Town Council Discussing Budget at Series of Upcoming Meetings

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Watertown City Hall

Watertown Town Hall

The Town Council will hold three meetings over a the space of a week and will be voting on the Fiscal Year 2021 budget by the end of June.

In a normal year, the Council would hold several meetings to hear from each Town department about the details of their budget. With the budget process delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the process will be shortened.

Town Manager Michael Driscoll presented the budget to the Council on June 8, several weeks after it was originally scheduled to be submitted. The Town is projected to lose $4 million in revenues due to the economic impact of the Coronavirus (mostly from State Aid and local meals and hotel taxes). However, Driscoll announced there would be no layoffs on the Town or School side.

This week, Town Council President Mark Sideris announced that the Council will host a series of meetings to discuss the budget, from June 23 to June 29. The public will be able to give input during a pair of the meetings.

Sideris also asked for a summary to be prepared comparing the FY2021 budget and FY2020 (the current budget year), “because as we are aware it is a much different time and typically we have a Saturday session and three or four other sessions. We not have the opportunity to do that. We will have one night on June 24 ask questions.”

Meeting Schedule:

  • On Tuesday, June 23, the Town Manager will present to more detailed budget figures to the Town Council. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m.
  • On Wednesday, June 24 at 6 p.m., the Council and the public will have the opportunity to ask questions about the Fiscal Year 2021 budget.
  • On Monday, June 29 a special Town Council meeting will be held for a public hearing and vote on the FY2021 budget. The meeting begins at 6 p.m.

5 thoughts on “Town Council Discussing Budget at Series of Upcoming Meetings

    • I don’t think so, but that has not been announced. During last couple Council meetings a few of the Councilors sat in the same room at the Library, separated, but there was no audience and other Councilors joined on Zoom.

  1. It has been suggested numerous times that all of these important topics should have a Public Forum in person now that they are lifting and re opening many things in communities. Many citizens do not have cable, zoom, phone numbers and directions still have not been given out on how to unmute on phone. Many meetings in other groups have been postponed. Either put off until Town Hall opens, or safely allow it to be held outdoors 6 feet apart with face mask or indoors safely there are options and suggestions from Watertown citizens that are not being heard, addressed or respected. It can be held in any of the open field space and people can bring their own chairs. As I presented in June 2,2020 online newsman Charlie Breitrose paper regarding school concerns. The Superintendent’s 4 year contract and 2% increase being put through during a time of uncertainty, economically, people struggling because of the Covid-19 pandemic. They voted a 4 year contract and Superintendent Galdston stated she would not take the 2% raise due to the pandemic, I was the one to point that out in an
    e-mail to all Town and School Committee Chairs before these meetings. Let’s be transparent and have honest communication. It is unfair to continue to manipulate by making it look like it was Superintendent’s kind gesture to forfeit her 2% increase and make it sound like it is in the best interest for our community, students, parents, guardians and staff. As we know that is in the contract that anytime during the year a pay increase can happen as long as it is done by the end of June. Why not give a one year contract and see where we are at with this pandemic. Companies as well as most people are leaning toward caution until we see where we are heading. We do not even know if schools can re open fully or at all in the fall. This pandemic is being predicted to be bad in the fall and during flu season. We are the citizens of Watertown that you are suppose to serve as Town Manager, Town Auditor, Town Council, School Committee, and school Administrators. Slow down and listen to the citizens. The High School is in the worst condition and it is the last on the list of schools to be built. So many mistakes have been made with not many options on sites to build. We have waited to long and now have to deal with 3 new buildings to build. The public has a right to know what has been spent broken up into individual buildings, what cost has been put into all projects for each building for facelifts painting, removal of asbestos, disposal, how much contractors are being paid to put rugs in W.H.S. Guidance office, asbestos removal, leasing of St. Jude’s and 309 Main Street as The Maintenance new Site that maintenance will lease until pre-school is completed. Maintenance was at Phillips now that the pre-schoolers will be housed at Phillips that also will have to be updated for safety for pre-schoolers. All of this should be made public as The Freedom Of Information Act. Many have been requesting this for many months at one point I was asked to pay thousands of dollars for this information. My guess is after the record keeper /Special Education Director who requested me to pay that ridiculous amount she was told she could not. I was requested to pay $25.00 which I did my check was cashed a few days after I wrote it and we still have not received all the information requested. Also, I left a message to Town Chair Council Sideris to call me on a day I could talk he did and I already spoke to another School Committee person he screamed and yelled at me and hung up the phone. I find this to be very unprofessional considering he is the Chair of Town Council to represent all of the citizens in our community. Again I am stating it is The Freedom of Information Act.
    Mary Russo

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