Watertown lawmakers review water, sewer & hydro as budget talks continue

Watertown city budget talks
Published: May. 9, 2023 at 6:04 AM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Watertown city leaders continue their review of the proposed $54.5 million budget for 2023-2024 and talked about water, sewer, and hydroelectric departments among other things at Monday night’s council meeting.

Under hydro, city staff highlighted $150,000 earmarked to modernize the control system which regulates water usage at city dams.

The budget also includes a 10% increase in the water and sewer tax. City manager Ken Mix has said that’s because gradual increases were not made over the past several years.

City staff added that the cost for chemicals has gone up 33% in the last year.

The tax hike will likely cost residents about $50 dollars more per household a year.

Meanwhile, the council was split on using American Rescue Plan Act funds for one-time equipment purchases, like a new $200,000 dump truck.

For wastewater treatment, $530,000 is set aside for a new generator in the control building and $460,000 is marked for an overhaul of the female locker room.

Chief operator Angel French described the condition of the current locker room.

“Now I have a household shower in there that has been put up with a faucet from Ace Hardware that was built in 1980,” she said. “There’s no insulation in the wall. Before I had the engines downstairs, my water would freeze in that room. I had an electric heater in there.”

The next budget session is on Thursday. Talks will center around human resources and Civil Service along with the library, city planning, and busing.