MATTAPOISETT — The Sewers Department faced the largest budget increases from four departments that met with the city’s Select Board on Monday, Feb. 7 to review their fiscal 2023 budgets.
On the water side of the department, staff and salary increases in the water and sanitation department caused the budget to increase by 2.7 percent.
However, heavy spending on the treatment plant meant that the biggest increase was in the wastewater budget, at 17 percent.
Henri Renauld, Superintendent of the Water and Sanitation Agency, said some of those costs could be offset through loans later this year. But that is not certain yet.
The city will also seek to sell a water and sewage property on Church Street and convert the proceeds from the sale into retained earnings to cover construction costs for the department in 2024.
For the Council on Aging, Library and Highway Department, the changes and requests were much more modest.
In 2020, Massachusetts made the decision to allow the carryover of Council on Aging funds from the previous year, which is not typically the case. This helped keep the Council on Aging’s budget positive, explained Jackie Coucci, Director of the Council on Aging.
There have been fewer seniors using some COA services, such as B. Dental services, she said, but the department relied on its hired drivers more than volunteers for trips to doctor’s appointments.
However, Coucci said the budget for rides should cover expenses and that she has no additional requests should the city have additional funds.
At the Mattapoisett Free Public Library, the largest expenses were an increase in office supplies for pandemic-related cleaning and masking. Meeting the state requirement that 19 percent of the budget should be spent on books and audiovisual materials was also a priority for Library Director Jennifer Jones.
She said she would try to supplement state-mandated spending with some grants. She also said she would like additional funds to flow from the city to those two areas.
There were also two problems with the parking lot, one related to the lights and one related to a security camera there.
Select board members urged Jones to use the same company the police department and harbor master had used for surveillance cameras so they could integrate all their security footage in one place.
The highway agency’s budget has remained largely the same, with some of the higher spending related to storm clean-ups. Highway Surveyor Garrett Bauer explained that this was due to overtime, a special public safety detail and the increased price of salt on the roads.
Selected board members confirmed that the spending was necessary and helped make the city safer.
Bauer said that if there were additional budgetary funds, his request would be money for road repair and drainage projects.