Recommended Charter Change Would Allow Council to Hire Staff, Committee Looks at Requiring Open Forums for Councilors

Charlie BreitroseWatertown’s Town Hall. The Town Council should be able to hire its own staff or consultants without having to ask the Town Administration for funding, the Charter Review Committee decided Tuesday night. Also, Tuesday, the Committee recommended changing the Charter, which spells out how the Town’s government operates, to add more details about how the Town Council sets policies. Hiring Staff

The members of the Charter Review Committee agreed that the Council should be able to hire assistants, but they disagreed on the best way to specify it in the Charter, and how much detail should be included. One of the proposals presented by Michael Ward, the consultant from the Collins Center, was to specify hiring an analyst, with a second recommendation which would enable the Council, by passing an ordinance, to hire more staff that it deems necessary.

Council Backs Bike/Pedestrian Path Extension On Arsenal St., Keeps Open Off-Road Option

After looking at three options, one was eliminated, and two were moved forward with one chosen as the recommended route. The recommended route would be to continue the path along Arsenal Street, which currently goes along the north side of the street from School Street to Irving Street. It would continue west to Taylor Street and then go along Taylor, cross Mt. Auburn Street and then go along Baptist Walk, through the municipal parking lots in Watertown Square to link with the path near the Watertown Library. The cost estimate for the project is $1.3 million, according to VHB, the project designer.

Town Council Will Hear About Department Budgets at 4 Budget Hearings

Watertown Town Hall

The Town Council will hear about the budget for each municipal department as well as the Watertown Public Schools during the Fiscal Year 2022 budget hearings, which begin May 17. Four budget meetings are planned, and the Council will hold a public hearing and vote on the FY22 budget on June 8. Unlike most years, the department heads will not be presenting PowerPoint slideshows about their department in 2021, said Council President Mark Sideris. The Department heads will be available during the hearings to answer the Council’s questions. The Town of Watertown provided the following information:

The Fiscal Year 2022 General Fund Budget, as proposed, totals $164,430,000.