Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Boston City Council Looks At Parking Reform, Sub-Precincts, Education, Budget & 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 April 10, April 24 and May 1, 2019 meetings:

Parking Reform: Councilors Edwards, Essaibi-George and Campbell called for a hearing regarding parking reform in the City of Boston. They stated that last week’s introduction of the resident parking reform ordinance sparked a heated conversation that should be broader, and they hope to have that larger discussion. The matter was assigned to the Planning, Development, and Transportation committee for a hearing.

Short-Term Rental Taxes & Fees: The Council voted 12-1 (Councilor Garrison opposing) to adopt three revenue provisions made available through the state’s new Short-Term Rentals legislation. The first two would adjust the City's overall local room occupancy excise rate up to 6.5%, including on Short-Term Rentals like through Airbnb, and the third would assess community impact fees on short-term rentals.

Education Promise Act: The Council voted to adopt the resolution filed by Councilors O’Malley and Essaibi-George to support the Education Promise Act. In 1993, the Massachusetts Education Reform Act was signed into law as an initiative intended to establish equity across all public schools under the guiding principles of adequacy and fairness. The Massachusetts Education Reform Act was designed to close the gap in public K-12 educational achievement among different types of communities and, for the first time, required a “foundation” level of spending for each school district. This legislation would more realistically account for the funds that are urgently needed for public schools across the Commonwealth in order to promote opportunity and improve equity that will benefit students and educators.

Sub-Precincts Home-Rule Petition: The Council voted to pass the Home Rule Petition refiled by the Mayor to establish sub-precincts in neighborhoods that experienced significant growth, in order to alleviate lines and waiting times for voting. The Council had passed this legislation in 2017 as a home-rule petition sponsored by Councilor Linehan and me, but it was not taken up at the State House. The Mayor is refiling this for another Council vote to begin a new push on Beacon Hill. The legislation would not change any of the existing boundaries for wards, and will not change representation for congressional, representative, senatorial, or councilor districts, instead establishing sub-precincts, and in some cases additional polling locations, in the following precincts:

  • Ward 3, Precinct 6 (Downtown, Financial District, and parts of Beacon Hill
  • Ward 3, Precinct 7 (South End)
  • Ward 3, Precinct 8 (Chinatown and South End)
  • Ward 5, Precinct 1 (Bay Village)
  • Ward 6, Precinct 1 (South Boston to Broadway Station, Seaport)
  • Ward 9, Precinct 3 (South End)

The petition now goes to the Mayor’s office for his signature, then to the State Legislature for approval.

Boston Animal Shelter: The Mayor filed an amendment to transfer the Animal Care and Control unit from the Inspectional Services Department to the Parks and Recreation Department. The change would allow the City to better develop potential partnerships with residents who want to support the public animal shelter, for example with a Friends group such as those that already exist to support many of our public parks. The matter was assigned to the Government Operations Committee for a hearing.

BUDGET HEARINGS (Ways & Means Committee):

  • Tuesday, May 7th, 10:30AM: Transportation Department
  • Tuesday, May 7th, 2PM: Department of Neighborhood Development
  • Thursday, May 9th, 10:30AM: Department of Information Technology
  • Thursday, May 9th, 3PM: Boston Centers for Youth & Families and Youth Engagement and Employment
  • Monday, May 13th, 10:30AM: Public Library
  • Monday, May 13th, 2PM: Parks Department
  • Wednesday, May 15th, 2PM: Police Department
  • Thursday, May 16th, 10:30AM: Public Health Commission
  • Thursday, May 16th, 2PM: Public Health Commission - Recovery Services
  • Tuesday, May 21st, 10:30AM: Fire Department
  • Tuesday, May 21st, 2PM: Boston Planning & Development Agency
  • Thursday, May 23rd, 10:30AM: Emergency Medical Services
  • Monday, June 3rd, 2PM: Carryover
  • Tuesday, June 4th, 2PM: Public Testimony

For complete notes on Boston City Council meetings, visit MichelleForBoston.com or sign up to receive these notes automatically. 

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