2019 CCJ Notes - January through June
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The Community Preservation Act (CPA) Committee will hold an organizing meeting Thursday, May 16, from 6-7:30pm, in the Ackermann Room of Cambridge City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Avenue.
The purpose of this working committee meeting will be to discuss CPA financials, anticipated 2020 funding resources, and refinement of the proposed schedule.
Upcoming Community Preservation Act Committee meetings include a public hearing on project recommendations June 20, a public meeting on CPA Allocation recommendations on July 31, and a decision-making meeting on Sept 17.
The Community Preservation Act (CPA) was created by a state law (MGL Chapter 44B) to help cities and towns preserve the character of their community. In 2001, Cambridge residents voted to adopt the CPA which allowed a 3% surcharge on Property Tax bills to fund affordable housing, open space, and historic preservation projects. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts provides "matching" funds in addition to those raised locally by the surcharge. The percentage of the state "match" will vary from year to year, depending on the number of participating communities and fees paid at the Registry of Deeds. Each year, at least 10% of annual CPA revenues shall be spent or set aside for later spending on open space, historic preservation and community housing. The remaining percentage can be used towards any of the three funding categories.
For more information, visit CambridgeMA.gov/CPA.
The City of Cambridge is seeking volunteers to serve on the Participatory Budgeting Outreach Committee for the upcoming 2019 Participatory Budgeting cycle. Volunteers will help ensure that the next Participatory Budgeting process, which will run from June – December 2019, engages as many community members as possible.
This year, $1 million will be set aside to fund the winning projects. Participatory Budgeting (PB) is a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of the City’s capital budget.
Outreach Committee members will serve from May-December 2019 and will assist with:
Cambridge residents interested in serving on the PB Cambridge Outreach Committee can apply online at pb.cambridgema.gov or by contacting Matt Nelson in the Budget Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-349-4270. The deadline to apply is May 17, 2019.
City Manager Louis A. DePasquale is seeking persons interested in serving on the city’s Bicycle, Pedestrian or Transit Advisory Committees. Members are expected to attend monthly meetings as well as review materials and engage in projects outside of regular meetings. Below is more information on each of these committees.
The Bicycle Committee works to improve conditions for bicyclists in the City of Cambridge and promote bicycling as a means of transportation. Activities include: organizing and participating in public events such as biannual community bike rides; reviewing plans for street construction; commenting on proposed development projects; creating promotional materials to encourage bicycling in the city; and working with city departments on network planning. Committee members must be prepared to work on projects outside of standing meeting times. This committee generally meets on the second Wednesday of each month from 5:30-7:30pm at the City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway, Cambridge. For more information about the Cambridge Bicycle Program, visit: CambridgeMA.Gov/bikes. For questions about the committee, contact Cara Seiderman, email@example.com, 617-349-4629.
The Pedestrian Committee works to promote walking and to help create a more comfortable, safe, and pleasant environment for walking in Cambridge. It advises on the design of roadway projects and policies related to traffic calming, traffic signals, and sidewalk design. It also identifies intersections and other locations where it is difficult to walk, makes suggestions about proposed development projects as they affect people on foot, and undertakes other activities to promote walking. Committee members must be prepared to work on projects outside of standing meeting times. This committee generally meets on the fourth Thursday of each month from 6-8pm at the City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway, Cambridge. (Note: November and December meetings are on the third Thursday.) For more information about walking resources in Cambridge, visit: CambridgeMA.Gov/citysmart. For questions about the committee, contact Cara Seiderman, firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-349-4629.
Transit Advisory Committee
The Transit Advisory Committee advances an agenda for a robust public transit system for all who live, work, and visit Cambridge, including the transit services provided by the MBTA and EZRide, among others. The committee membership represents a cross-section of stakeholders, including: businesses and large institutions; commuters; persons with disabilities; neighborhood residents with low income; elderly, youth, and students; and transit advocates. The committee advises on city positions and policies on transit service planning, scheduling, infrastructure modernization, expansion and long-term sustainable funding for transit by the Commonwealth. This committee generally meets on the first Wednesday evening of each month from 5:30-7:30pm. For more information, contact Tegin Teich, email@example.com or 617-349-4615. Visit the committee’s webpage at: CambridgeMa.Gov/transitadvisorycommittee.
Applications are sought for a diverse group of dedicated individuals who are representatives of people who live and/or work in Cambridge. Members are expected to attend monthly meetings, review materials, and engage in projects outside of regular meetings. Appointments are made by the City Manager and are for two years of service. Applications to serve on any of these committees can be submitted to City Manager Louis A. DePasquale using the City’s online application system at www.cambridgema.gov/apply and selecting the respective committee(s) of interest. A cover letter and resume or applicable experience can be submitted during the online application process. Paper applications are available in the City Manager’s Office at Cambridge City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Avenue. The deadline for submitting applications for above referenced boards is May 17, 2019.
Capture the rainwater from your roof and store it in a rain barrel for later use in your garden. If rainwater is not captured and allowed to soak back into the ground, rivers and streams do not have the chance to sustain or "recharge" themselves. By capturing rainwater, you are reducing stormwater runoff, conserving water and recharging the groundwater.
A 60-gallon rainwater collection system is available to Cambridge residents for $69. This offer is valid until midnight on May 15, 2019. To provide the lowest cost, the company is arranging for a general delivery of the rain barrels on Wednesday, May 22, from 4-7pm, to Cambridge Public Works, 147 Hampshire St.
For more information, to order online and to check out the design and variety of color options, visit The Great American Rain Barrel Company website, www.greatamericanrainbarrel.com select “Massachusetts” and “Cambridge” under Shop Community Programs. You can also order by phone 1-800-251-2352 and specify the City of Cambridge promotion.
City Manager's FY2020 Budget Message and Significant Budget Modifications
If you would like to subscribe or pick up a free paper copy at various sites, I encourage you to do so. It really is The Paper of Record.
Cambridge councillors pass tree removal moratorium (Feb 27, 2019)
GUEST COLUMN: Boston’s Urban Four must lead the state’s micro-mobility revolution (Craig Kelley, Feb 27, 2019)
Ranked-choice voting could change Massachusetts elections (Feb 25, 2019)
Housing crisis fuels homelessness in Cambridge, statewide (Feb 20, 2019)
A breakdown of 40B affordable housing (Feb 13, 2019)
Cambridge Community Center launches anniversary fund (Feb 11, 2019)
Cambridge School Committee authorizes investigation of member’s use of N-word; students say voices overlooked (Feb 7, 2019)
Warm Hearts for Warm Feet Wool Sock Drive returns for second year (Feb 6, 2019)
Neighborhood association elects new officers at annual meeting (Feb 6, 2019)
MBTA proposes 6.3 percent fare hike (Jan 28, 2019)
Should students have a say on policy? (Jan 28, 2019)
STATE HOUSE ROUNDUP -- Federal employees feel shutdown’s bite (Jan 21, 2019)
Cambridge eliminates fees for street performers (Jan 15, 2019)
Police continue to seek answers, assistance in Cambridge murder (Jan 11, 2019)
Cambridge looks to add gender-neutral option on birth certificates (Jan 8, 2019)
Vacant Storefront Creative Design Contest accepting submissions (Jan 8, 2019)
Cambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasquale is seeking volunteers to serve on the Foundry Advisory Committee. The Committee is made up of community members who serve in an advisory capacity to the City of Cambridge and the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority (CRA), to help ensure that the Foundry building’s (101 Rogers Street) redevelopment and ongoing operation remains consistent with the Vision and Objectives established in the Demonstration Plan.
This group provides regular updates to the City Manager and to the CRA Executive Director on proposed uses within the Foundry building, which is in the process of being redeveloped and operated consistent with the vision and objectives that grew out of an extensive community planning process. Once the building is redeveloped, the Committee will also review any proposals for significant capital changes to the building as they affect the Foundry’s objectives.
Meetings are held quarterly and are open to the public. The Committee provides annual updates to the CRA Board at regular Board meetings, which provides an additional forum for public input. Members of the Committee will be appointed by the City Manager to a term of 3 years.
The City Manager seeks individuals with demonstrated ability to work effectively on a team with diverse opinions to craft consensus recommendations. The Committee is intended to include experience and expertise in related topic areas, as well as representation from various neighborhoods within the city, and local non-profit and community organizations.
Additional information regarding the Foundry building is available on the project webpage: www.cambridgeredevelopment.org/foundry.
The deadline for submitting applications is Fri, Apr 26, 2019. Applications can be submitted to City Manager Louis A. DePasquale using the City’s online application system at cambridgema.gov/apply. A cover letter and resume, or applicable experience, can be submitted during the online application process. Paper applications are available in the City Manager’s Office at Cambridge City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Avenue.
For more information, contact the City Manager's Office at 617-349-4300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Date: Sunday, April 7, 2019, 2:00pm Location:
Assembly Room – Belmont Memorial Library (336 Concord Ave., Belmont)
A documentary of the immigrant workers of the Hood Rubber Company, a once bustling shoe and boot factory from 1896 until its closing in 1969. Learn about life in the factory and the factory's impact on the local community. [Flyer for event] [Video on YouTube]
City Manager Louis A. DePasquale is seeking volunteers to serve on a new Technical Advisory Group that will provide guidance during the development of the Future of Mobility Implementation Blueprint. The Blueprint’s goal is to help the City of Cambridge prepare for and shape new mobility options in a way that meets established community goals, meets the mobility needs of all people who live in, work in, and visit Cambridge, and is well integrated with our sustainable transportation system.
The Blueprint will help provide clarity and specific, practical direction for strategies that support diverse transportation options and technological innovations, such as micromobility devices, electric vehicles, and autonomous vehicles, while ensuring that they do not adversely impact, but rather complement, progress towards other city goals related to safety, equity, traffic congestion, transit and goods movement reliability, transportation network connectedness, GHG emissions and climate resilience. The development of the Blueprint will result in transportation trend analysis, strategies and actions that allow the City of Cambridge to shape how new mobility is introduced in the city, a residential/neighborhood EV charging pilot design, a proposed regulatory strategy, and recommended approaches to public engagement.
Applicants with subject matter experience in a field that would help to inform a robust and equitable Future of Mobility Implementation Blueprint are encouraged to apply. This includes applicants with technical expertise in existing and emerging mobility, included but not limited to, connected and automated vehicles, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, micromobility (i.e. electric scooters, electric skateboards, electric bicycles), mobility aggregator apps, shared mobility services, mobility data management systems, public transit, bicycling and walking. It also includes applicants who represent community interests related to transportation, including other city departments, underserved communities such as low income and persons with disabilities, neighboring communities, such as Boston and Somerville, health and safety, and local and regional transportation advocacy groups.
The Technical Advisory Group will consist of 15-20 members and will meet up to six 6 times over the course of the project to provide feedback and input on the Blueprint. The group is expected to begin meeting in May and will likely meet three to four times prior to July. The remaining two to three meetings will be scheduled between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020. The Advisory Group may also be asked to prepare for a robust, productive discussion at each meeting by reading materials in advance, or to provide feedback between meetings as needed through emails or electronic polls.
For additional questions about the Future of Mobility Technical Advisory Blueprint, contact Stephanie Groll, Parking and Transportation Demand Management Officer at 617-349-4673 or email@example.com, or Bronwyn Cooke, Sustainability Planner at 617-349-4604 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Individuals interested in being considered should apply by using the city’s online application system at www.cambridgema.gov/apply. A cover letter and résumé or summary of applicable experience can be submitted during the online application process. Paper applications are available in the City Manager’s Office at Cambridge City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Avenue. The deadline for submitting applications is Friday, Apr 12, 2019.
For more than a year, the City has been developing a Zero Waste Master Plan. The City is seeking your feedback on the Draft Plan and the six Appendices. Visit CambridgeMA.Gov/ZWMP to review and submit comments until March 15, 2019. The final Zero Waste Master Plan will be made public by April 4.
Feb 28 - The City of Cambridge has embarked on a path to Zero Waste to build upon its current waste management system and programs. The development of a Zero Waste Master Plan (ZWMP) and strategy is intended to assist with achieving the City’s goals of reducing waste and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The public is invited to review a draft version of this plan and send comments through March 15, 2019, to email@example.com.
The recommendations developed for the ZWMP will help support the Department of Public Works’ (DPW) guiding principles of providing high-quality public services, protecting and supporting the health of employees and the public, and managing costs and reducing trash. Learn more about how the City's 25,000 tons of trash, recycling and composting is sorted - what's landfilled, incinerated, recycled and composted - in Appendix 1 of the Zero Waste Master Plan.
The Zero Waste Master Plan (ZWMP) will guide the City in:
• Meeting trash reduction goals of 30% reduction by 2020 and 80% reduction by 2050 from 2008 waste levels.
• Maintaining high quality public services to manage waste disposal
• Maximize operational efficiency
• Protecting employee health and safety
• Evaluating costs for managing waste
• Exploring the impact of waste reduction on GHG emission goals
The ZWMP will also coordinate with the efforts of the citywide comprehensive plan, Envision Cambridge.
For more information, visit CambridgeMA.gov/zerowastemasterplan.
Upcoming Waste Events
Fri. 3/15: Last day to comment on Draft Zero Waste Master Plan.
Mon. 3/25: MassRecycle Summit, Sheraton Hotel Framingham.
Thurs. 4/4: New recycling program begins--TBA in March.
Sat. 4/6: Hazardous Waste Day for Cambridge residents, near 125 Munroe St.
Sat 5/18: Fix-It Clinic at Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway.
The Cambridge Community Development Department will launch the Inman Square Loyalty Program on Friday, March 1. The Loyalty Program is designed to encourage Cambridge residents, employees, and visitors to continue supporting local businesses in the Inman Square business district during the Inman Square Intersection Improvements Project construction period. Those who participate in the Inman Square Loyalty Program will be entered in a monthly raffle.
To participate in the Inman Square Loyalty Program:
The Community Development Department will select two winners at the end of each month through a raffle drawing. Winners will receive a $50.00 gift certificate to an Inman Square business of their choice. Customers are limited to submitting one completed Loyalty Card per month.
“Our local businesses are an important part of our community and I am pleased that we are piloting this new program to help encourage residents and visitors to continue patronizing businesses during the upcoming construction project,” said Louis DePasquale, City Manager. “I appreciate the close collaboration between our City departments and the local business community to make this pilot a reality.”
“The pilot Inman Square Loyalty Program is part of our efforts to mitigate City construction-related impacts for local businesses,” said Iram Farooq, Assistant City Manager for Community Development. “Inman Square is a vibrant part of Cambridge’s retail economy, and the program encourages people to continue enjoying its diverse dining and shopping options during construction.”
The Community Development Department, Department of Public Works, and City Manager’s Office are collaborating with the East Cambridge Business Association, the Inman Square Neighborhood Association, the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, and Cambridge Local First to provide additional resources and programming that will support local businesses during the Inman Square Intersection Improvements Project.
“Supporting small business owners becomes even more important when they face construction projects,” said Jason Alves, Director of East Cambridge Business Association. “The Inman Square Loyalty Program will help remind people of the positive impact they can have on their community each and every time they make a decision to spend their dollars locally. It will be great to see the community get behind our businesses and win some prizes that will further support those impacted.”
To learn more about upcoming events and resources related to Inman Square construction mitigation efforts, visit cambridgema.gov/ShopInman.
