WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — The City of Watertown has released a draft of its fiscal year 2022-2023 budget.

This 400-page budget details City spending starting on July 1, 2022, as well as addresses the status of the City.

According to Watertown City Manager Kenneth A. Mix, the City is “currently in a very good financial situation.”

“This is occurring after many years of tight budgets and the fear that COVID-19 would wreck the economy,” Mix said in the proposed budget. “Sales tax has rebounded beyond previous levels after taking an initial dip due to COVID. Revenue from the sale of hydropower has also come in above expectations. We expect that the current fiscal year will end with a substantial surplus.”

The Proposed Budget for the upcoming fiscal year, Mix said, “continues what was started with the current budget” by funding many facilities and utility improvement projects.

There are currently 34 projects underway in Watertown, with an estimated cost of $26.1 million. The FY 2022-2023 budget proposes adding 68 projects that will cost $23.6 million.

Capital budget facility improvements include administration office construction and transit facility relocation projects for Citibus, Facility Improvement Designs on Newell Street, creation of a new Public Works Salt Storage Facility, improvements at the fire station, renovation of City Hall and additional recreational projects.

The proposed budget also adds 24 new positions. These positions are listed below by department:

  • Real Property Tax Services Aide, Assessment
  • Deputy Comptroller, City Comptroller
  • Secretary, Code Enforcement
  • Civil Engineer I, Engineering
  • Civil Engineer II, Engineering
  • Five Firefighters, Fire
  • Full-time Clerk, Library
  • Facility Maintenance Worker, Municipal Building
  • Program Manager, Parks and Recreation
  • One Planner, Planning and Community Development
  • 3 Officers, Police
  • Detective, Police
  • Sergeant, Police
  • Five Motor Equipment Operators Light, Public Works
  • Maintenance Mechanic, Water

The only borrowing proposed in the upcoming budget in the General Fund is to refurbish two City of Watertown Fire Trucks.

Watertown will also allocate the remaining $10,889,196 American Rescue Plan Act funding in the upcoming year. Officials said that decisions must be made on how the money will be spent in the budget to begin planning the project before deadlines. However, much of the remaining funds have been proposed for recreational projects like Thompson Park Renovation, Zoo New York, Black River Parks and Trails and Sidewalk Reconstructions.

To address the proposed budget, Watertown City Council will host a series of Budget Work Sessions. These will be held on the following dates starting at 6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers:

  • Tuesday, May 3, 2022
  • Wednesday, May 4, 2022
  • Tuesday, May 17, 2022
  • Friday, May 20, 2022
  • Monday, May 23, 2022
  • Tuesday, May 24, 2022.

The full FY 2022-2023 budget can be read below: