IAM: Engineering

City of Somerville FY21 Budget

Mission Statement

The Engineering Department facilitates the improvement and modernization of the City’s infrastructure including roadways, sidewalks, water distribution, sewer and stormwater management systems by engineering safe, multimodal, functional, and sustainable infrastructure maintenance and capital investment projects. The Department manages the street opening and trench permit programs, reviews private development site plans to ensure compliance with City standards and sound engineering practices, administers the city’s pavement management program, and acts as the City’s liaison to state and federal agencies such as the MBTA, MassDOT, EPA, MassDEP, and the MWRA on engineering issues.

Changes from FY20

One staff member in the Engineering Division is an SMEA member and entitled to an annual adjustment resulting in a slight increase in the overall Personal Services line.


For the reasons discussed below, a new position is proposed for the IAM Engineering Division, a Stormwater Program Manager to be funded by the Sewer Enterprise. For budget organizational purposes, the new position does not appear to impact the Engineering PS line; however, you will find it budgeted in the Sewer Enterprise.


The September 2019 Administrative Order issued by the US Environmental Protection Agency establishes a strict timeline and actions for compliance with the federally-issued stormwater permit. The August 2019 Variance for Combined Sewer Overflows (CSO) issued by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection establishes a timeline and expectations for the next anticipated requirements of the federally-issued CSO permit. Fulfilling those requirements will require substantial planning, data gathering, and reporting, all of which must be coordinated through Engineering with Water & Sewer, DPW-Highway and other City departments, and will also require enforcement of more rigorous stormwater management standards on private property. Specialized knowledge of stormwater permit requirements, and technical understanding of stormwater management systems is vital for the City to maintain compliance and avoid further enforcement actions from the federal and state regulators. Following an in-depth review of the requirements and generating a compliance plan for the City, the Directors of Engineering and IAM estimate that compliance cannot be achieved by sharing the workload amongst currently over-allocated staff, and that a new full-time employee with the requisite expertise is required.


It should be noted that there is an apparent increase in Engineering Ordinary Maintenance; however, this is due to the roadway markings maintenance function and budget line being moved from the Parking Department to IAM Engineering. That line is being level-funded from FY20 to FY21 resulting in no net change to the overall City budget.


Historically, the City has funded the preparation of the annual bid package for the Pavement Management Program through Engineering’s Engineering/Architecture line (analogous to most other departments’ Professional Technical line), and funded construction through bond appropriations and Chapter 90 state funding. Due to conservative budgeting and contract management for a number of years, we have surplus funds available in prior years’ budgets. We therefore proposed to utilize that remainder to fund the FY21 paving bid package preparation, and reduce the FY21 Engineering/Architecture line.

FY21 Budget Proposal

Departmental Organization

FY21 Positions Listing