Watertown’s new mayor, 2 council members take oath of office

wwny Watertown’s new mayor, 2 council members take oath of office

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Watertown officially has a new mayor.

Jeff Smith was sworn in New Year's Day, taking over the job from Joe Butler Jr.

Smith announced a committee has been formed to look into the soon-expiring hydroelectric contract. That committee includes Butler. The city’s contract to sell hydroelectric power to National Grid will expire in 2030.

Smith also said he’s ready to address the issue of a state-mandated courtroom.

The state says Watertown must build a second courtroom, but city lawmakers have questioned its need.

Last month, lawmakers decided not to vote on finalizing the design for the second city courtroom, which is expected to cost more than $3 million.

“I have a meeting with Judge Murphy this Monday. Hopefully it’s a nice, cordial meeting and I look to move forward without incurring any additional costs to the city,” said Smith, who was referring to 5th Judicial District Administrative Judge James Murphy.

City council members Sarah Compo and Jesse Roshia were also sworn in.

Compo was elected to the position she was appointed to last January and Roshia is a newcomer to the council. It was announced that Compo will also serve on the hydroelectric committee.

"I'm really looking forward to new ways to promote our city more, to increase and improve communication with residents so they know that our doors are always open and we're always willing to listen to their ideas," said Compo.

Roshia said one of his top priorities is to examine decisions involving the Thompson Park pool. The controversial project is costing $3.1 million.

"Obviously, we're going to have to take a hard look at that. We know that we can't support three pools, so the possibility of shutting a pool down, looking at what pool is that going to be, we're not going to do that on a whim, we want to have real data, real facts," said Roshia.

As he left office, Butler hailed all three newly sworn-in officials, saying the city is in good hands.

The three will join Lisa Ruggiero and Ryan Henry Wilkinson on city council. Ruggiero and Wilkinson attended the swearing-in ceremony.

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