March 8, 2019 – Cambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasquale is seeking nominations for the 2019 Outstanding City Employee Awards program which recognizes employees for exemplary performance and contributions that go above and beyond job requirements.
Cambridge city government is made up of dedicated employees who strive to provide a high level of quality services to all its citizens. The annual awards ceremony provides a special opportunity to give extra recognition to a few exemplary individuals who will be recognized at a special awards ceremony on Friday, May 10, 2019.
The Outstanding City Employee Awards are designed to recognize contributions that are above and beyond job requirements. Criteria for determining outstanding performance include:
All City employees are eligible for nomination. Anyone who lives or works in Cambridge may nominate one or more city employees for recognition. Individuals are not limited as to how many employees s/he chooses to nominate, but must submit a separate Nomination Form or letter for each employee. An employee may not nominate her or his own supervisor or department head for recognition.
Nominations are due by Friday, April 12, 2019 and can be submitted online. Alternatively, a signed nomination letter may also be submitted in person to the Personnel Department, Cambridge City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Avenue, 3rd Floor, via fax to 617-349-4312, or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, see this story in the news section of the city's website, CambridgeMA.gov, or contact Maryellen Carvello at email@example.com or 617-349-4300.
Cambridge Animal Commission will be holding a Rabies Vaccination Clinic for dogs only on Saturday, April 6, from 9-11am, at the Cambridge Department of Public Works, 147 Hampshire St. Cost is $15 per dog; cash or check only please.
State laws require that all dogs and cats over the age of 6 months be vaccinated against rabies. A vaccination clinic for cats has not been planned, though there are clinics in the area that administer low cost programs for rabies vaccinations.
Annual dog licenses for Apr 1, 2019 - Mar 31, 2020 will also be issued at the Rabies Vaccination Clinic. The fee for a dog license for a spayed/neutered dog is $10, or $30 for a dog that is not spayed or neutered. State law requires that all dogs over 6 months have a current dog license. Please note that all current dog licenses expire on Mar. 31, 2019. The fine for an unlicensed dog is $50. In order to obtain a dog license, owners must have a current rabies vaccination.
Cambridge residents can apply for or renew their dog’s license online, CambridgeMA.gov/doglicense, or download the paper application and renew via mail or in person, following instructions on the respective form.
For your pet’s safety at the Rabies Vaccination Clinic, dogs must be leashed at all times. You are still welcome to attend if your dog is up to date on its rabies vaccination and you just need a license. Please bring a current rabies vaccination certificate and proof of spay or neuter if your dog has not been licensed in Cambridge before.
Rabies has and will continue to be present in Cambridge and throughout the Commonwealth. The best thing you can do for your pet (dogs and cats) is to have it vaccinated and to teach your family and friends to avoid contact with wild animals. The basic rule is to “leave wildlife alone.”
When you are outside with your dog, please adhere to the leash law. When you are in shared use areas in the city, always have your dog under control and within your sight (particularly at Fresh Pond). Regulations are posted in shared use areas and at designated dog parks in the city. Cat owners should keep their cats indoors as it’s a safe and controlled environment.
As always, the Cambridge Animal Commission would like to remind dog owners of the three L’s of dog ownership – License, Leash, and Love your pet.
For more information, please call the Cambridge Animal Commission Office at 617-349-4376. If we are not in the office, please leave a voicemail with a convenient time and number to return your call.
Street cleaning and yard waste pickup in Cambridge will be resuming for the season on Mon, Apr 1, 2019. The next Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day in Cambridge will be held on Sat, Apr 6, from 9am–1pm, at the Volpe Transportation Center; entrance near 125 Munroe St. Below are more details regarding these services and information on registering for notifications.
Public Works mechanically sweeps each street in Cambridge once per month, April through December (weather permitting). Signs are posted on each residential street indicating the schedule. In order to ensure that streets are properly cleaned, cars must move off the side of the street being swept to avoid being ticketed and towed. Cars must remain off the side of the street until the time indicated on the sign, even if the sweeper has already made a pass down the street, since it will often return to do it again. Citywide street sweeping includes twice yearly vacuum sweeping to improve storm water quality.
Yard Waste Collection
Separate yard waste collection begins Apr 1, 2019 and continues through Dec 13, 2019. Please be sure to set yard waste out by 7:00am on your regular collection day, or after 6:00pm the night before. Yard waste is not accepted in plastic bags by recycling or trash crews. Place yard waste in barrels marked with City-issued stickers and facing the street, or in lawn refuse bags sold in most hardware stores. Barrels and bags must be set on the curb apart from the trash. Do not staple or tape bags. Bundle small twigs and branches with string. Contact Public Works at 617-349-4800 to request Yard Waste stickers.
Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day
The City of Cambridge holds four Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Collection Days in 2019. Proper disposal of materials helps protect public health and the environment. A list of accepted items can be found at www.CambridgeMA.gov/HazardousWaste.
Service Schedules and Notifications
Residents can find their curbside collections and street cleaning schedules by entering their address in the “My Cambridge Schedule” tool at www.CambridgeMA.gov/theworks. Notifications are now available by text message, email, or app notifications by downloading the “Zero Waste Cambridge” app for iPhone/Android. Those previously signed up for reminders through ELine should re-subscribe using the scheduling tool or by downloading the app. Residents are also encouraged to visit www.CambridgeMA.gov/theworks and use the “Get Rid of It Right” tool to search how to properly dispose of items.
