With State Funds Still Unknown, Town Council Delays Budget; Officials Expect Loss of Other Revenues

Watertown’s Town Hall. In a normal year, Watertown officials would be starting the Town Budget process now, but after “all hell broke loose” with the Coronavirus, the Town Council voted to delay the process until they can get an idea of how much money will be coming from the state and other sources, such as local meals and hotel taxes. On March 10, when the Town Council last met, they voted to give Town officials two extra weeks to submit the budget, moving the date back to April 28. Town Council President Mark Sideris said the world changed quickly after that. “As soon as we made that vote, for lack of a better word, all hell broke loose,” Sideris said before asking the Town Council to further delay in the submission of the budget.

State Sen. Brownsberger Co-Hosting Online Town Hall on COVID-19

State Sen. Will Brownsberger

State Sen. Will Brownsberger and State Rep. Dave Rogers will be hosing a Town Hall meeting online Thursday night. The following announcement was provided by Sen. Brownsberger:

State Representative Dave Rogers and I will host a Zoom Town Hall on Thursday, April 16 at 7:00 PM to discuss the state’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic and answer questions submitted by viewers.  

To join the Zoom Meeting, please use the information below:

Link: https://zoom.us/j/94791210043

Meeting ID: 947 9121 0043 

The Town Hall will also stream live on the Belmont Media Center website and Facebook page.  

Will BrownsbergerState Senator — 2nd Suffolk and Middlesex DistrictBack Bay, Fenway, Brighton, Allston, Watertown, Belmont

OP-ED: What Do We Know and What Don’t We Know About COVID-19?

State Sen. Will Brownsberger

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

We all now know that the coronavirus is loose in the community and anyone could be unknowingly spreading it. We’ve all seen the terrifying exponential growth curves that project need for hospital beds peaking well above available supply. And we understand that by social distancing, we can bend the disease curve down, lower the peak hospital demand and gain time so that the hospital system has more time to prepare. What we don’t know is whether we have done as much as we should to check the spread of the virus and what the benefits of additional measures would be. Tomas Pueyo has written one of the more widely read analyses of our current uncertainties: The Hammer and the Dance. His basic argument is that we should be coming down as hard as we can on social distancing initially to buy time (the “hammer”), and that after a few weeks of maximal social distancing, we can let up some while doing widespread testing, contact tracing, and isolation to make sure we don’t reignite community spread (the “dance”).

See the Results of Sen. Brownsberger’s Poll on the State’s Coronavirus Response

State Sen. Will Brownsberger

A majority of people who took State Sen. Will Brownsberger’s poll on Massachusetts’ response to the Coronavirus said they don’t think the state has gone far enough to stop the spread, would be willing to shelter-in-place for a few weeks and believe they are financially secure for a year. Brownsberger, who represents Watertown, Belmont and parts of Boston, put up the poll over the weekend, and asked four questions. “The surprising result of the survey is that willingness to increase social distancing appears, at least in this sample of people engaged in the community, to have only modest relationship to age, zipcode, financial security or current working arrangement,” Brownsberger wrote in his post about the poll results. The first question, about Massachusetts’ response to COVID-19, found that 54 percent of the 3,259 people who took the poll said the state “did not go far enough,” 42 percent said they state is getting it just right, while 3 percent checked “We have gone too far.” Note that the poll went up before Gov. Baker’s order to close non-essential businesses and the stay-at-home advisory.

State Sen. Brownsberger Polling People About State’s Response to Coronavirus

State Sen. Will Brownsberger

State Sen. Will Brownsberger is taking an anonymous poll of constituents about Massachusetts’ response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), so far. (See the results here: http://www.watertownmanews.com/2020/03/24/see-the-results-of-sen-brownsbergers-poll-on-the-states-coronavirus-response/)

The short questionnaire (four questions) asks people what they think about the steps taken by the State of Massachusetts, including closing schools, potentially sheltering in place and how it has impacted them. To take the poll go here: https://willbrownsberger.com/covid-19-response-questions/

Brownsberger represents Watertown, Belmont and parts of Boston.

OP-ED: Cancel It if You Can – Taking Responsibility for Controlling the Pandemic

State Sen. Will Brownsberger

Will Brownsberger is the State Senator for Watertown, Belmont and parts of Boston:

The pandemic will eventually touch many of us. What matters most is the speed of the pandemic. If the virus spreads too fast and too many of us are sick at the same time, we will overwhelm the health care system. People may not be able to get the care they need – for the virus or for any other health problem.  That’s what is starting to happen now in Italy. Doctors are discussing how to make brutal triage decisions effectively condemning weaker patients to die. We need to slow the virus down and since none of us are immune and there is no vaccine yet, we have only one way to protect our community:  To reduce unnecessary contact.

OP-ED: Details of Mass. Senate’s Climate Change Bills

State Sen. Will Brownsberger

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

The Senate Ways and Means Committee just released a bold, thoughtful and comprehensive package of bills designed to accelerate our move away from fossil fuels. The package is being well-received by many environmental leaders and I look forward to voting for it very soon. Back in 2008, I had a hand in passing the Global Warming Solutions Act which set the state on a course to reducing greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. The present package recognizes the latest science and amends the GWSA to set a stronger long-term target – net zero emissions in 2050. 

The package makes the planning process stronger by making the emission reduction targets more detailed: It requires definition of stringent short and medium term targets for each sector of the economy.  It also requires more timely reporting on progress. The package mandates that the Secretary of Environmental Affairs implement “market based compliance mechanisms” to achieve emission reduction goals. “Market based compliance mechanisms” include carbon fees and cap-and-trade systems that put a price on carbon emissions. Most economists believe that this is the most effective kind of approach to transforming our economy – letting people and businesses make their own price-informed choices in the market as to how to reduce emissions.

Sen. Brownsberger Hosting Town Halls on Transportation, the Census

State Sen. Will Brownsberger

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

Senator Brownsberger is hosting a series of Town Halls for each community in January – February 2020. These town halls will focus on Transportation, as well as the 2020 Census. Logistics about the upcoming town hall taking place in your community can be found below:

Watertown

Date: Tuesday, January 28thTime: 6:00PMLocation: Watertown Free Public Library (123 Main St, Watertown, MA 02472), Savings Bank Meeting Room

Fenway & Back Bay

More information about the January 22nd Town Hall can be found here: https://willbrownsberger.com/january-22-back-bay-transportation-2020-census-town-hall/

Brighton & Allston

Date: Tuesday, February 4thTime: 6:00PMLocation: Presentation School Foundation Community Center (640 Washington St, Brighton, MA 02135)

Belmont

Date: Tuesday, February 11thTime: 6:00PMLocation: Belmont Public Library (336 Concord Ave, Belmont, MA 02478, USA), Assembly Room