Friday, June 22, 2018

Boston City Council Looks At City Budget, CPA Grants, Tree Coverage & More

City Councilor-At-Large Michelle Wu publishes notes from Boston City Council meetings. The Boston City Council considered the following items and more at their June 20, 2018 meeting:

FY19 City of Boston Budget: Mayor Walsh resubmitted the Recommended Operating Budget of $3.29 billion, an increase of $139M or 4.4% over last fiscal year after feedback from 28 City Council hearings. The revised budget includes $500,000 for expanded training on racial and gender bias, sexual harassment and employee awareness, new funding for the Elder Nutrition Program, doubling funds for the Youth Development Grant Program, added staff for the Office of Immigrant Advancement, Office of Economic Development, park ranger program, and increased funding to support collective bargaining agreements. You can see the full budget here.

Community Preservation Fund: The Council voted to authorize allocations from the Community Preservation Fund for the capital projects recommended by the Community Preservation Committee and presented at the hearing on Monday, for a total pilot grant funding round of $8,035,055. In line with state law, the funds will be used towards affordable housing, historic preservation, and parks and open space projects around Boston. The goal of the pilot round was to fund shovel-ready projects in as many neighborhoods as possible (all were included, except Charlestown and Mattapan, which did not see any project applications). 35 projects were funded with a maximum grant of $500,000. The capital projects list can be viewed here, or you can watch the video or read the transcript of the hearing where most grantees presented their projects here (scroll to the bottom of the page).

Tree Coverage: Councilors O’Malley and Pressley reported back on Monday’s hearing to discuss and assess the amount and quality of tree coverage in Boston. We have seen a decrease in the number of mature trees and green space overall during this building boom. Climate change continues to change our seasonal and temperature norms and the focus on development needs to include the importance of our City’s trees and recognize the link between healthy mature trees and creating healthy neighborhoods. Trees are a vital natural resource offering direct ecological, economic, and health benefits to the community. You can see the original hearing order here. The matter remains in committee for further action.

Appropriation Orders: Mayor Walsh filed appropriation orders for the following, all assigned to the Committee on Ways and Means for a hearing:
  • $40M to the Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) Liability Trust Fund, authorized under MGL Ch 32B, Sec 20, as added by Chapter 479 of the Acts of 2008.
  • $53,802,817 from the City’s Capital Grant Fund in order to provide funding for various transportation and public realm improvements. The funds will be credited to the Capital Grant fund from the Parking Meter fund.
  • $1.6M from the Surplus Property Disposition Fund to the Capital Fund. The funds are to be used for the development of master plans, architectural and engineering plans and designs, and for the implementation of such plans and designs for Boston Common, Franklin Park, and the completion of the Emerald Necklace.
Upcoming Hearings (Livestream)

  • Friday, 6/22 at 1PM: Hearing on Equitable Access to Public Transportation & Cashless MBTA Fares (Planning, Development & Transportation)
  • Monday, 6/25 at 10AM: Hearing on Curbside Composting (Environment, Sustainability & Parks)
  • Thursday, 6/28 at 2PM: Hearing on Resident Parking (Planning, Development & Transportation)
For complete notes on Boston City Council meetings, visit MichelleForBoston.com or sign up to receive these notes automatically.                         

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