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Watertown City Council considers parking kiosks, single-stream recycling

Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 4:17 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Keeping a closer eye on parking in downtown and throwing all of your recyclables into one container - those are just two highlights in Watertown’s proposed budget.

Under Watertown’s 2021-2022 budget proposal, a parking enforcement officer could be back after a one-year hiatus.

“It’s one of the positions that was cut last year because of the financial situation we were in with COVID-19,” said City Manager Ken Mix.

On Saturday, city council brought up the idea of parking kiosks, meaning you may have to pay a price to park on the city streets.

Council Member Ryan Henry-Wilkinson says it could allow for local businesses to see more foot traffic.

“A certain amount of parking control is a part of a healthy downtown. You don’t want people hogging those spaces, you want turnover, to get more customers into the businesses,” he said.

Mix will look into it, but it won’t happen right away.

The city is also considering single-stream recycling, something Mayor Jeff Smith has been promoting for a while now.

“There are a lot of people that are paying much more than the city would charge because they like the efficiency and ease of having single stream, and not having four or five containers to put their recyclables in,” he said.

Single-stream recycling means residents will no longer have to separate their recyclables before putting them out for pick-up.

The budget includes funds to build a transfer site center to handle the single-stream recycling program. It’s a price tag of $700,000.

Add on the equipment needed to make it happen, it’s another $585,000.

A majority vote of 3 to 2 is needed to approve the project, but when it comes to borrowing the totaled $1.3 million, which is the likely solution, a super-majority, or 4 to 5 vote is needed.

Right now, Council Member Lisa Ruggiero is unsure. She wants numbers on how the city will profit. Council Member Leonard Spaziani is against it for the same reason.

“If we don’t have enough information by then, I would probably vote against it because I want to know, is this a good deal for the city to get into,” said Ruggiero.

Watertown also got guidance on how it can and can not use the $23 million it got through the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds.

City council will continue its budget talks Monday night at city hall.

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