City Council Highlights: 2019

Ty’s CITY COUNCIL HIGHLIGHTS – 2019 – A PEAK INTO THE FUTURE.

JANUARY, 2019 –
* CATHERINE FEERICK WAS UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED AS ATTLEBORO’s NEW ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR!

This has been a big success, in my opinion. Catherine is a full-time promoter of Attleboro. Her presence and hard work is leading towards the positive developments on Union Street. Attleboro is scheduled to have two new apartment buildings on Union Street in the near future, plus an additional apartment building on the corner of Olive and South Main Street. She is promoting Attleboro daily. I wish her all the best as Catherine will be having her first child in February!

* PLASTIC WASTE REDUCTION ORDINANCE APPROVED:
This ordinance went into effect across the city in October, 2019. Everyone seems pleased that we are no longer using the thin, single use plastic bags that were getting thrown into our recycling bins and gumming up the works! This is a positive step towards cleaning up Attleboro’s environment.

FEBRUARY, 2019 –
*CYNTHIA (Cindy) AMARA APPOINTED AS OUR NEW CITY SOLICITOR

Cindy is in City Hall on Tuesdays and is a friendly, dedicated, excellent addition to our city workforce!

*APPROVED FUNDING TO REPAIR THE TWIN VILLAGE POOL IN DODGEVILLE.
I was very sorry we couldn’t afford to replace the pool at the Memorial Park in South Attleboro. The council tries our best to keep pools and parks in good shape and adequately funded. The Dodgeville pool was open this past summer.

MARCH, 2019:
*APPROVED FUNDING TO HELP BRING THE VIETNAM MOVING WALL TO ATTLEBORO –

Many thanks to Ken, our Veteran’s Agent, for doing the work, with many volunteers, to bring the Vietnam Wall to Attleboro this past September. This was the highlight of the year in Attleboro. This wall united the entire city in giving our Vietnam veterans their due respect.

APRIL, 2019:
*** APPROVED FUNDING FOR FIRE DEPARTMENT’S NEW GEAR WASHER!
The City Council, with support from the Safety Committee, voted to purchase a gear washer & drier for the fire department on Union Street. The old washer was 24 years old and badly in need of replacement. The Council learned how crucial a modern gear washer is for protection of firefighters from cancer causing chemicals. I learned that fire fighters live to an average of their late 50-s due to a high rate of cancer. Later on in the summer, with the help of Senator Paul Feeney, a second new gear washer was approved for the South Attleboro fire station. I am hoping it arrives soon. Our fire fighters put their lives on the line to protect us. It felt real good to help protect them!

*** APPROVED FUNDING FOR READ STREET WATER MAINS AND RESTORATION:
The Council approved two million, seven hundred thousand dollars to replace the water mains on Read Street., totaling 8,800 feet of water mains. This money was borrowed. This is one example of projects in Attleboro to keep our roadways and water mains solid. It’s expensive but we need to take care of our roads and our residents all over the city. This project should go forward when warmer weather arrives.

*** APPROVED A STABILIZATION ACCOUNT TO FUND SPECIAL EDUCATION FOR THE ATTLEBORO PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
The City Council is committed to provide a solid special education program for Attleboro students. This new stabilization account provides coverage if Attleboro’s special education needs grow beyond our budgeted amounts. This acts as a rainy day account when new students enter the Attleboro school system during the year, requiring special needs education. I was very proud of our Mayor, the Council, the School Committee and the citizens of Attleboro for this stabilization account.

MAY, 2019:
*** THE BUDGET PROCESS WENT SMOOTHLY WITH NO MAJOR ISSUES. ATTLEBORO IS IN GOOD FISCAL SHAPE. THE SCHOOLS ARE HOPEFULLY GOING TO GAIN EXTRA FUNDS FROM THE RECENT EDUCATIONAL BILL PASSED BY THE LEGISLATURE. I WAS VERY IMPRESSED HOW THE COUNCIL’S BUDGET CHAIRMAN, (JAY DeLUSIO), HANDLED THE HEARINGS AND STEERED THE COUNCIL THROUGH THE VOTING PROCESS. THE COUNCIL COMPLETED THE BUDGET IN THREE WEEKS!