This may be the best case yet for the need for Ranked Choice Voting:
Correia remains Fall River mayor in election stunner (Boston Globe, March 13, 2019)
Correia was simultaneously thrown out of office by a majoprity of voters in a recall election, and elected back to the same office in a 35% plurality vote in a field of five candidates seeking to become the new Mayor (including Corriea). This is just plain perverse.
The City of Cambridge Office of Workforce Development, is sponsoring a Health & Human Services Job Fair on Wed, Mar 27, from 11am-1pm, at the Central Square Library, 45 Pearl Street in Cambridge.
This will be a great opportunity for job seekers to connect with employers such as Boston Children’s Hospital, Cambridge Health Alliance, City of Cambridge DHSP Youth Programs, Community Resources for Justice, Fenway Health/AIDS Action Committee, Franciscan Children’s Hospital, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries, Mount Auburn Hospital, Nurtury, Perkins School for the Blind, Spaulding Hospital/Cambridge, and Vinfen.
Those who plan to attend should remember to research companies and job opportunities before the job fair and to apply for appropriate positions online.
The Office of Workforce Development is part of the City's Department of Human Services Program. For more information, contact Josh Foley at 617-349-6259 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 4, 2019 – The City of Cambridge has retained its noteworthy distinction of being one of approximately 33 municipalities in the U.S. to earn AAA ratings from each of the nation's three major credit rating agencies. Each year since 1999, the city has received these ratings from Moody's Investors Service, Standard & Poor's and Fitch Ratings.
“I want to acknowledge the City Council’s leadership for adopting and maintaining sound fiscal policies, and city department heads and staff for their commitment to prudently managing their budgets and programs,” said City Manager Louis A. DePasquale. “One of the many factors contributing to the city receiving these ratings is our strong and dedicated team.”
The AAA ratings are in conjunction with the city's sale of $90.6 million in General Obligation bonds. These sales will finance capital projects such as King Open and Cambridge Street Upper Schools and Community Complex, sewer reconstruction, street and sidewalk reconstruction, and other municipal and school building design and renovations.
Over the last 20 years, the AAA rating has enabled the city to finance a variety of major capital projects at very favorable rates that, in turn, result in savings to taxpayers.
As the city undertakes a significant increase in debt issuance over the next few years to fund it's school rebuilding program, the AAA rating will play a significant role in enabling the city to secure the most favorable interest rates. This is especially important as the city embarks on funding its third school project (Tobin Montessori and Vassal Lane Upper Schools) with an estimated cost of $250 million. Overall, including the Tobin School project, the city is projected to spend a total of $505 million for the three school projects. In addition, the bonding schedule includes significant obligations for renovations to Fire Headquarters and other city buildings.
“We take a long-term approach to our fiscal planning, and our fiscal strategies and management practices have real impacts on Cambridge taxpayers,” said City Manager Louis A. DePasquale. “We’ve built significant reserves, which in part serve as the city’s insurance policy, and our financial success is only possible because of the collaboration that occurs between the City Council and the city administration.”
Below are excerpts from the Rating Agencies reports. (Download Full Reports)
Moody’s Investors Service
Cambridge, Massachusetts (Aaa stable) benefits from a sizeable and diverse tax base that continues to grow significantly year over year. The city's economy is driven largely by the presence of Harvard University (Aaa stable) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT, Aaa stable) and the impressive research and development sector. The city's financial position is strong with very healthy liquidity and reserves that are maintained by strong fiscal management. Both the debt burden and long term liabilities for pension and OPEB are conservatively managed and will remain manageable over the near term.
Credit strengths cited include:
The city's 'AAA' GO bond rating and Issuer Default Rating (IDR) reflect Fitch Ratings’ expectation for Cambridge to maintain a high level of financial flexibility through economic cycles, consistent with a history of strong operating performance and budget controls. The ratings further reflect the city's wealthy and growing property tax base, moderate expenditure growth and its demonstrated ability to reduce expenditures during economic downturns.
Fitch expects long-term liabilities to remain low based on the city's manageable capital needs, rapid principal amortization, continued growth in economic resources and a practice of fully funding actuarially determined pension contributions.
Standard & Poor’s Corporation
The rating reflects our opinion of Cambridge's extremely strong property tax base that continues to grow within the Boston metropolitan statistical area (MSA), supporting continued positive budgetary performance that has led to improved reserves. The city has a favorable debt profile with the ability to absorb additional debt plans.
Key factors cited include management's:
Feb 23 - Which potential 2019 City Council election campaign accounts have been active this year? (Updated)
[Not all of those listed will actually be candidates in 2019 and there may be others not listed here. You decide.]
2019 Cambridge City Council Campaign Bank Reports - The Usual Suspects - You can sort the table by any field or open the full spreadsheet
The Cambridge Community Electricity Program is launching a new model for using the City’s electricity aggregation to directly create more local renewable electricity. Effective January 15, 2019, the program will collect a small amount of money, $0.002/kWh, from all participants as part of their regular electricity bill, which will be used to fund a new local solar project. Once built, the solar project will provide green electricity to everyone enrolled in the Cambridge Community Electricity Program.
