|Greetings! Each month I keep thinking I’ll be able to say “What a relief the snow is gone.” And each month… the snow is not gone. Maybe next month!
Call Me Councilor… City Councilor
I am pleased to report that by a vote of 19-5, the Board of Aldermen voted last week to amend the City Charter to change our titles from “Alderman” to “City Councilor.” We also scrubbed the charter of other gendered references, such as changing “Chairman” to “Chair” and “School Committeemen” to “School Committee members.” The measure now must be filed by our State representatives and passed by the Legislature as a home rule petition. I was heartened by the many emails and calls of support I and other councilors-to-be received in favor of this change; many people realize that language frames our world and our understanding of who has power in our world...and we should not be referring to women as men. In comments to my colleagues that night I noted that the change was long overdue; it would have made sense to update the title in 1920 when women were granted the right to vote, or 1953 when the first woman was elected alderman, but I am thrilled that my Board colleagues saw fit to approve the change now.
Adelaide Ball, Historic Newton
The Board of Aldermen voted in December to allow residents to purchase a second meter to allow separate metering of outdoor water use. The justification for the change is that with the current single meters, homeowners who irrigate are being charged a sewer fee even though irrigation water is not going through the sewer. Residents interested in obtaining an outdoor water meter must register with the Public Utilities Division of the City of Newton by April 1st. The notice from the Mayor’s office said, “The installation can be done at any time; however, we are asking that you register your intent to install a second meter by this date so that we can account for these impacts when we review Water & Sewer rates in May 2015 for the FY 2016 budget.” The City has estimated that most residents who use at least 40 HCFs of water outdoors during the warmer weather months may want to consider investing in a second meter. (Check your bill to see how much water you use; “HCF” stands for “hundred cubic feet”) For more details visit www.newtonma.gov/secondmeter.
Newtonville Area Council
Newtonville Area Council meetings take place the second Wednesday of the month at 7pm at the Newton Senior Center, 345 Walnut Street. The next meeting is April 8th. Agendas and minutes are posted here.
Clean Energy Procurement
Working with Newton’s Energy Commission, I have organized an informational session on “Municipal Aggregation," whereby a county or municipality procures a competitive electricity supply for the entire community. (Participants can opt out at any time.)
In 2012 the City of Newton signed a 3-year contract to purchase green power through the purchase of renewable energy credits (RECs). The contract is up this year. Municipal aggregation may allow the City to:
* Stabilize and possibly reduce electricity prices;
* Protect residents from predatory offers;
* Bring more green power onto the grid by demanding a higher renewable content than the current 10% Mass. requirement;
* Create more local jobs by requiring the renewable projects to be located in Massachusetts.
The meeting is open to the public at Wed., April 1, 7:30-9:00 PM at City Hall in Room 205.
Door Knocking to Commence
One of my favorite parts of campaigning was knocking on doors. As soon as the snow melts I plan to hit the streets of Ward 2 again, to connect with voters and hear your thoughts about life in Newtonville. I haven’t set my plans yet, so if you’d like me to start on your street, let me know! Looking forward to connecting with as many residents as possible over the coming weeks.
My monthly office hours are held the last Friday of the month at the Newton Senior Center, 345 Walnut Street in Newtonville. I will be there tomorrow from 9-10AM. I hope to see you there!