Snow Closes Watertown Schools, Delays Opening of Town Buildings

Snow started early Tuesday and will get much heavier during the day. Watertown School officials closed the Public Schools Tuesday due to the snowfall. Also, town facilities will open late due to the storm. A Watertown Public Schools Twitter post sent out Monday night reads:

“Due to the timing of the storm that is predicted for tonight and into the morning hours, all Watertown Public Schools, including the offices, will be closed tomorrow, December 3.” Watertown Town Hall, the Library and the Senior Center will open at 10 a.m. due to the snow storm, according to an alert sent out by the Town Administration.

See the Property Tax Rates Recommended to be Adopted by Town Council

Watertown Town Hall

Tuesday night, the Town Council will hear the annual Tax Classification hearing presentation from Town Assessor Earl Smith, which calls for increasing the break given to owner-occupied homes and condos in Watertown. According to the Assessor’s presentation the recommended tax rate for Fiscal Year 2020 will see bills go up between $169 and $281 for owner occupied properties which receive the residential exemption, and three-family homes would actually see their bills go down. Smith’s presentation includes a recommendation to increase the residential exemption, which is given to homes which are the primary residence of the owner. “The Board of Assessors recommends increasing the residential exemption to 24 percent for FY2020. The Board’s intention, at this time, is to further recommend an increase in FY2021 to 25 percent.

OP-ED: Details of Hands Free Cell Phone Bill Being Considered at State House

State Sen. Will Brownsberger

The following piece was provided by State Sen. Will Brownsberger, D – Belmont, who also represents Watertown and parts of Boston:

On Nov. 18, House and Senate conferees filed their report on the hands-free cell phone safety bill. The bill is virtually certain to be approved by both branches and to become law shortly. The new hands-free rules will take effect in late February 2020, but violations will be handled with warnings through March 31, 2020. Under the new law, you can talk to your cell phone, but you cannot touch or even look at it while driving, except in true emergency.

Town, BB&N School Seek Fields Partnership, Must Get Land from Cemetery, First

A drawing of the proposed playing fields that BB&N School wants to build on Grove Street. The land currently belongs to Mount Auburn Cemetery. Officials from the Town of Watertown and Buckingham Browne & Nichols School enthusiastically touted a proposed public-private partnership involving playing fields in East Watertown, Tuesday night. There is one major hurdle, however — the land is owned by the Mount Auburn Cemetery. At the Town Council meeting, BB&N Head of School Jennifer Price outlined the proposed partnership involving a new playing field complex the private independent school would like to build on Grove Street in exchange for the school having access to fields at Town-owned Filippello Park.

Newly Elected Councilors At-Large Talk About Their Priorities for the Next Term

Watertown Town Hall

The winners of the big race in the 2019 Watertown Election, the Council At-Large seats, can now look forward to what they would like to do over their next two years on the Council. The four winners, Anthony Donato, Tony Palomba, Caroline Bays and John Gannon, each talked about issues they would like to make a priority. Tony Palomba got the second most votes in the election, and returns for a sixth term on the Council. He said that his level of community engagement and his work to help those most in need appealed to voters. Palomba said he would like to “Continue to move the needle on creating affordable housing in Watertown.”

See How Candidates Did in Each of Watertown’s Precincts

A map of Watertown’s Districts: Peach is A, Red is B, Lime Green is C, Green is D.

The winning candidates in Watertown’s race for Town Councilor At-Large topped the voting in each precinct, but they split who won each of the town’s 12 precincts. See that and where other candidates fared best in the 2019 Town Election. Anthony Donato, who won got the highest vote total, with 2,657, won six precincts (Pcts. 1, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12). Tony Palomba, whose 2,556 was second highest, won in four precincts (Pcts.

UPDATED: Gannon Joins Council Incumbents as Winners in Watertown Election

John Gannon thanked his supporters after being elected to the Town Council Tuesday night. Here he and his campaign manager Kat Powers are shown at the gathering held at The Talk Restaurant. Watertown voters returned the three incumbent Councilors At-Large to the Town Council during Tuesday’s Town Election, and newcomer John Gannon took the fourth seat. The race was the lone contested one on the 2019 ballot. With results from all 12 precincts in, Anthony Donato had the most votes, with 2,657, narrowly ahead of Tony Palomba’s 2,556.