OP-ED: Council Public Forum — 60 Seconds or Not?

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By Clyde Younger
Former Watertown Council President

On Tuesday, March 5, 2024 I attended the meeting of the Sub-Committee on Rules and Ordinances in support of a petition signed by over 200 residents. Those signing the petition were requesting consideration of adding One (1) additional minute on the two (2) Public Forums in order to allow a resident additional time, if required, to complete their plea. As an alumnus of the Watertown Council, I was dumbfounded to hear some of the discussion with one of the Councilors saying we give them four minutes when other communities give none.

We do not give the people time; they give us the opportunity to represent them. Every Councilor I served with understood this.

The Council Meetings on occasion were in disarray; often Prime Time Television Viewing. However, the Council accomplished much and set the stage for stability in the economic structure of the community. We fought the good fight against Harvard and was the first community to be granted a PILOT. (Payment in Liu of Taxes) We did not do it alone.

Our interest was in providing essential services to the community in terms of Education, Public Safety, Public Works, Health Services and general Administrative Services. Were we perfect, probably not but we got a hell of a lot of desirable amenities for the community as we possibly could.

Watertown is not a static place to live. The following table takes into some of the changes from calendar year 2012 through 2024.

Of interest is the decline in the population during the past two years. Given the changes over the years; the increase in the number of new employees gives further credence to the petitioners for an additional minute.

Time did not permit complete verification of all of the information presented; however, it reflects a few Fiscal Year Budgets and depicts a trend. If the administrative needs of the city has increased; likewise, or logically the needs of the people has increased. 


Fiscal Year Population / New Admin Positions (Non School & Public Safety)

2012 33,034
2013 33,225
2014 34,299
2015 34,380
2016 35,141
2017 35,747
2018 35,835 4
2019 35,935 3
2020 35,378 (35,331 Census)
2021 35,149
2022 35,022 5 & Two Part Time
2023 34,856
2024 34,690 14

One thought on “OP-ED: Council Public Forum — 60 Seconds or Not?

  1. Thank you, Mr.Younger, for your informed letter, illustrating once again the value of institutional memory on the part of so many Watertown citizen activists and watchdogs.

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