Town’s Capital Budget Includes Nearly $300 Million for School Construction

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Watertown’s five-year capital improvement plan calls for $467.8 million in projects and equipment purchases, and the Town maintained the top bond rating — which recently paid off with several million in savings.

More than half the funds in the Fiscal Year 2022-26 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) will go toward the reconstruction of Watertown’s schools, said Town Manager Michael Driscoll when he presented the CIP to the Town Council on Tuesday night. The CIP went down $56.35 million from the FY 21-25 plan.

The reconstruction and renovation of Watertown’s three elementary schools will cost $89.5 million, and $200 million has been budgeted for the reconstruction of Watertown High School and related costs.

The CIP calls for borrowing $157.18 million for street and sidewalk repair projects.

The CIP includes $22.67 million for water and sewer improvements, Driscoll said.

“Interest-free loans and outright grants will allow the Town to perform necessary work with little or minimal impact to rate payers,” Driscoll said.

 he funding source for three projects that cost $6.4 million has not been identified: the renovation/reuse of the former Police Station, the renovation/reuse of the former North Branch Library, and the renovation of the Multi-Service Center.

See more information about the Fiscal Year 2022-26 Capital Improvement Plan by clicking here.

Bond Rating

The Town of Watertown once again received a AAA rating, the highest bond rating from Standard & Poor’s Rating Services for long-term general obligation bonds. It also received an SP-1+ short-term rating on Watertown’s existing bond anticipation notes.

The rating allowed the Town to save $7.2 million when borrowing to pay for the construction of the new Hosmer and Cunniff elementary schools, Driscoll said. The bond sale on Monday was for $59.36 million in 20-year general obligation bonds.

“Raymond James & Associates, Inc. was the winning bidder on the bonds with an average interest rate of 1.343 percent,” Driscoll said. “Additionally, a Net Premium of $7.215 million will be applied to the project costs and thereby lowering the Bond issue to $52.145 million.”

The bond ratings will continue to save the Town money when borrowing, Driscoll said.

“Maintaining the AAA Bond rating will be helpful in our continued efforts to provide the highest level of services to the citizens of Watertown while utilizing the taxpayers’ dollars as efficiently as possible,” he said.

The rating reflects S&P’s opinion of the Town’s:

  • Very strong economy
  • Strong management
  • Adequate budgetary performance
  • Very strong budgetary flexibility
  • Very strong liquidity
  • Very strong debt and contingent liability profile
  • Strong institutional framework 

4 thoughts on “Town’s Capital Budget Includes Nearly $300 Million for School Construction

    • No decision has been made on what to do with either the old Police Station or the North Branch Library. Looks like the Police Station will become town or school offices or both. Other suggestions have been to put the Hatch makerspace there. I haven’t heard any serious proposals for the North Branch Library

  1. The Hatch Maker space at the old police station sounds like it makes a lot of sense.
    It would also be nice to have a Watertown exchange/share space where people could bring there still usable items for others to pick up and use rather than throwing them out or bringing them to the recycling center.

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