Watertown lawmakers review fire & police budgets

Watertown lawmakers review fire & police budgets
Published: May. 23, 2023 at 6:03 AM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Watertown’s city council held a budget session on Monday where it heard from officials in the fire and police departments.

Fire Chief Matt Timerman spoke to lawmakers about the department’s budget.

He’s requesting $95,000 for 12 complete sets of new firefighter gear. He says inflation is driving the price of the gear up.

The department is also looking for funds to purchase an inflatable rescue boat, replacing one that’s 20 years old.

There wasn’t much pushback from lawmakers on these budget items as they push towards their deadline.

“We do a lot of mixing and matching of gear, especially when we have new employees come on,” Timerman said. “We grab an old jacket from this person and a pair of pants from this person and doesn’t fit always, so we do a lot of trading within the department.”

In its capital budget, which gets paid over several years, Timerman is asking to replace one of its engines, which would cost $1.1 million.

The city also heard from city Police Chief Charles Donoghue. He says the department currently sits at 60 officers, 12 short of their 72 budgeted positions.

He was optimistic, though, that current recruitment efforts could fill those positions before the academy is set to begin in September.