Council members and the community are getting their first look at the 2012 - 2013 proposed city budget in Watertown. The spending plan shows some line items increasing that haven't changed in more than a decade. Our Amanda Kelley takes a look at the numbers and tells us what's in store for taxpayers.
WATERTOWN, N.Y. -- $53.7 million is what the City of Watertown proposes to budget for the upcoming year. It comes with little surprises for city leadership and some increases for taxpayers.
Watertown City Manager Mary Corriveau said, "We have put in front of the city council for consideration a plan that takes in the five year structural imbalance that we've had in the general fund."
Property owners in the city may see a two percent increase in the property tax levy. That would cost the average homeowner about twelve dollars more per year.
Council member Teresa Macaluso said, "Hopefully once we go through the budget, we'll be able to maybe knock it down. If we're not able to, we'll try to minimize it as much as we can."
For the first time since 1999, city residents may also see the price of trash refuge increase by 50 cents per bag.
Council member Jeff Smith said, "It has been a long time since costs have gone up with refuge and that is something that probably should be an incremental change. It's been over a decade."
The city's biggest budget problem still remains with the retirement system funding, but council members say they can't do much on the municipal level. The state is, however, providing a major opportunity to Watertown and other cities through what is being called 'Spin-Up Legislation.'
Corriveau said, "For the city of Watertown, it means $3.1 million in additional state aid that we can ask for to fill a budget gap."
Council members will be taking a close look at this piece of the budget and will most likely request the funds to fix up city property that's in need of improvements.
Priority projects this year could include the reconstruction of Clinton Street and several parks and rec department improvements. All items that Corriveau says have the taxpayers’ best interests in mind.
Corriveau said, "It is a budget that addresses the values and priorities of the city and its residents."
This is the final budget prepared by City Manager Mary Corriveau. She worked her final day at city hall Tuesday after her contract was not renewed by council members in January.