No Increase in Water/Sewer Rates Recommended, Expenses Expected to Fall

Watertown residents and water customers are expected to get a break from increasing water and sewer rates in Fiscal Year 2018, while the expenses are actually expected to be lower than the previous year. Chris Woodcock, the town’s consultant for the Water and Sewer enterprise funds, told the Town Council Tuesday night that he recommends that water rates be kept the same as the current year. “I come to you with not terrible news tonight,” Woodcock said. “I estimate revenues in each case (water and sewer) to exceed expenses so you don’t need to have rate increases, but I don’t recommend you reduce rates.” Woodcock recommends revenues in the Water Enterprise Fund to be more than $322,000 than expenses, and Sewer Enterprise Fund revenues to be more than $135,000 above expenses.

Schools Need $1.75 Million to Maintain Programs, Special Ed Costs Rising

The Watertown Schools will need $1.75 million more next year to maintain the current staffing and programs, according to school officials, and special education costs are expected to grow in FY 2018 and beyond. The total FY18 Level Service Budget is $45,332,330 representing a 4 percent increase over FY17 (the current school year), or $1,755,330 more, said Mary C. DeLai, interim Director of Business Services. The amount includes cost of living adjustments and step increases provided in union contracts. In October, Town Manager Michael Driscoll included a 5 percent increase for the schools in his preliminary FY18 Town Budget. One area that DeLai anticipates where costs will increase is special education.