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Council quietly adopts 2012-13 budget

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With all of the hubbub of hiring a new city manager, the Watertown City Council quietly adopted a $53.8 million 2012-13 budget during a special meeting held on Saturday.

Residents will see an increase in trash disposal fees with the new budget, which council members approved without comment.

It carries a 1 percent increase in the real property tax levy, to $7,373,240, after council members agreed last week to cut it from a proposed 2 percent. The final tax levy increase ends up being $73,002, according to a resolution approved Saturday.

However, the budget also includes a property tax rate of $7.211 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, or a 0.10 percent decrease from the 2011-12 budget.

After the meeting, Mayor Jeffrey E. Graham said money from projected sales tax revenues or the fund balance will be used to get to the 1 percent increase in the levy, depending on what happens during the year.

“We think they can accomplish this without raising more from taxes,” he said, adding that he did not have additional information about it.

City Comptroller James E. Mills could not be reached for further comment on that matter.

The only other changes made Saturday were to the capital projects portion of the budget.

They included adding $50,000 to pay for work on the fountains in front the Flower Memorial Library and cutting $30,000 that would have been used to design improvements for the railroad bridge to Sewall’s Island. The city hopes to someday use the bridge to connect the island with hiking trails.

Restoration work on the 106-year-old fountains, a longtime goal for council members, will be completed later this year.

The water and sewer rates remain the same, while the library fund would decrease 1.7 percent.

The budget also includes 50 cent to $1 increases for three sizes of refuse tote bins. The 32-gallon tote would go up from $3 to $3.50 a week, the 64-gallon would increase from $4.50 to $5.25 and the 92-gallon would jump from $6 to $7. The cost for a refuse sticker will go up to $3.

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