The $149.2 million fiscal 2007 budget submitted by Mayor Robert G. Nunes to the City Council last week includes $18.4 million for the DPW, accounting for 12 percent of the city's total spending.

As with other city departments such as police and fire, many of the divisions within the DPW saw their budgets increased by the mayor, but not by as much as requested.

In fiscal 2006, the city spent slightly more than $684,000 for snow and ice removal, which resulted in a deficit of $335,000, despite it being a relatively mild winter, the mayor pointed out.

Most municipalities purposely under budget snow and ice removal, Nunes has said, because Massachusetts law allows a deficit in that line item to run over to the next fiscal year.

One of the most difficult issues the city will have to tackle in this and future budgets is the state mandate to upgrade and repair the aging sewer system. Nunes and other city officials have repeatedly said that the Administrative Consent Order issued last year will cost Taunton dearly over the next decade.

Cornaglia requested $575,000 for the reconstruction of sewer lines and mitigation of infiltration and inflow. Nunes cut all but $175,000 from those two line items. The city will borrow funds to pay for some of the sewer work, including Railroad Avenue, Pleasant, Garden and Harris streets.

The mayor said the sewer department will see an increase in spending of $830,000, the majority of which will go toward the state mandated upgrades, emergency repairs and contracted services.

The water department, under supervisor Doug Valovcin, is an enterprise account, which means revenues are supposed to equal or exceed expenditures.

The water budget for fiscal 2007 is $7.2 million, which will fund water line replacement projects on Orchard and White streets. In addition, the city will use federal Community Development Block Grants for a number of roads in the Whittenton area.

Francis Avilla, supervisor of the building department, saw his budget for public building repair cut from $7.2 million to $1.3 million by the mayor. The reduction caught the eye of Councilor Donald L. Cleary during budget hearings Monday night.

Most of the major repairs, about $5.5 million, Avilla said, will be borrowed, including $1 million for replacing the furnace and floor at the Central Fire Station.

"Most of these [requests] would have to be put in a bond," Avilla told Cleary and other councilors. "But I like to put them in my budget so you know they're there."

In addition to the duties typically assumed of the DPW, either Cornaglia or Avilla are also responsible for the budgets of the environmental coordinator's office, the sealer of weights and measures and the fish warden.

When asked about the mayor's appropriation to the Department of Public Works for the fiscal 2007 budget, Cornaglia replied succinctly, "We can get by."

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