Challenges for Town Council Term: School Projects, Charter Review, Development

Local Girl Scouts lead the Pledge of Allegiance during the 2019 Watertown Inauguration at the Mosesian Center for the Arts on Thursday night. The newly inaugurated Town Council has several challenges coming down the road over the next two years, including school building projects, the Town Charter review and the development in town that just keeps going. Town Council President Mark Sideris discussed the issues that will face Watertown in the upcoming Town Council term at Thursday night’s Inauguration Ceremony at the Mosesian Center for the Arts. Town Clerk John Flynn administered the oath of office to Town Council President Mark Sideris; Town Councilors Anthony Donato, Tony Palomba, Caroline Bays, John Gannon, Angeline Kounelis, Lisa Feltner, Vincent Piccirilli and Kenneth Woodland; School Committee members Kendra Foley, Lindsay Mosca and David Stokes; and Library Trustees Sheppard Ferguson and Teddy Kokoros. Coming Challanges

Town Council President Mark Sideris spoke about the priorities for the upcoming Town Council term at Thursday’s inauguration.

Town Councilor Finished Encore, Served for More Than a Dozen Years

The Town Council recently honored Susan Falkoff after her last Council meeting. She served nearly 14 years. The Town Council bid farewell to a long-serving member, last week. Susan Falkoff leaves the Council after nearly 14 years of service, and the last stretch was a bonus. It was not that long ago that the Town Council was honoring Falkoff with a proclamation.

Council OKs Pay Raise for Town Manager, Gives Performance Evaluation

Watertown Town Manager Michael Driscoll. Watertown Town Manager Michael Driscoll will be getting a raise after the Town Council approved his pay hike following a recent job evaluation. Driscoll’s pay rises $9,500 to $205,000, and the increase is retroactive to the beginning of Fiscal Year 2019 (July 1, 2018). The increase is the first for the Town Manager since 2017. Salary Comparison

When determining the new salary, a review of other Watertown public employees was conducted, as well as the salaries of other communities with Town Managers, Sideris said.

Town Council Sets Budget Priorities for Fiscal 2021

A lot of money was raised and spent on the 2015 Watertown Election. The Town Council’s list of priorities for next year’s budget includes funding the school building projects, funding streets and sidewalks. Also, two new ones were added: funding a climate & energy master plan and hiring a consultant to help with the review of the Town Charter. The list of 15 priorities was approved by the Town Council at the Nov. 26 Council meeting.

See the Property Tax Rates Recommended to be Adopted by Town Council

Watertown Town Hall

Tuesday night, the Town Council will hear the annual Tax Classification hearing presentation from Town Assessor Earl Smith, which calls for increasing the break given to owner-occupied homes and condos in Watertown. According to the Assessor’s presentation the recommended tax rate for Fiscal Year 2020 will see bills go up between $169 and $281 for owner occupied properties which receive the residential exemption, and three-family homes would actually see their bills go down. Smith’s presentation includes a recommendation to increase the residential exemption, which is given to homes which are the primary residence of the owner. “The Board of Assessors recommends increasing the residential exemption to 24 percent for FY2020. The Board’s intention, at this time, is to further recommend an increase in FY2021 to 25 percent.

Newly Elected Councilors At-Large Talk About Their Priorities for the Next Term

Watertown Town Hall

The winners of the big race in the 2019 Watertown Election, the Council At-Large seats, can now look forward to what they would like to do over their next two years on the Council. The four winners, Anthony Donato, Tony Palomba, Caroline Bays and John Gannon, each talked about issues they would like to make a priority. Tony Palomba got the second most votes in the election, and returns for a sixth term on the Council. He said that his level of community engagement and his work to help those most in need appealed to voters. Palomba said he would like to “Continue to move the needle on creating affordable housing in Watertown.”

See How Candidates Did in Each of Watertown’s Precincts

A map of Watertown’s Districts: Peach is A, Red is B, Lime Green is C, Green is D.

The winning candidates in Watertown’s race for Town Councilor At-Large topped the voting in each precinct, but they split who won each of the town’s 12 precincts. See that and where other candidates fared best in the 2019 Town Election. Anthony Donato, who won got the highest vote total, with 2,657, won six precincts (Pcts. 1, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12). Tony Palomba, whose 2,556 was second highest, won in four precincts (Pcts.