AMESBURY  -- The City Council approved Mayor Ken Gray's $65.7 million operating budget by an 8-1 vote Tuesday night.

Councilors Matt Einson, Pam Gilday, Nick Wheeler, Joe McMilleon, Mary Louise Bartley, Donna McClure, Rick Marggraf and Mark Roccograndi all voted to approve the city budget, while Steve Stanganelli cast the dissenting vote.

Fiscal Year 2020 begins on Monday, July 1, and Gray's new operating budget keeps city services at their current level.

A $32.6 million school budget makes up over half of the city's operating number.

Although it represents a 2.93 percent increase in spending over last year's number and adds full-day kindergarten, the school budget still eliminates more than 25 employees, including a dozen paraprofessionals.

The school budget represented the most contentious line item, with roughly 20 residents in attendance Tuesday night to express their dissatisfaction with the plan to eliminate positions.

But the school budget was ultimately passed 8-1 with Stanganelli also voting against it.

The Police and Fire Departments make up the city budget's second-largest expense at $7.7 million, with the Public Works Department coming in as the third-largest amount, at $2.8 million.

More coverage will appear in Thursday’s Daily News.

Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.