JUNE, 2019:
*** THE CITY COUNCIL ENTHUSIASTICALLY CONFIRMED THE APPOINTMENT OF JULIE HOBSON TO THE POSITION OF CHIEF ASSESSOR. I VERY IMPRESSED WITH JULIE’s LISTENING SKILLS. SHE KNOWS THE JOB AND WILL DO WELL.

*** THE CITY COUNCIL GRATEFULLY ACCEPTED THE ARIELLA MARIE MEMORIAL FOUNDATION’S DONATION OF PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT FOR USE AT THE TILDA E. STONE PLAYGROUND. THIS WILL BE SET UP VIA THE RECREATION DEPARTMENT, LED BY DENNIS WALSH. OUR REC DEPT. REALLY CARES FOR THE YOUTH OF ATTLEBORO!

*** APPROVED $43,050 FOR THE PURCHASE OF PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT FOR SEVEN NEW RECRUIT FIREFIGHTERS. AS OF JANUARY, 2020, THE ATTLEBORO FIREFIGHTERS ALL HAVE TWO COMPLETE SETS OF PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT. MANY THANKS TO OUR FIRE CHIEF, MAYOR HEROUX, AND FIREFIGHTER PAUL JACQUES FOR PROTECTING OUR FIREFIGHTERS.

JULY, 2019:
*** THE CITY COUNCIL ACCEPTED THE GENEROUS DONATION OF PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT FROM THE WILLETT PTO TO THE WILLETT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. NICE WORK, WILLETT PTO’ers!

*** THE CITY COUNCIL ADOPTED THE STRETCH CODE, A STATE PROGRAM TO PROMOTE ENERGY CONSERVATION. ATTLEBORO HAS OFFICIALLY BECOME A GREEN COMMUNITY AND WE WILL BE MAKING A CONCERTED EFFORT TO SAVE ENERGY THROUGHOUT OUR CITY. THIS STRETCH CODE APPLIES TO NEW HOUSING AND COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS.

*** THE COUNCIL AGREED TO REIMBURSE 17 FIRE FIGHTERS FOR THE COST OF TUITION AND BOOKS FOR SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETING COURSES IN A FIRE SCIENCE PROGRAM.

AUGUST, 2019:
*** THE COUNCIL HELD HEARINGS OVER THE SUMMER TO CONSIDER SELLING THE RICHARDSON SCHOOL AT 95 PINE STREET. THIS SCHOOL HOUSES SEVERAL SOCIAL SERVICE PROGRAMS

INCLUDING WIC, THE INTERFAITH COLLABORATIVE (formerly the Council of Churches), MASS HIRE, A CLOTHING PROGRAM RUN BY MEMBERS OF ST. VINCENT DE PAUL, AND SEVERAL OTHER WORTHY SOCIAL SERVICE PROGRAMS.
THE COUNCIL IS SUPPORTIVE OF RETAINING THE OLD SCHOOL BUILDING AND THE SOCIAL PROGRAMS. I COMMEND CITY COUNCILOR SARAH REYNOLDS AND THE CITY PROPERTY COMMITTEE FOR THEIR ADVOCACY. NOW WE CAN RETAIN THE SOCIAL SERVICE PROGRAMS IN ONE LOCATION.

SEPTEMBER, 2019:
*** THE CITY COUNCIL COMPLETED AN INVESTIGATION OF THE GAS LEAK ON TORREY STREET. WE SPOKE TO NEIGHBORS WHO WERE EVACUATED, TRIED UNSUCCESSFULLY TO SPEAK WITH COLUMBIA GAS, AND WE SPOKE WITH THE SUPERINTENDENT OF THE WATER DEPARTMENT, THE CITY COUNCIL WANTS TO SHARE OUR FINDINGS WITH THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC UTILITIES. I WANT TO COMMEND CITY COUNCILOR TODD KOBUS FOR CHAIRING THE GAS LEAK INVESTIGATION.

