Watertown City Manager Sharon Addison is issuing a warning to city lawmakers: Taxpayers could be asked to pony up a little more in 2018.
"When you get to the budget, it's the only source of revenue increase that you have control of," said Watertown Mayor Joseph Butler.
The largest issue right now is salary increases for city workers.
"All employees of the city would receive a 2 percent increase. That estimate is $330,000, $100,000 more than we would raise with the tax levy increase," said Addison.
Butler is open to breaking the city's tax cap.
"If you look at cities that had no tax increases for years, it looks good on paper, but there is a payday," said Butler.
He says there could end up being cuts to expenses, services or city staff. Addison says her initial budget proposal will include those difficult choices.
"We need to make some very critical decisions on which services and programs survive and which don’t, and that’s the challenge," said Addison.
But other members of the city council don't agree, and want to look at, among other options, "Ways we could bring in money to the city that could offset some of these budget fears," said Councilor Lisa Ruggiero.
Of the councilors who reject breaking the tax cap, Councilor Ryan Henry-Wilkinson says although it is still early, if the city is already bumping against its tax cap with staff raises, then the council has some tough decisions ahead of it.