As part of the changes to the Watertown Charter all City Councilors must have an annual meeting to meet with the public. City Councilor John Gannon, a Councilor at-large, announced dates for his constituent meeting. See info below. City Councilor John Gannon’s Annual Councilor Meeting is Wednesday Dec. 13, 2023 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Lower Hearing Room in City Hall.
The City Council finalized Watertown’s budget priorities for the next fiscal year which include focuses on small business, implementing the Comprehensive Plan and Watertown Square Area Plan, the City’s shuttle bus program, and more. Many of the same guidelines returned from the 2024 Budget Policy Guidelines, including street and sidewalk repair, a 3.5 percent increase in the education budget, rodent control, launching the 311 constituent services system, and reusing the former North Branch Library
Among the guidelines are the long-standing effort to seek economic development and this year it includes a new focus on “small business, retail corridors, and emerging industry clusters.” The guidelines also include a priority to implement the updates recommended in the Comprehensive Plan update, as well as the ongoing redesign in the Watertown Square Area Plan. That plan includes redesigning the intersection, increasing housing density, strategies for small business, and better use of City owned land. This would be done, in part, by enhancing “the capabilities of the Department of Community Development and Planning by adding resources and/or redeploying existing resources to achieve the goals of the Plans.”
Lisa Feltner seeks re-election as District B Town Councilor. Thank you, District B! Thank you for your continued support this election in several ways, whether by hosting a yard sign, helping spread the good word or making a donation, which also helps continue my web presence for you. I’m excited to work with such strong Council colleagues and to continue partnering with a forward-thinking City Manager and School Committee as we improve our quality of life in Watertown together.
The City Council approved the ordinance creating a Human Rights Commission after debating whether board will hear complaints and have a role in resolving disputes. The Human Rights Commission was created as part of the changes to Watertown’s City Charter in 2021. The ordinance was drafted by the Council’s Committee on Rules & Ordinances with input from residents. Resident Rita Colafella said that the creation of the Human Rights Commission is timely. “There is strong support for the creation of the commission.
Tuesday night the City Council gave other city boards and certain City employees the ability to set “reasonable rates” for fees without getting approval from the City Council. In another item, the Council sent the item that would enforce fees and fines by attaching them to tax bills with a municipal lien to a committee for more discussion. City Manager George Proakis said that in other communities where he has worked certain fees could be changed by boards or “officers,” or designated city employees without going to the Council for a vote. “I am always looking for opportunities to create more efficient and effective processes to address the way that we work through the issues in city government,” Proakis said. He said the change allows the Watertown government to be more “flexible and creative in the way that we ensure that fees match services.”
The latest rendering of the proposed project at 104 Main St. It now has five stories, after previously having half a dozen stories. (Courtesy of O’Connor Management)
(UPDATE: The project at 104 Main St. will not be heard by the Zoning Board of Appeals Wednesday night). The final week of September is a busy one for local government in Watertown, with the project at 104 Main St.
Watertown’s primary planning document, the Comprehensive Plan, is being updated and the final draft will be reviewed and discussed at a joint meeting of the City Council and Planning Board. The City of Watertown sent out the following information:
The Comprehensive Plan is near the finish line! The final draft will be reviewed at a joint meeting of the City Council and Planning Board on Thursday, September 21, 2023. The meeting, including public comment, will start at 6:30 PM in the Council Chambers, second floor in City Hall, 149 Main Street. This draft includes changes recommended by the City Council’s Economic Development & Planning Committee. Read/download the draft (PDF).
Tony Palomba seeks re-eleciton as City Councilor At-Large. Dear Friends, Supporters, and Neighbors,
I write to invite you to my Re-election Campaign Kick Off at the home of Connie and DeWitt Henry in the West End:
Sunday, September 104:00 to 6:00 PM33 Buick Street, Watertown
There will be plenty of refreshments and great company. I will give a short speech and then invite everyone to share their ideas and concerns. It will be a lot of fun! More importantly, I write to thank you for all you do for Watertown.