Firefighters union backs Ruggiero, Olney, Hickey

Watertown City Hall, 245 Washington St. Kara Dry/Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — City officials recently learned they can use more than $8 million of the $22 million share of the American Rescue Plan to fund major renovations at City Hall and its public works facilities.

The city was told that the U.S. Treasury will be more flexible in the way its $22 million aid can be used. The funding can be used for “Governmental Services.”

The city can claim $8,322,913 in revenue losses in 2020 and put that amount toward city projects.

“One of the most flexible is government services, but you can only spend up to the extent that you had lost revenue,” City Manager Kenneth A. Mix said.

During a work session on Monday night, Mr. Mix suggested that City Council members look at completing major renovations at City Hall. The building will need a new roof; the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system has to be replaced; and the windows cause problems in the summer and in the winter, he said.

The city has been exploring whether to expand or relocate its public works facilities on Newell Street. The governmental services funding can pay for that, too, he said.

The federal government concluded that Watertown lost $8.3 million during the pandemic in 2020, a much higher number than city officials had anticipated, Mr. Mix said.

The city manager also mentioned the funding could help with the so-called financial cliff anticipated when a National Grid hydroelectric contract ends in 2029.

City Council members mentioned other potential uses of fixing sidewalks and making repairs to the Flynn pool at Watertown City School District’s North Elementary School.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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