Published in the March 28, 2017 edition
By MARK SARDELLA
WAKEFIELD — DPW Director Richard Stinson was at last night’s Board of Selectmen meeting to present the $5,785,419 tax-supported Public Works Department budget for FY 2018, including $750,000 for Snow and Ice removal. He also presented the self-supporting Water and Sewer enterprise department budgets.
Stinson explained that the budget included amounts related to the DPW’s assuming increased responsibilities for the Americal Civic Center as a result of the town taking over management of the building from the nonprofit Americal Civic Center Association as well as a $7,000 line item for larvicide related to the Board of Health.
Without those new costs, Stinson said, the FY 2018 budget request was up $160,931 (3.37 percent) over FY 2017. With those additional expenses, the budget increase is $264,109 (5.53 percent).
“As of March 1, 2017, the DPW has assumed the responsibilities of the Americal Civic Center,” Stinson said. “These duties include infrastructure maintenance, custodial services and facility monitoring. It is important to note that the facility needs a great deal of improvement to the core infrastructure over the coming years to make sure it is safe and usable by the tenants, renters and others.”
The additional staffing for the Americal Civic Center for FY 2018 was budgeted at $63,446.
Stinson also broke down increases in other line items related to the DPW’s additional responsibilities for the Civic Center, including materials and supplies and purchase of services.
The total amount that was budgeted for the Civic Center was $204,178, but Stinson said that that figure would be offset by anticipated revenue from rents and other use of the building of at least $108,000.
Stinson also pointed out that the DPW is opening up new sections of the Forest Glade Cemetery and the budget provides for an increase of 104 overtime hours for that purpose at a cost of $4,339.
Stinson said that ideally his request for next year’s Snow and Ice budget would be $1,257,186, but the actual amount allocated in the budget is $750,000 – the same amount as last year.
Moving on to the Water and Sewer enterprise departments, Stinson said that the FY 2018 request for the Sewer Department is $7,896,845. Including an increase of $285,845 from the MWRA, the Sewer budget increase is 3.75 percent. Without the MWRA increase, it would be an increase of $13,491 (0.18 percent). Stinson noted that the total MWRA sewer assessment to the town is $6,122,307, representing 77.5 percent of the sewer budget.
The Water Department requested budget was $4,934,732. With the MWRA increase of $429,239 it comes to a 9.5 percent increase over last year, Stinson said. Without the MWRA, the increase would be $106,605 (2.4 percent).
Stinson also reviewed the Public Works-related articles on the May 1 Annual Town Meeting warrant.
One article will request $1,699,705 from the tax levy for Refuse and Recycling with an additional $112,190 coming from free cash.
The federally mandated National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System is the subject of another warrant article at a cost of $100,000.
Another article will request $200,000 to supplement Chapter 90 state funds for roadway improvements.
A total of $50,000 will be requested for new sidewalks.
Another article will request $855,000 for repairs and improvements to the drainage system on New Salem Street, including repairing a culvert.
An article will seek $100,000 for sewer flow gauge meters at three locations around town.
Another request is for $1,017,000 for remediation of inflow/infiltration in the sewer system.
Upgrading two of the town’s sewer pumping stations at a cost of $971,160 is the subject of another warrant article.
A total of $165,000 will be requested in another Town Meeting article for Water Mains.
Another article will seek $160,000 for the Water Treatment Plant at Crystal Lake.
Another public works related article will request $75,000 for continuing maintenance on the Harts Hill water pressure tank.
Finally, Stinson said that there will be a warrant article for a $200,000 Snow and Ice Overdraft to cover this past winter’s over-budget costs. He said that the town has so far received 59.25 inches of snow this season. DPW crews have gone out 24 times, nine of which involved plowing.
The Board of Selectmen approved the DPW budget request and articles. The budget will also go to the Finance Committee before going before the voters at Town Meeting in May.