Provided by ABC News
Budget discussions in Watertown include firefighter's OT and potential funding for zoo
Posted by news on 4/26/2017 4:47:00 AM.
Lawmakers in Watertown had their first chance to disect the latest proposed budget as a group Tuesday night. And according to the Watertown Daily Times, the New York State Zoo at Thompson Park and the city's Fire Department were debated.

The spending plan does not include the $47,500 the zoo wants in order to make upgrades. Mayor Joe Butler Jr. indicated that council can possibly still help the struggling zoo in other ways.

The budget does, however, include over $630,000 in funding for overtime in the fire department. Something councilman Stephen Jennings called "outrageous," claiming firefighters are purposely driving up OT costs as contract negotiations have dragged on for nearly three years.

More budget debated is planned before an expected vote on the plan next month.

As for the war of social media words between two councilmembers, Mayor Joe Butler Jr. told the Times that it was "just two guys presenting things they believe in."

It comes after Councilman Mark Walczyk called the actions of colleague Stephen Jennings "despicable." Jennings followed that up by posting on Facebook that Walczyk was a liar.

The two are at odds over a possible measure to add rental inspections to city law and whether to reopen the pool at Thompson Park.

Butler indicated that he plans on speaking with the two privately, but added, "we're all grown ups."

Watertown, New York, budget, City Council, fire department, New York State Zoo at Thompson Park