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.

Town Charter Changes Proposed to Allow Council to Hire Staff, Hold a State of the Town Meeting Annually

Watertown Town Hall

Allowing the Town Council to hire staff to help them with their work, adding language to spell out the Council’s power, and requiring annual State of the Town meetings are some of the changes being considered by the Watertown Charter Review Committee. The Committee began looking at ways to alter the current Town Charter Tuesday, at the first meeting following their vote to keep the current form of government with a Town Council and the Town Manager serving as the executive rather than changing to one with a mayor as the executive. Assistants for the Council

The Committee’s consultant, Michael Ward from UMass Boston’s Collins Center, brought up some possible changes to address concerns raised at previous meetings. One issue raised was the Council’s ability to do its work, and having enough capacity to handle the duties of the Council. One way Ward suggested to address that issue was adding a piece to the Legislative section of the charter which would allow the Town Council to hire staff to help them with areas such as research into municipal issues, financial analysis or other areas.