Council OKs New Green Electricity Plan for All Watertown Customers with Small Savings

More solar-generated energy will be included in the electricity received by Watertown customers. Tuesday night, the Town Council cleared the way for the Town to negotiate “green” electrical contract for all residents and many business customers that will have a small savings, and will include a much larger portion generated by renewable methods. The new Community Choice Aggregation program will be an opt-out program, into which all residents, small businesses and organizations will be enrolled automatically. The goal is to have 50 percent of the energy generated by renewable sources (such as solar, wind generated and hydro), and the rate will result in an estimated savings of $7 a year, said Watertown Energy Manager and Facilities Project Manager Ed Lewis. Watertown customers will have the option of opting for a basic rate (which includes the state required amount of renewable energy), for a plan with electricity from 100 percent renewable sources, or to opt out of the program completely.

Watertown High School Students Got Up Close and Personal with a Presidential Candidate

Presidential candidate Wayne Messam, mayor of Mirimar, Fla., stopped by Watertown High School on Wednesday to speak with some students. On Wednesday morning, a group of Watertown High School students got to have their questions answered by someone who could become the Commander in Chief and Leader of the Free World. The WHS students took time away from their normal lessons to hear from presidential hopeful Mayor Wayne Messam. The Florida Democrat stopped by between campaigning in New Hampshire and an interview with a Boston Public Radio station. Messam shared his story of how he went from humble beginnings to being a football player at Florida State University, then started his own environmentally conscious construction company, become mayor of Mirmar, Fla., and now is running for the highest office in the land.

New Veterans Services Officer Hopes to Reach More Veterans, Brings in Variety of Experience

Watertown’s new Veterans Services Officer Patrick George, left, is pictured with Bill Byrne, Commandant of the Marine Corps League Shutt Detachment, and Mark Comeiro previous Watertown VSO and current Andover VSO. Watertown’s new Veterans Services Officer hopes to reach more former servicemen and women, both young and old, to make sure they are getting all the services they are entitled to for serving their country. Patrick George has been working in Watertown for just over two months, and is trying to get settled in Town Hall, and get to know local veterans groups, veterans in town and their families. He has already been busy. In May, he has already given his first budget presentation to the Town Council, helped get a memorial to a Watertown Marine killed in Vietnam approved, and will oversee the Memorial Day Parade for the first time.

Council Votes to Close Gate Between East End Park & Parking Area

The Town Council voted to close this gate to Filippello Park near the parking area at the end of Berkeley Street. A gate next to a parking area on the East End of Watertown will be closed after the Council approved a request made by nearby residents. The entrance to Filippello Park sits next to an area known as Glen Circle, which is at the end of Berkeley and Clarnedon streets. Residents of those streets have appealed multiple times to the Town to make changes in the area because they cannot find parking in the lot until the late hours of the evening and they said some park users speed down their street to get to the park, and others linger afterward drinking, smoking and making noise. Neighbors spoke about their situation in a meeting in March of the the Public Works and Human Services subcommittees.

Watertown Marine Killed in Vietnam Will be Honored with Memorial

Paul Gorman, a Watertown Marine killed in Vietnam, will have a memorial in his name on Main Street at Emerson Road. Paul Gorman was one of the nine Watertown residents killed while serving in Vietnam, but he was the only one who does not have a memorial in his honor. That will soon change, after the Town Council approved creating a memorial square in his name. His sister Bonnie attended Tuesday’s Council meeting where the memorial on the corner of Main Street and Emerson Road was approved. “This is a wonderful opportunity to honor Paul,” Bonnie said.

Council Has Mixed Views on Requesting More Liquor License, Most Eyed by Arsenal Yards

The Town Council voted to send a request to the State Legislature to allow Watertown to have 15 more liquor licenses, most of which would be taken up by tenants in the Arsenal Yards development. But the vote was not unanimous. The request for the additional licenses came from the developers of the retail/residential/office project at the former Arsenal Mall. Town Council President Mark Sideris said the situation is not unlike the project at Assembly Row in Somerville. “The project became much more than they thought it would be,” Sideris said.

Council Approves Funds for Design of Elementary School Projects

An illustration of what the new Hosmer School will likely look like when completed, The view is from the east looking at the new main entrance. The Town Council approved the first major funding piece for the $170 million reconstruction of Watertown’s three elementary schools on Tuesday night. The project will be paid for within the Town’s budget, without requiring a debt exclusion to pay for the work, Town Manager Michael Driscoll said. The Council approved a loan order for $12.441 million for design services. Town Council President Mark Sideris noted that the project, and the price tag has changes significantly.

Council Questions Staffing Level of Planning Department With All the Development in Town

Watertown’s Town Hall. With all the development going on in Watertown, and some recent controversial projects, the Town Council wondered whether the Community Development and Planning Department has the enough staff to handle it all. The questions were posed to Director of the Community Development and Planning Department (DCDP) and Assistant Town Manager Steve Magoon during the department’s budget hearing on Monday night. Development

Development has increased year after year over the past several years, and last year was the busiest, Magoon said. His department dealt with a record high 1,396 permits in 2018, up from 1,167 in 2017.