The new program model is made possible through a 24-month electricity supply contract with Direct Energy. This contract offers new program prices that are fixed from January 2019 through January 2021. Participants in the Standard Green option will receive greener electricity than available through Eversource Basic Service by supporting the new local solar project. The Standard Green price will change to 11.12 cents/kWh, which is lower than Eversource’s January 2019 through June 2019 residential price of 13.704 cents/kWh.
The previous 100% Green option is now the new and improved 100% Green Plus option, which current 100% Green participants will be automatically enrolled in. 100% Green Plus participants will continue to receive 100% renewable electricity through the purchase of renewable energy certificates (RECs) from existing renewable energy projects in New England and will receive additional solar electricity from the local solar project. The 100% Green Plus price will be 11.94 cents/kWh, also less than Eversource’s winter 2019 Basic Service price. Any Cambridge resident or business can opt into 100% Green Plus at any time.
“This innovative model for our Community Electricity Program supports Cambridge’s local economy and furthers our renewable energy goals without having a negative impact on personal finances,” said Cambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasquale. “We are proud to continue pioneering programs that lower the carbon footprint of our community in cost-effective ways.”
Beginning in February 2019, Direct Energy will replace Agera Energy as the supplier listed on Eversource electricity bills. Participants will continue to receive and pay one bill from Eversource, which will be responsible for delivering electricity to Cambridge and for addressing power outages. Those who are eligible for discounts from Eversource will continue to receive the same benefits. Those with solar panels on their property will continue to receive net metering credits, which will be calculated based on the Eversource Basic Service rate, not on the program rate.
Savings cannot be guaranteed for future Eversource rate periods because Eversource’s prices change every 6 months for residential and small business customers and every 3 months for large business customers. Program participation is not required; participants can opt out of the program at any time with no penalty or fee and return to Eversource Basic Service.
All active accounts will be automatically enrolled in the new contract with Direct Energy unless participants choose to opt out. New Eversource electricity accounts in Cambridge will also be automatically enrolled in the program.
To switch between Standard Green or 100% Green Plus enrollment options or to opt out of the program, call Direct Energy at 1-866-968-8065. Cambridge residents and businesses currently enrolled with the Cambridge Community Electricity Program do not need to take any action to continue their enrollment as part of this new program model.
Additional information is available on the program website at www.masspowerchoice.com/cambridge. Questions or comments can be directed to Cambridge Community Electricity program consultants at 1-844-379-9934 or email@example.com.
Launched in July 2017, the Cambridge Community Electricity Program is an electricity aggregation, which uses the bulk purchasing power of the entire community to negotiate a price and increase the amount of renewable energy in the City’s electricity supply. The City uses a competitive bidding process to choose an electricity supplier for residents and businesses and to secure the best price possible for the community while advancing the City’s sustainability goals.
Residents, and business owners and staff are invited to stop by a Coffee Talk to meet with City staff and contractors and ask questions related to current and upcoming construction in Inman Square.
Thursday, March 14th
11 Springfield St.
Additional Coffee Talks will be held monthly throughout the project at different times and locations to accommodate as many interested neighbors as possible.
If you have questions or concerns about the Inman Square project, you may contact Kate Riley, DPW Community Relations Manager at (617) 349-4870 or firstname.lastname@example.org. More information about the project in general, as well as the December 2018 Construction Update newsletter can be found at www.cambridgema.gov/InmanSquare.
In 2021, a new center for the arts and STEM will open at 101 Rogers Street. The Foundry building is a historic building reuse project that will allow the Cambridge community to enjoy performances, be creative and make things, and attend workshops to learn new skills.
Join the Foundry Consortium at Abigail’s Restaurant over coffee and scones for our first discussion about what you would like to see happening at the Foundry.
Saturday, March 16, 2019
291 Third Street
Cambridge, MA 02142
Please RSVP by Friday, March 15, 2019. If you know someone who would be interested in joining us, please forward this email or download our flyer.
Jan 3, 2019 – The City of Cambridge invites local artists to submit their work to the Vacant Storefront Creative Design Contest. The program, designed by the Community Development Department and Cambridge Arts, aims to energize neighborhoods by filling empty store windows with reproductions of locally-made art.
Five finalists, chosen through a jury and public voting process, will each be awarded a one-time honorarium of $1,000. These winning designs will be available for Cambridge property owners to print and display in vacant ground-floor storefronts throughout the city.
“The City’s Retail Strategy Plan identified vacant storefront activation as a key recommendation for enhancing Cambridge’s retail environment,” said Iram Farooq, Assistant City Manager for Community Development. “This contest is a unique opportunity for local artists to make our commercial districts more vibrant and engaging.”
“In Cambridge, we’re always looking for opportunities for our artists and businesses to partner—from the Central Square Mural Project and the Central Square Cultural District to our Creative Marketplace Exhibitions program,” said Jason Weeks, Executive Director of Cambridge Arts. “The Vacant Storefront Creative Design Contest is another way the arts can make our city a more dynamic and engaging place to live, work, and explore.”
