Tonight: Show Your Support For The Belmont Community Path!

This is just a note to all the folks out there who support the Belmont Community Path that there’s a very important meeting tonight (Monday, June 9) at 7:00 PM in the Board of Selectmen’s Room in Belmont Town Hall.

path-fork

 

The Community Path Advisory Committee (CPAC) will make its final presentation to the Board of Selectmen. The meeting starts at 7:00 and CPAC will make its presentation around 7:20 PM.

This will be the last chance to show your support for the Path before the Selectmen make their decision. We need your support!

Some background:

At the meeting, the Belmont Community Path Advisory Committee will review the various options for constructing a path extending from the existing trailhead of the Brighton Street to Alewife path through Belmont Center and Waverley and out to the Waltham border. The Committee was created by the BOS almost two years ago to study the feasibility of a path through Belmont. It will present its recommendations to the BOS. The Belmont Community Path will be a segment of the Mass Central Rail Trail (MCRT). The Path would link up with the existing Fitchburg Cutoff Path, which terminates at Brighton Street and extend to the border with Waltham.

By connecting to the MCRT, the Belmont Community Path will provide links to many shared use paths and trail networks.

The report is the product of two years’ work and more than 39 public hearings and surveys. The Community Path will be a tremendous addition to Belmont – but it needs our support.

I’ll see you there! In the meantime, you can read CPAC’s final report or look at proposed routes for the path that the Committee considered during its two years of work here.

BudgetFest: Belmont Town Meeting Live Blog – June 2nd

I’m here at Belmont’s annual Town Meeting. This is actually the fourth (fifth?) session this year – but it’s the big one. In the next couple nights we’re voting on the town’s $~95m budget, funding both our public schools and everything else: public safety, town government, roads, recreation. You name it.

Right now, Michael Libenson, the Warrant Committee’s current Chairman is reviewing Belmont’s overall budget. Big take aways: not a bad budget year. A greater contribution from the State in the form of Chapter 70 funding (around $700,000 more than anticipated) allowed most town and school programs to be level funded for FY 2015.

The bigger picture is murky, however. As Mr. Libenson rightly pointed out: almost all of Belmont’s revenues come from property taxes (something like 80%). That figure is pinned at 2.5% growth annually, while everything else – pensions, salaries, operating costs – goes up by much more than 2.5%. In the long term: that puts pressure on the budget that can only be addressed with additional sources of revenue (i.e. commercial development, fees, etc.) or an increase in residential property taxes.

At the same time, Belmont faces significant capital budget pressures, including the need for substantial renovations at Belmont High, the Library, the Police Station, the Underwood Pool (voted in one of our earlier sessions) and – of course- improvements to roads and sidewalks.

Right now we’re voting on mostly non-controversial items related to expenditures for employee retirement, etc. Now we’re voting on Public Safety budget (Police and Fire) which is $12,825,722.

Update: 8:39 PM

Joanna Swift just raised a good question about funding for the school safety officer at BHS. Namely: that position, which was restored with $60,000 in unallocated funds, was not a top priority of the School Department, but  - actually – 12 on a list of 13 positions they would have asked for given a choice, including a ELL teacher, additional guidance counselors for BHS and additional FTEs (full time teachers) to manage a large 5th grade cohort. Long and short: school safety officer has lots of support on the Board of Selectmen and, obviously, within the public safety community. Also: don’t mess with students’ safety. The public safety budget (including the public safety officer) is approved unanimously.

Update: 8:44 PM

Laurie Slap of Belmont School Committee is updating us on the BPS proposed budget – up 4.1% this year. We’re expecting 115 new students in FY 15. Attendance is up 5% in the last two years and 6% in the 8 years before that. Looking ahead: by 2025, enrollment in the Town’s schools will increase by around 500 students. Options?

+ Modular classrooms
+ Making a renovated BHS 7-12? 8-12?
There’s lots of feedback on the school budget – a couple folks got up and protested the escalating fees for parents, which are taxes (by another name). Thanks to Sara Masucci, Chris Kochem, Anne Mahon, and others for getting up and speaking. I asked Laurie to detail some of the areas where budget constraints and not pedagogical needs are driving decisions about what we do and do not offer to our kids. Laurie

Help Needed For Families Displaced By Marlboro Street Fire

Editor’s Note: I’m reposting this press release that went out from the Belmont Corner Neighborhood Association (BCNA) earlier today. The group has set up a fund to aid the victims of Wednesday evening’s fire on Marlboro Street. They will be holding a yard sale to benefit the families displaced by the fire. That sale will be held on Marlboro Street in Belmont on Saturday, May 31st.

To make a donation, surf on over to this page on fundly.com.

If you have questions, e-mail belmontcorner@gmail.com

– Paul

BELMONT, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–

A fire has displaced the residents of a three-family home in Belmont Corner. The damage is extensive and virtually all belongings are lost. “We are asking for help to aid these residents in getting back on their feet,” says Daniel Parmer of the Belmont Corner Neighborhood Association (BCNA).

Marlboro Street Fire

Nine people were displaced by the fire on Marlboro Street. A fund has been set up to help them. (Image courtesy of WCVB.)

In the early morning hours of Wednesday, May 21, 2014, nine residents of 58 Marlboro Street in Belmont, MA, fled from their burning three-family home with little to no possessions. While all are safe and healthy, they are in urgent need of financial help to help build their lives back together. All of their personal vehicles and possessions were destroyed in the fire. The renters in the home are young professionals without insurance.

BCNA has established a fund to raise donations that will equitably split 100% of the donations amongst the fire victims. The BCNA is pleading for the public’s help in raising financial capital for these families. The BCNA is also hosting a marketplace-yard sale on Saturday, May 31, 2014, with all proceeds going to the fund.

Any and all donations are most graciously accepted by visiting http://ow.ly/x6urt.
If you have the housing or the means to donate vehicles or furniture, please email the BCNA at belmontcorner@gmail.com.

Please join us on Marlboro Street in Belmont on Saturday, May 31st for a marketplace-yard sale.
About the Belmont Corner Neighborhood Association

Established in 2013, we are an active representation of the corner of Belmont that shares borders with Watertown and Cambridge. Through the free social network created on www.nextdoor.com and the kindness and concern for our neighbors, we provide support to our local neighborhood.
Contact:
Belmont Corner Neighborhood Association
Erin Lubien, 617-817-2906