Is Watertown Hoarding Money? City Leaders Weigh In

Is Watertown Hoarding Money? City Leaders Weigh In

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Watertown's comptroller, Jim Mills, says having extra cash in the general fund balance is necessary.

That's because he says the city relies on revenue from its hydroelectric plant and from sales tax - revenue streams that are unpredictable.

"Those are two revenue sources that we cannot control, so when they don't hit expectations, we need that working capitol to live off of to get to the next year," said Mills.

So the city keeps anywhere from 20 to 25 percent of it's budget in the fund balance.

Right now it sits at just over $11 million, with about $600,000 of that already allotted for a number of projects in the city, putting it right around 25 percent of the budget.

On Tuesday, Council Member Mark Walczyk tweeted that the city was hoarding that money.

Council members Lisa Ruggiero and Cody Horbacz stopped short of calling it hoarding, but agreed the city could be spending more of that money than it recently has.

"I don't believe that we should be tapping that fund for every single thing, because that money is there for a purpose, but the thing is, if it helps with certain expenses, then I think that we should be looking at that," said Ruggiero.

Horbacz suggests that keeping $8 million or $9 million in the fund balance would be more appropriate.

That'd be about 20 percent of the current budget.

Council Member Ryan Henry-Wilkinson is on the other side of the fence.

He says the city is smart to be cautious with its fund balance because it will need it down the road for the unknowns.

Ruggiero says The city needs to focus on making more money - like selling city owned property, using the Vanduzee Street property as an example.

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