Artwork must be uploaded to an online submissions form by Friday, Feb 8, 2019 at noon. Original artwork—from paintings and prints to photographs and graphic designs—must be formatted into a digital, high-resolution PDF file that can be printed to paper or vinyl and is adaptable to a variety of window sizes. Designs must be original and not infringe on any copyrighted material.
Semi-finalists, chosen by a jury, will be announced in February 2019, followed by a public vote to help determine finalists. The five finalists will be announced in March 2019, with installations expected later in the spring.
For more information about the contest’s submission and selection process, visit www.cambridgema.gov/StorefrontContest.
Jan 4, 2019 – Cambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasquale is seeking a resident to fill a vacancy on the Cambridge Human Rights Commission.
The Cambridge Human Rights Commission (CHRC) seeks Cambridge residents representing the diversity of Cambridge. Commissioners are expected to attend monthly meetings, participate in subcommittees on outreach and public education, and work with Commission staff on the investigation, mediation, and resolution of complaints filed with the Commission which allege discrimination in housing, public accommodations, employment or education based upon race, color, sex, age, religion, disability, national origin or ancestry, sexual orientation, gender, marital status, family status, military status or source of income.
The Human Rights Commission is made up of 11 members who serve three-year terms. Meetings are held on the first Thursday of every month at 6pm.
The deadline for submitting applications is February 8, 2019. Applications can be submitted to City Manager Louis A. DePasquale using the City’s online application system at www.cambridgema.gov/apply. A cover letter and resume, or applicable experience, can be submitted during the online application process. Paper applications are available in the City Manager’s Office at Cambridge City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Avenue.
For more information, contact Nancy Schlacter, Cambridge Human Rights Commission, at 617-349-4396 or email@example.com.
Jan 10, 2019 – Cambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasquale is seeking individuals to fill vacancies on the LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) Commission. Prospective Commissioners must either reside or work in Cambridge.
The mission of the LGBTQ+ Commission is to advocate for a culture of respect and to monitor progress toward equality of all persons with regard to sexual orientation and gender identity. The Commission also promotes policies and practices that have a positive effect on the health, welfare and safety of all persons who live, visit or work in the City of Cambridge with regard to sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.
The Commission normally meets on the 4th Thursday of each month, from 6-7:30pm, at Windsor Street Community Health Center, 2nd Floor Conference Room, 119 Windsor St., Cambridge. Commissioners are expected to volunteer some time outside of meetings for various projects.
The deadline for submitting applications is February 8, 2019. Applications can be submitted to City Manager Louis A. DePasquale using the City’s online application system at cambridgema.gov/apply. A cover letter and resume, or applicable experience, can be submitted during the online application process. Paper applications are available in the City Manager’s Office at Cambridge City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Avenue.
For more information about the Commission, visit www.CambridgeMA.Gov/lgbtqplus. Minutes, and other information can be found there. Visit the Commission’s FaceBook page at: CambridgeLGBTQ+Commission.
Jan 14, 2019 – Today, an early morning four-alarm fire ocurred at 6 Hunting St. and 851/855 Cambridge St. The initial time of the call was at 5:42am, with the fourth alarm being issued at 6:33am. In total, 12 engines, seven ladders, two squads, one rescue, and numerous chief officers and support units were on scene. No serious injuries have been reported, with only minor injuries reported due to falls on the ice.
In addition to Cambridge Fire Department, fire companies from Somerville, Belmont, Boston, Brookline, Waltham, and Watertown aided at the fire scene. Fire companies from several cities and towns, including Arlington, Boston, Brookline, Newton, and Waltham, provided station coverage in Cambridge and responded to numerous unrelated incidents in the city during the fire.
“I want to thank the men and women of the Cambridge Fire Department for their quick action to contain the fire and protect the building exposures in this highly congested neighborhood,” said Cambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasqaule. “Losing your home and your belongings to a fire is a devastating tragedy, and I know how difficult this time is for the impacted residents. I was proud that our staff and the American Red Cross were able to work with the displaced residents this morning to get them set-up with emergency housing, debit cards, and access to money from the Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund. These residents have a long road ahead of them, and the City will continue to be here to assist them as they figure out how to move forward."
The cause of fire is under investigation by the Cambridge Fire Department’s Fire Investigation Unit and the State Fire Marshal’s Office. As part of that investigation, all residents, property managers, and owners of the buildings involved will be interviewed, and a thorough review of any files, reports, or other relevant information connected to the structures will be conducted.
The Cambridge Fire Department will have no comment on the cause and/or origin of the fire until that investigation is complete.
Support of Impacted Residents
At approximately 8am, the City of Cambridge opened a shelter for impacted residents and neighbors at the Frisoli Youth Center located 61 Willow St.
Staff from the City Manager’s Office, various City departments, Metro Housing Boston, Cambridge Housing Authority, and the American Red Cross assisted displaced residents. The Mayor, Vice Mayor, and numerous City Councillors and School Committee members visited the shelter to speak with the impacted residents.
“The first responders, City staff, local businesses, non-profits, and neighbors who responded quickly and effectively to this morning’s fire deserves our gratitude and praise. They are Cambridge’s strength and pride,” said Cambridge Mayor Marc C. McGovern.
851/855 Cambridge Street is a four-story structure with eight residential units and commercial space, and 6 Hunting Street is a three-story structure with two residential units. In total, 22 individuals in nine units were displaced (1 unit was vacant).
