City selects stimulus-funded projects

Watertown City Hall. Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — City Council now has a specific list of about 18 capital high-priority budget projects totaling $7.825 million that will be paid for with American Rescue Plan funds.

On Monday night, council members agreed to readopt its 2021-22 to 2025-26 fiscal budgets to pay for the projects.

They include 11 water main projects, relining the east reservoir, maintaining the city’s tree canopy, replacing the coagulation basin generators and other public works improvements.

In August, council developed a plan to use the first half of its $22.2 million in American Rescue Plan funds, focusing on critical infrastructure spending.

Last month, the city recently received its first payment of about $11 million from the program.

They agreed on Monday night to set aside another $163,000 in the federal program funding for the Cooper Street Outfall Sewer Improvement project. That project already went out to bid.

Other projects could be added as well, City Manager Kenneth A. Mix said.

Plans call for getting engineering on board for the projects, designing them and putting them out to bid next spring, Mr. Mix said.

It’s a lot of work to get done before a 2026 deadline under the requirements of the federal program.

“We’ll spread them out over time,” Mr. Mix said.

But a $445,000 project for the Hospice of Jefferson County won’t be one of them.

In a 3-2 vote, council members officially took the project off the table and denied the funding for the project to help the hospice organization with an expansion at the Gotham Street facility.

Last month, the project was a topic of much debate.

While council members Lisa A. Ruggiero and Leonard G. Spaziani supported the funding, Mayor Jeffrey M. Smith was joined by council members Ryan Henry-Wilkinson and Sarah V. Compo Pierce to decide the federal funding should only be used for city projects, not for outside agencies.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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