*** THE COUNCIL GRATEFULLY ACCEPTED THE DONATION OF FOUR NEW BACKBOARDS AND RIMS WITH A VALUE OF $5,000 FOR HYMAN FINE AND HILL ROBERTS SCHOOLS. IN ADDITION, THE ATTLEBORO YOUTH BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION ALSO DONATED 100-200 NEW BASKETBALLS TO EACH SCHOOL FOR GYM AND RECREATIONAL USAGE. THIS IS A FINE EXAMPLE OF THE STRONG CIVIC SPIRIT ATTLEBORO HAS FOR OUR SCHOOLS AND YOUTH!

OCTOBER, 2019:
*** $35,000 WAS APPROVED TO FUND A STUDY JOINTLY CONDUCTED BY THE COUNCIL ON AGING AND THE INSTITUTE OF GERENTOLOGY AT UMASS BOSTON OVER THE NEXT YEAR. THIS WILL AID THE COUNCIL ON AGING IN FUTURE PLANNING TO ADDRESS THE EVOLVING NEEDS AND INTERESTS OF ATTLEBORO’S SENIORS. THIS STUDY IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE ALMOST 25% OF ATTLEBORO’S RESIDENTS WILL BE SENIORS BY 2030.

NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER, 2019:
*** $6,199 WAS APPROVED FOR THE ATTLEBORO POLICE. THIS INCLUDES THE POLICE ACADEMY TUITION AND NEW UNIFORMS.

*** APPROVAL OF $27,200 TO ALLOW THE ATTLEBORO CULTURAL COUNCIL TO GIVE GRANTS TO CITY CULTURAL EVENTS AND ORGANIZATIONS. THIS INCLUDES MONIES TO AID THE ATTLEBORO COMMUNITY THEATRE, ONE OF MY FAVORITE CULTURAL GROUPS IN THE CITY.

*** APPROVAL OF $8,500 TO REPAIR THE TRACKS ON A BULLDOZER FOR THE WASTEWATER DEPARTMENT.

*** APPROVAL OF $55,750 TO REPLACE 50 COMPUTERS IN THE POLICE DEPARTMENT. WE ALSO APPROVED NEW COMPUTERS FOR THE COUNCIL ON AGING.

*** APPROVAL OF $29,157.05 TO REPLACE A 2003 FORD RANGER FOR THE RECREATION DEPARTMENT.

*** APPROVAL OF $150,267 TO REPLACE A SIX WHEEL DUMP TRUCK RECENTLY TAKEN OFF THE ROAD, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS.

*** ADOPTION OF AN ORDINANCE RELATIVE TO THE REGISTRATION AND MAINTENANCE OF VACANT RESIDENTIAL BUILDINGS. I COMMEND CITY COUNCILOR DIANA HOLMES AND MAYOR HEROUX FOR THIS EXCELLENT LEGISLATION.

*** ADOPTION OF A MOTION TO UPGRADE THE NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS IN THE SENIOR CITY CITIZENS PROPERTY TAX WORK-OFF ABATEMENT PROGRAM FROM 120 TO 150 PARTICIPANTS.
I COMMEND THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE FOR TAX ABATEMENT REVIEW FOR THIS LEGISLATION.

*** I COMMEND THE COUNCIL AND THE SAFETY COMMITTEE (Chaired by Peter Blais) FOR APPROVING A LOAN ORDER OF ONE MILLION, FIFTY-FOUR THOUSAND DOLLARS TO PURCHASE AND EQUIP NEW FIRE DEPARTMENT VEHICLES, INCLUDING TWO FIRE ENGINES.

It was a very busy, productive year. The city of Attleboro is solvent and looking forward to a new and prosperous decade. The City Council concluded far more business than I listed. I hope you had a happy holiday and New Year. Look forward to hearing from you in 2020.

All the best, Ty Waterman, City Councilor At-Large

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