Officials seek public input on budgets

Town officials last week began a monthlong series of hearings to set the next fiscal year’s budget, and are encouraging residents to attend the meetings and express their opinions. Town Manager Michael Driscoll’s proposed general budget is set at $107 million, plus $15 million for water and sewer operations, which are handled separately. Driscoll’s report on his spending plan for the year starting July 1 anticipates Watertown will collect $80.5 million in residential and commercial property taxes, and receive about $10.5 million in state aid. The remaining $16 million in anticipated revenue to balance the budget would come from vehicle and other excise taxes, various municipal fees, program reimbursements, and transfers from other town accounts. Town Council members will hold hearings on individual departments before they convene a final cumulative session slated for June 11, when they would vote on the final budget figure. A detailed schedule of individual budget hearings is available on the town’s website, www.ci.watertown.ma.us.