Councilor Emily Izzo Announces Date of Annual Public Meeting

Emily Izzo, District D City Councilor. All City Councilors hold an annual meeting to meet with the public, and District D City Councilor Emily Izzo announced the date of her meeting. See info below. District D City Councilor Emily Izzo’s Individual Annual City Councilor Meeting is Monday, April 8, 2024 from 6-7:30 p.m. in the Community Room at the Watertown Police Station, 552 Main St., Watertown, MA.

City Seeks Residents to Serve on Blue Ribbon Committee on City Council Salaries

Watertown City Hall

The following announcement was provided by the City of Watertown:

The City Council is seeking individuals who live in, work in, or own property in Watertown to apply to serve on the Blue Ribbon Committee to examine the salaries of City Councilors. The Blue Ribbon Committee’s duties will be to study the salary received by City Councilors and the Council President for their service and make recommendations on a methodology and process for salaries to be set going forward, including a recommendation for the 2026-2027 Council salary. The committee will receive staff support from Municipal Policy Analyst Doug Newton. The committee’s final recommendations will be presented to the City Council no later than at the December 10, 2024 City Council meeting. The committee’s recommendations must be decided on by the Council by June 2025.

City Manager Submits Nominees for Watertown Human Rights Commission

Starting with a pool of 28 applicants, City Manager George Proakis selected a group of nine people which is “very diverse with a very interesting mix of backgrounds” to nominate for Watertown’s first Human Rights Commission. The changes to Watertown’s Charter approved by voters in 2021 included the creation of a Human Rights Commission. More than two years later, the inaugural group of commissioners were submitted by Proakis to the City Council on Tuesday. “This one has been a complicated and long process to get us to this point,” Praokis said. The City Council adopted the ordinance to create the Human Rights Commission in September 2023, and in December 2023 Proakis sent out notice that he was seeking applicants for the Commission.

City Considering Going to Half Days on Fridays All Year Long

Photo by Charlie BreitroseWatertown City Hall

City Manager George Proakis asked the City Council to consider changing the hours for City Hall, along with the Senior Center, to half days on Fridays because it would help with recruitment of employees and added that Friday afternoons are slow for City departments. The proposal would impact City Hall, the Parker Annex and the Senior Center, and would make the hours they are open to the public 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays; and Fridays 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Typically, Watertown City Hall has hours of 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday most of the year, and during the summer it is open until 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and closes at 2 p.m. on Fridays. Many city and town governments have half days on Fridays for the entire year, Proakis said. City officials examined open hours for neighboring communities, and those communities that are comparable to Watertown. They found that 12 of the 18 communities have full-year half-day Fridays.

Committee of Residents Will Make Recommendation for City Councilors’ Salaries

Watertown City Hall

A committee of residents and property owners will be created to study what salary should be paid to Watertown City Councilors. On Tuesday night, Councilors unanimously voted to create a Blue Ribbon Committee to study salaries. City Council salaries must be approved by the Council, and when approved they do not take effect until the following term. In January 2023, the Council approved an increase of $1,200 per year to $8,700 a year for the Councilors and a $1,500 increase to $12,000 for the Council President. The increase was based on a 2.5 percent raise per year from 2018 to 2024.

This Week: Short Term Rentals, Increase Tax Exemptions & Study of City Council Salaries

The Planning Board will hold a public hearing on whether to allow short-term rentals in Watertown. A City Council committee will look at increasing the exemption allowed on personal property, which would reduce the burden on businesses. The full Council will meet Tuesday and discuss establishing a committee to examine Councilor salaries. Monday night at 6 p.m., the City Council’s Committee on Budget and Fiscal Oversight will discuss increasing the personal property tax exemption from $5,000 to $10,000. The Watertown Business Coalition supports the idea, saying it would give some tax relief to small businesses.

Memorials Approved to Honor Armenian Genocide Survivor & Little Girl Who Loved Reading

Watertown City Hall

A survivor of the Armenian Genocide and a young girl who loved reading will be commemorated with memorials to be installed in Watertown. On Feb. 13, the City Council approved having a bench and a little library installed on City property. Memorial Bench

The bench commemorates Nazar Ohanessian, a survivor of the 1915 Armenian Genocide who settled on Quimby Street. He left Turkey and spent time in Northern Greece and Athens in the 1940s during the German occupation during World War II.