As part of their services, the American Red Cross provided every displaced individual with a $125 debit card for incidental supplies and every household with a $260 debit card for emergency hotel costs. Additionally, the Red Cross will follow each case for up to 45 days, as necessary. Each household will also receive follow-up support from the appropriate housing agency and all relevant City departments.
Additionally, the Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund will provide displaced residents with $600 per person with a max of $2,400 per unit. Checks totaling $11,400 from the Disaster Relief Fund will be available to 19 residents tomorrow morning. The remaining three residents are currently out of state. The public can help the impacted families by donating to the Mayor's Disaster Relief Fund at www.cambridgema.gov/MayorsDisasterReliefFund. Alternatively, donations can be made in person through the Finance Department's cashier window at City Hall or mailed to address below:
Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund
c/o Finance Dept.
Cambridge City Hall
795 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02139
Jan 3, 2019 – The City of Cambridge is seeking volunteers to serve on a new Grand Junction (GJ) Design Working Group to help guide the design of the Grand Junction (GJ) Multi-Use Path between the Charles River at the BU Bridge, and the Cambridge-Somerville city line. The group will advise Cambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasquale and his staff on key issues related to the planning and design for this important “Grand Junction Multi-Use Path and Conceptual Transit Design” project.
The GJ Design Working Group will consist of 15-20 members, including residents, businesses, property owners, institutions, standing city committees, and other interested parties.
Individuals with interest in the Grand Junction corridor, the neighborhoods along the corridor, and experience or expertise in relevant topics — transportation, accessibility, urban design and placemaking, landscape architecture — and a demonstrated ability to work effectively with diverse viewpoints are encouraged to apply. Meetings of the GJ Design Working Group will be open to the public.
For additional questions about the new GJ Design Working Group, contact Tegin Teich, Transportation Planner, Community Development Department at 617-349-4615 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Individuals interested in being considered should apply by using the city’s online application system at cambridgema.gov/apply. A cover letter and résumé or summary of applicable experience can be submitted during the online application process. Paper applications are available in the City Manager’s Office at Cambridge City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Avenue. The deadline for submitting applications is Thursday, January 31, 2019.
The Cambridge Redevelopment Authority (CRA), in partnership the Lemelson-MIT Program (a leader in the Foundry Consortium), is seeking Proposals for Property Management Services for the Foundry.
Later this year, the Foundry site will start construction...and before too long, we will have a vibrant community center for creativity and collaboration, buzzing with programs!
Therefore, the CRA is now seeking a property management firm. The successful respondent will be offered a two-part contract to provide consulting services to the CRA during the design and construction phases of the Foundry, and to provide property management services to the Foundry Consortium once the building is operational.
The full RFP can be downloaded from the CRA website, where we will also post addenda as needed: www.cambridgeredevelopment.org/jobs-contracting
There will be a site visit for interested parties on January 23rd at 10:00am. RFP responses are due on Thursday, February 14, 2019 by 4:00pm.
Interested parties are encouraged to register their interest before they apply by emailing Erica Schwarz at email@example.com.
Michael Atiyah, Mathematician in Newton’s Footsteps, Dies at 89 (New York Times, Jan 11, 2019)
Jan 21 Cable Update: As of Friday morning I have the full XFinity "Triple Play". I'm intrigued by the additional science-related channels I can now get, and it was kinda nice watching "The Wizard of Oz" and "The Shawshank Redemption" (one of my all-time favorites), but I'm already feeling nostalgic for the simplicity of the limited channel selection of good old broadcast TV via the roof antenna. This is going to take some getting used to. - RW
PS - I'll get around to some more civic writing soon. This TV stuff (plus rehabbing two apartments in my triple-decker) is very disruptive. Pitchers and catchers report on Feb 13. - RW
Jan 13 Note: I will shortly be going into "radio silence" as Internet access disappears for a few days at home starting later today. I'll try my best to keep up at work. The Evil Empire (Internet, Cable TV, and phone) arrives here on Wednesday (Jan 16). Municipal Broadband may be a nice goal, but that will have to wait for another day here on the home front. I guess I can look forward to watching Red Sox games at home. Pitchers and catchers report on Feb 13 - just 31 days from now. - RW
Jan 16 Update: Well, the "Triple Play" is still just a "Double Play" because Comcast was unable to produce a cable box that actually worked (they tried two before quitting). They'll be back on Friday to try again, but at least I have Internet now. In the meantime, I'm back to using the old reliable roof antenna. I also noticed that the cable modem provided by Comcast throws off enough heat to warm my living room. Is this normal? I guess "Energy Star" isn't part of their language. Time to shop for a better modem. - RW
Jan 18 Update: As of this morning I have the full "Triple Play". I'm intrigued by the additional science-related channels I can now get, and it was kinda nice watching "The Wizard of Oz" On Demand this afternoon, but I'm already feeling nostalgic for the simplicity of the limited channel selection of good old broadcast TV via the roof antenna. This is going to take some getting used to. - RW
PS - I'll get around to some more civic writing soon. This TV stuff (plus rehabbing two apartments in my triple-decker) is just so disruptive. Pitchers and catchers report on Feb 13 - just 26 days from now. - RW