BRAINTREE – Despite concerns about the city’s finances, city council this week unanimously approved a $ 7 million capital expenditure plan for water system repairs, road works and other expenses.
The money to pay for the plan will come from loans, reserve funds, income from self-funded departments, state aid, and grants.
The vote on the plan on Tuesday night follows Mayor Charles Kokoros’ announcement that he asked city departments to figure out what it would cost to maintain current services and then cut that amount by 10% in their recommendations. budget for the year starting July 1.
Nicole Taub, Kokoros’ chief of staff, said the package includes items that city departments see as “necessities”, and some are part of multi-year programs.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the city is considering a sharp drop in hotel tax, meal tax and excise tax revenues with an estimated shortfall of $ 10 million.
Kokoros said the city is starting the budget process on the conservative side.
“This year we have a very tough budget,” Kokoros said. “I hope we don’t have to go up to 10 percent (reduction.)”
District 5 City Councilor Meredith Boericke, who chairs the Ways and Means Committee, said council recommended the package before hearing about the budget situation.
She said capital spending was “the lowest in recent years” and about half of what was approved a year ago.
Edward Spellman, the city’s finance director, said borrowing to cover expenses would not affect the city’s budget until the 2022-2023 budget year. Since the city will have paid off some loans by then, this will add $ 41,000 to the city’s debt service payments.
The biggest part of the package is $ 3 million for repairs to the city’s water system.
“We have a lot of pipes that are really old,” said James Arsenault, director of public works.
The money for this work will come from the revenues of the water department.
Another $ 1.65 million will go to repair and repaving the city’s roads. This money will be supplemented by $ 1 million from the state.
The package also includes $ 150,000 for the Americans with Disabilities Act compliance work, $ 50,000 to expand the parking lot at the Seniors Center and $ 40,000 for HVAC and lighting upgrades at Thayer’s Public Library.
There was $ 66,000 set aside for the town’s game for a grant to purchase a new fire pump.
While some advisers have said they are open to postponing action on the plan, no motion has been made to do so.