WAKEFIELD — The Town Council this week approved several more FY 2023 departmental budgets, including the previously approved DPW budget, which needed to be adjusted to account for a recent union contract settlement.

Town Accountant Kevin Gill presented the budget numbers, beginning with the revised Public Works Department amounts.

He said that the labor contract settlement increased the the tax-funded DPW budget by $76,761 for a new total budget of $6,734,130. The Sewer Division enterprise budget was increased by $17,798 for a total of $9,148,699. The contract settlement added $22,493 to the water Division budget, for a total of $6,204,494.

Town Administrator Stephen P. Maio said that he was pleased to have settled the contract with the DPW workers. He called the 3-year pact, which includes a 2.5 percent annual salary increase, “very sustainable for the town.”

Gill also presented the Medicare budget at a total of $874,280 for FY 2023, including an increase of $41,630.

Gill reported that a $920,367 increase in the Group Health Insurance budget will bring the total for FY 2023 to $15,205,320.

Maio observed that despite an increase for next year that is “more than we would like,” the town’s move away from Blue Cross/Blue Shield to the GIC’s managed care insurance options 10 years ago was a prudent financial move.

The Town Council Approved the Group Health insurance budget.

They also approved the Cable Television budget at $606,505, which reflects an increase of $55,266. The Cable TV budget is funded through franchise fees paid to the town by the three local cable providers, Comcast, Verizon and RCN and is used to fund the operations of Wakefield Community Access Television (WCAT), which provides local programming and meeting coverage.

It was noted that the funding for WCAT is tied to local cable revenues, which have been decreasing as more and more people cut the cable cord as more and more alternative options become available.

Town Councilor Edward Dombroski said that he had talked to management at WCAT and noted that the current funding arrangement is not sustainable. He said that the town needs to think about how WCAT will be funded in the future.

Councilor Anne Danehy agreed, citing the expanded public meeting coverage that WCAT took on during COVID.

“We need to make sure WCAT is supported,” she said.


In other business this week, the Town Council:

• Approved an all-alcohol liquor license for Laurie’s 909 located at 93 New Salem Street.

• Set a public hearing date for April 25, 2022 at 7:03 p.m. for liquor license for Megoz, Inc. d/b/a Bellino’s located at 146 Lowell St.

• Approved the Annual Town Election Warrant and the Annual Town Meeting Warrant.

• Approved a request from Beebe Library to accept and expend $387 in gifts from various donors.

• Approved a request from the Council on Aging to accept and expend $10,995 in gifts from various donors.