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Watertown City Council members studying proposed budget

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WATERTOWN — City Council members planned to spend some time this weekend perusing City Manager Sharon A. Addison’s proposed budget before beginning to talk about it at a Monday night work session.

Ms. Addison plans to give an introduction to her financial plan to the City Council to get early comments on her proposals and recommendations, she said.

She declined to comment more Friday, saying council members weren’t going to receive copies of the budget until later in the day.

It will be the first budget process that Councilman Stephen A. Jennings will go through since being elected in November, so he’s anxious to see what’s in it.

“We’ve been hearing it’s going to be a tough budget,” he said. “The day has come.”

Before putting together the proposed budget, Ms. Addison instructed her staff to make 10 percent across-the-board cuts in the city police, fire, public works and parks departments, and for the Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library. The other department heads were told to find 2 percent budget cuts.

With a possible budget gap of $1.2 million at the end of this fiscal year, city officials have voiced concerns about the downward trend of sales tax revenues and how they would affect next year’s budget.

Mayor Jeffrey E. Graham said he expects council members to do some belt-tightening before having to adopt the budget in May. The city probably again will end up using some of the city’s fund balance to keep taxes down.

The spending plan will be released to the public Monday morning. On Monday night, the council may decide to schedule budget work sessions and a public hearing.

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