Watertown’s Fiscal Year 2023 budget increased by $4.325 million when the City Council approved the budget amendment on Nov. 9. Most of the additional funds will go to help purchase the former Parker School or will go into the High School project stabilization fund.
City Manager George Proakis gave the details of the budget amendment for the fiscal year that ends on June 30, 2023.
The additional fund mostly come from accounts that came in higher than when the budget was approved last spring, Proakis said. The sources of the funds includes: $2.35 million in additional real estate and personal property taxes, $192,746 in additional State Aid, $150,000 in additional from hotel excise tax, and $400,000 in additional investment income.
In addition, the remaining $1.23 million left in the O’Neill Fund was put into the City budget. This money was given to the Watertown by the developers of the former U.S. Army Arsenal facility.
The money will be spent in several areas, Proakis said. The City will put $2 million into the acquisition of land fund to help purchase the former Parker School building to be used as City offices. In addition, $85,000 will go into Municipal Building Use study to figure out how best to utilize the Parker School.
Another $2 million will go into the stabilization fund for the construction of the new Watertown High School. Proakis said the money was put in that fund “with the hope that it will reduce the need to address any potential cost overruns and reduce total borrowing.”
The organics and compost fund will get another $75,000 to clear the waiting list for Watertown residents who want to participate in curbside pickup of compostable materials, and also provide a buffer so there does not have to be a waiting list in the future.
The budget will include and additional $90,000 so the City can conduct a health and human services study.
An additional $45,419 will go into the school choice fund, and the amount spent on charter schools was down $30.
The remaining $29,611 will go into the City Council reserve.
I am very happy to hear about the additional funding for the compost program.We are original members and have been very satisfied with the program to date. Black Rock Composting has been a very good company to deal with and we have found that the amount of trash we put out each week has decreased since we began participating in the composting program.
I don’t see any explicit increased funding for the Health Department. At the recent rodent control meeting, the head of the department expressed a dire need to have additional staff and means to put a rodent control plan in place. I hope this budget has accommodated this need. More people are complaining of rats around their homes and with more construction planned in the near future, more of these vermin will be unearthed and will be moving to new sites. Hopefully, their new homes won’t be in our yards and homes.
Are there any plans to roll out the composting program to buildings with more than 4 units?