Faced with rapidly rising payments to the State's wobbly pension system, City Manager Mary Corriveau tonight proposed a spending plan for the coming year with no tax increase, no water rate increase and a slight decrease in sewer rents. She cited concern over the pension mess with a cautious approach to handling the City's healthy fund balance.
The spending plan will be reviewed by City Council over the coming weeks with some smaller changes likely and an expected debate over how much fund balance to appropriate towards mitigating property taxes.
One highlight is a continued decrease in debt service which is a result of several years of less bonding for smaller projects. Debt service this year will be 8.8% of spending compared to 9.5% last year.
In other action this evening, Council agreed to move ahead with an audit of Parks and Recreation and is sending lists of things to be studied to a local firm. Billing and accounting issues have surfaced that Council felt needed an outside look and recommendations for correction.
Council also heard from the Watertown Urban Mission about critical needs facing the community and a request for a one time grant for their food pantry.