WAKEFIELD — The Town Council last night gave its approval to the Department of Public Works requested $6,657,369 FY 2023 operating budget as well as the $6,182,001 Water Department budget and the $9,130,721 Sewer Division budget.

Also approved by the Town Council were the Snow & Ice budget at a level-funded $850,000 and the Refuse/Recycling/Yard Waste removal warrant article at $2,292,046.

In addition to the warrant article for refuse and recycling, the DPW will also request through the Town Meeting warrant a $5 million-bond to design and construct a new water tank at Harts Hill to replace the nearly 100-year-old tank now on the site. An article requesting $900,000 for town-wide drainage improvements as well as an article requesting up to $2 million in borrowing for quad gates at the Broadway rail crossing were also given the Town Council’s blessing last night.

DPW Director Joseph Conway was on hand to explain the budget and answer any questions along with Town Engineer William Renault and DPW Business manager Ann Waitt.

Town Accountant Kevin Gill first presented the raw numbers. He noted that that the DPW operating budget was increased by $151,034 (2.3 percent). The Water Department budget was decreased $95,748 from last year and Sewer Division budget was increased by $148,588.

It was noted that the $151,034 increase in the DPW operating budget includes $83,884 in personal services for contractual increases within the Labor, Clerical and Supervisory Unions, re-classification of an Engineering Division administrative support position as well as some overtime and contractual adjustments.

The remaining $57,520 of the increase includes $2,500 in licensing fee increases for administrative software and $41,020 to cover increases in electricity and natural gas costs for both heating and electric demand. A $5,000 crane rental for the Forestry Division was part of the increase as well as $9,000 to supplement the budget for traffic lines. Catch basin cleaning at $6,000 and $9,630 to cover the spiking cost of motor vehicle fuel were also part of the increase in the operating budget.

Conway said that the major changes in the water and sewer budget were driven by contractual obligations and MWRA assessments to the town.

An expected bump of $106,910 in the MWRA sewer assessment next year makes up most of the overall increase of $148,588 in the Sewer Division’s $9,130,721 budget. Conway stressed that the MWRA’s assessment of $6,900,194 accounts for over 75 percent of the Sewer Division budget.

Conway noted that the MWRA Water Assessment estimate decreased by 7.4 percent ($220,282). The MWRA Water Assessment of 2,617,209 represents 42.4 percent of the $6,182,001 Water Department budget, Conway noted.

While the snow appropriation for FY2023 has been level funded and remains at $850,000 for fiscal year 2023, Conway noted that the budget for an average winter season is estimated to cost $1,544,849. He said that he would likely be looking to start to gradually increase the budgeted amount for Snow & Ice in the coming years.

The Public Works Department consists of eleven divisions charged with maintaining the Town’s infrastructure and facilities, including, public ways, parks, athletic fields, grounds, town cemeteries, water distribution/treatment system, sewer collection system, public shade trees, town buildings, town vehicles, and town stormwater systems. DPW operations also include: town wide snow & ice services; refuse and recycling services, hazardous waste and yard waste services; stormwater management (NPDES); school building infrastructure maintenance; school grounds maintenance; and support services for other town Departments and civic events.