Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Finance Committee Meeting Recap
After approving the minutes from their February 25th meeting, the committee quickly jumped in to discuss legislative item number 16418: an appropriation of $64,000 and $64,000 in a bond to replace the existing temporary trailer living quarters for Union Square Firefighters with a prefabricated modular two story structure, also to be used as living quarters. For those of you playing at home, Firefighters have been living in the trailer for 16 years. This is the second appropriation focused on improving Somerville Firefighter living quarters as $120,000 was approved to upgrade Engine 7 on Highland Avenue. The committee unanimously approved this request after being briefed by the Fire Chief.
Legislative item number 1964727, the Home Rule Petition to increase the residential tax exemption, fielded the lengthiest discussion that included the Mayor's Assistant, Finance Director and City Solicitor. The increase from 30% to 35% will save taxpayers quite a bit of money, but has to be approved on the State level. Omar Boukili (Mayor's Assistant) informed the committee that the State delegation gave him a target date of 2016 before a decision is made. Should it be approved, this will be the largest residential tax exemption in the State.
A resolution submitted by Alderman At Large Dennis M. Sullivan, Ward Two Alderman Maryann M. Heuston, Alderman At Large Mary Jo Rossetti, and Ward Seven Alderman Katjana Ballantyne requesting that senior citizens be exempt from paying the surcharge associated with the Community Preservation Act tax was placed on file after the committee was informed that the administration was working towards higher exemptions for different Somerville residents that includes seniors and Veterans.
Rounding out the meeting was an approval to accept a grant of $5,000 from Project Bread. According to the description, the funds will be used "to support the 1:1 match for qualified Somerville Mobile Market patrons (those who use EBT cards or WIC to make purchases, live in one of the housing development that are a site for the Market, or are seniors living on low fixed incomes). The match program increases low-income individuals' and families' patronage of the market and, by extension, their consumption of healthy fruits and vegetables. Based on activity in previous years, Shape Up Somerville expects to provide $6,000 in subsidies which translated into $12,000 worth of produce sold."
All items will be presented to the full Board of Aldermen for final approval with legislative item number 196427 moving on to the State for consideration.
Labels: Finance Committee