newton,” Fuller said.

Here are some highlights of the budget proposal.


Fuller’s FY2025 budget gives $282.6 million to the schools, which is a 5.2 percent ($14 million) increase over FY2024. Added with

Combining that with money carried over in the school budget amounts to the $286.3 million Superintendent Anna Nolin requested for the schools,

The school budget increase uses money from a recently established NPS Stabilization Fund, which was used to help settle the recent teachers’ contract dispute.

“With the support of this City Council, we transformed $22 million of one-time funds into ongoing support to bolster operations for the Newton Public Schools over the next five years,” Fuller said.

About $4.1 million of that stabilization fund is included in the FY2025 budget proposal.

Newton’s schools will add dozens of new teachers and staff members this fall to add curriculum, help shrink class sizes and address student mental health services.

Fuller mentioned the teacher strike in Andover, which was settled in two days but resulted in that town laying off school staff to pay for its new contract.

“While we read last week of the pink slips going out to school personnel in Andover, in the wake of a new contract there, I’m proud that in contrast, Newton is hiring staff,” Fuller said.

Housing and infrastructure

The budget plan increases investments in road repairs and curb installations as well as ways to calm traffic and efforts to mitigate flooding and stormwater.

And the city is using grant money for the West Newton Armory, which will be renovated into affordable apartments, and Family Aid, which helps homeless Greater Boston families find housing.

And other grant money goes toward the former Walker Center property, which the city owns and which the City Council is working on turning into permanent affordable housing.

Newton City Council President Marc Laredo greets Mayor Ruthanne Fuller as she gets ready to present her 2025 budget proposal on April 16, 2024. Photo by Bryan McGonigle

Debt and capital improvements

Fuller’s FY2025 budget increases debt service by 5.1 percent, too, to pay for several capital improvement projects, which include three rebuilt elementary schools, a renovated Horace Mann School and the new Cooper Center for Active Living and the major improvements to Gath Pool and Albemarle Field.

Other one-time funds account for the design for a new state-of-the-art dispatch, training facility and parking lot at Newton Police Headquarters and a new fire truck coming to the Fire Department.

A pilot roadwork program on Washington Street is underway to ease traffic issues there. And Pettee Square in Upper Falls will be remodeled, “to make this village square safer and even more attractive for the restaurants, shops and small businesses,” Fuller added.

Moody’s recently announced that Newton would maintain its AAA bond rating this year, making the borrowing of money less costly for Newton than if the city had a lower bond rating.

Newton’s property taxes make up 83 percent of the city’s revenue base. And Proposition 2 ½ limits the citywide tax levy at a 2.5 percent increase each year, not including new growth. And with new growth, Fuller predicts the city will be able to raise its budget by more than 3 percent a year going forward.

“I am confident about our FY2025 budget and Newton’s financial future. At the same time, when I look ahead to the next year and the following five years, I’m keeping a close eye on a number of challenges,” Fuller said.

Those challenges include inflation, staffing shortages and climate change. What they likely won’t include, though, is replacing one-time funds.

Although one-time funds like those in the American Rescue Plan Act (federal COVID-19 relief) and the tax dispute settlement from Eversource won’t be available in the future, the city has carefully planned those funds for one-time use rather than for ongoing expenses like salaries.

Fuller’s entire address can be seen on YouTube.