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    New budget increases services

    The city will head into the new fiscal year July 1 with a $131.4 million budget that provides for a modest increase in services, according to City Manager Jay Ash. The budget, approved by the City Council earlier this month, is up 8.8 percent over the current year. More than half the increase is the result of projected state aid increases to support school spending. Other major contributors are negotiated pay raises for union employees, increases in employee health insurance premiums, and more spending on infrastructure and other capital projects. The budget provides funds for several new positions, including two new code enforcement staff members in the Inspectional Services Department, a senior public health director, a crime analyst in the Police Department, a junior city auditor, and two Department of Public Works laborers. The plan also includes money to support police and fire positions that are now funded through expiring federal grants. “The budget addresses numerous issues that are important to city councilors and residents of Chelsea, and it will make sure we remain both fiscally and programmatically strong,” Ash said in a prepared statement.