Watertown lawmakers talk block grant, fire contract & zoning

Watertown city council meeting

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - The Watertown city council met Monday night with a number of things to talk about.

The council approved a grant agreement that will put federal money into the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.

The money comes from the CARES Act and will net the CDBG more than $500,000.

The agreement is with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.

While the council didn’t discuss specific plans for the funds, one part of the agreement is the recipient must use the funds to “prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.”

The council also approved the collective bargaining agreement between Watertown and its firefighters' union.

That agreement spans July 1, 2016 to June 30 of this year and paid 84 firefighters and retirees nearly $1.4 million split between them.

But the agreement doesn’t resolve the issue of minimum manning.

The union wants at least 15 firefighters on duty at all times, something city officials have said they can’t afford.

It’s an issue to be discussed later this month in contract talks between the city and the union.

City planning and community development director Michael Lumbis addressed the council about the proposed dentist office on the 1300 block of Washington Street.

Lumbis made the argument for rezoning the area from Residence B to a limited business district, which he says more closely meets the city’s comprehensive plan for that area.

The planning board will consider a rezoning to limited business at its meeting Tuesday.

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