Updated: Oct 31
To the Editor,
Is Watertown’s Republican Party using precious budget dollars to buy votes?
A large number of senior citizens attended the April 26 budget hearing to support the higher budget for the Senior Center. Town Manager Mark Raimo had already announced he would not make any cuts to the Center’s budget, but wanted significant cuts to the police and school budgets.
Town seniors are a large voting bloc. Keeping them happy helps keep the Republican power machine in place.
In budget year 20/21, the Senior Center budget was $134,793. In 22/23, that budget swelled to $198,774, a 47.5% increase. The proposed budget for 23/24 is $263,775. A secretary was added in 2021, and this new budget includes the addition of an assistant director along with a 250% increase to special events ($4,000 to $10,000.) That is $2,500 more than special events for the Town Recreation Department which services the entire population of Watertown! The 23/24 Senior Center budget represents a 95.6% increase over the last 2 years. I don’t know about you, but when I see a 95.6% budget increase, I wonder about mismanagement.
Historically, the Senior Center Director did not accompany the seniors on trips. Now that she does, we need to hire an assistant director. Are our current seniors incapable of taking care of themselves? I doubt it. Why are we paying the Director to go on trips?
Times are tough for everyone. Inflation is hurting us. Homeowners are facing revaluation. Watertown’s budget is increasing. I don’t begrudge the seniors their fair share, but why are we giving enormous increases to the Senior Center while telling our kids they have to do without? We need to stop paying some citizenry for their votes. Vote “no” on the Town budget.