Mayor Galvin was sworn in as Woburn’s 34th Mayor on January 4, 2010—his election to the corner office follows 16 years representing Ward 3 on the City Council and his work as a successful attorney in charge of a thriving downtown Woburn practice.
He led the work to capitalize on the City’s improving financial position to conservatively borrow and refinance existing debt at historically low interest rates—saving taxpayers millions of dollars in interest. Inefficiencies in city government have been streamlined, significantly increasing City cash reserve savings and strengthening the City’s financial standing.
In addition, Mayor Galvin has prioritized simultaneous, strategic investments that include infrastructure, water quality and delivery, education and schools, public safety, technology innovation, energy efficiency, recreation, healthy neighborhoods, and open space. Taxpayer costs associated with these important investments have been offset tremendously as a result of Mayor Galvin’s leadership when it comes to fruitful financial management and the successful pursuit of all available grant and funding opportunities.
He has a proven record when it comes to working on behalf of increasingly diverse neighborhoods, smart development, and aggressive measures to eliminate neighborhood blight. Mayor Galvin has also served as a staunch and fair negotiator at the table with outside organizations, vendors and unions, with a strong resolve balanced always by his responsibility to taxpayers and the City—his highest priority.
Mayor Galvin’s approach is rooted in a belief there are always ways to improve ourselves and the community in which we live. His public service is a well-known outward expression of affection and devotion to his hometown, where he grew up on the city’s West Side and graduated from Woburn High School. He went on to earn an undergraduate business management degree from Providence College, and then a law degree from the New England School of Law.
He is married to Eileen (Perry), a registered nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital, and together the Galvins have raised their four children, Kayla, Alexi, Robert, and Mackenzie, here in Woburn.
Here are some highlights of accomplishments during Mayor Galvin’s administration:
Mayor Galvin continues his work with City Departments on a new 5-Year Capital Improvement Plan for the water system, including the removal of the old Rag Rock storage tank and the cleaning and lining of water lines along Main Street, and the finalization of the design and bid of the Shaker Glen Booster Station.
The City continues to make strides in holding down MWRA sewerage costs by removing infiltration and inflow from the system, and executing plans for a complete rehabilitation of the Dix Road sewage pump station.
This forward march follows the City’s completion of construction of a new Rag Rock water storage facility, commissioning of a new, state-of-the art water treatment plant, leaning and lining of the Pearl Street water main, as well as the redevelopment of Well C2 and Well I.
The City’s purchase of 75 acres at Whispering Hill stopped the potential of a 350-plus apartment building that would have gridlocked an already busy area. $1 million in state grants, and a small meals tax initiated by Mayor Galvin, helped fund the purchase of the site. Construction of the new athletic field was recently completed to deliver additional recreation space to help complement surrounding walking paths and nature that will now preserved for generations to come. Work at the site included much-needed wetlands engineering and drainage improvements that help alleviate water runoff issues in the neighborhood.
Mayor Galvin also negotiated the acquisition of several acres at Spence Farm, which is now home to a popular Farmer’s Market, community fruit orchard and gathering place for community events all year long. The purchase of this land was also targeted to preserve an historic piece of farmland, and prevent additional, encroaching development in another neighborhood that has experienced challenges with rainwater runoff.
Other work includes his leadership in investments to replace aging and unsafe public park equipment at Library Field and Weafer Park.
Shortly after taking office, Mayor Galvin launched Be Well Woburn, a citywide initiative that encourages community members to strengthen their health and well-being through educational programs and wellness activities. Its mission is to promote community wellness by enhancing opportunities to make healthy lifestyle choices.
Mayor Galvin approved a 4.1 increase for the FY 2014 School Department budget. Notwithstanding this healthy increase, the School Department faces continued budgetary pressure due to escalating mandatory Special Education expenses, which result in a greater share of the budget being diverted from other educational needs.
Mayor Galvin is the first mayor to establish a separate fund ($300,000) dedicated to escalating, out-of-district special education costs to prevent a lack of funding for other academic programs.
Mayor Galvin oversaw the construction and completion of the new Goodyear Elementary School with the help of support and funding from the Massachusetts School Building Authority. That successful work has been extended, as Mayor Galvin, the School Committee, members of the City Council and the Massachusetts School Building Authority embark on plans to build a new Wyman/Elementary School—as part of a larger plan to rebuild aging elementary school buildings, and provide educational parity for all of Woburn’s young students.
Mayor Galvin also worked with Massachusetts School Building Authority officials, School Committee and members of the City Council, to obtain grant funding that paid 50 percent of eligible costs for the installation of new roofs at the Kennedy and Joyce Middle Schools.
Economic development and Woburn’s location have long supported the City’s strong tax base and helped keep Woburn affordable. A longtime business owner himself, Mayor Galvin has prioritized support for local businesses and new responsible growth where it makes the most sense—in commercial districts, particularly Commerce Way, New Boston Street and the former Grace site.
Mayor Galvin lobbied successfully on behalf of the City, and in June 2013, Woburn earned designation as an Economic Target Area—part of a state program that helps businesses and developers obtain state and local tax incentives in exchange for certain employment and private investment commitments. Mayor Galvin’s cooperative work with local and state officials to achieve progressive, sensible and measured economic development that benefits the City and its residents continues.
Under Mayor Galvin’s leadership, the City of Woburn has also been designated a “Platinum Community,” the top-ranking award as part of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council’s BioReady Community Campaign, conducted with the support of MassEcon and regional organizations throughout the Commonwealth.
The distinction places Woburn in a leading economic role, along with cities such as Boston and Cambridge, as a municipality working to increasingly adopt local policies that greatly ease the pathway for renovation and new construction of biotech laboratories and manufacturing facilities.
Mayor Galvin is the first Woburn Mayor to serve on the Boston Regional Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). He was elected in 2011 to represent the best interests of Woburn and surrounding cities and towns in the North Suburban area. The MPO is responsible for conducting the federally required transportation planning for the Boston metropolitan area and where to allocate federal and state transportation funds for roads, transit, bicycle and pedestrian projects.
His important work with the MPO has resulted in the programming of $4.7 million toward the widening of Woburn’s Montvale Avenue for .35 miles beginning near the intersection with Route 93 and west to Central Street, including improvements to the Washington Street intersection, in the FY2014 – FY 2017 Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP). In addition, $5 million was approved to replace the bridge on Salem Street over the MBTA right of way and $5.4 million to construct Tri-Community Bikeway in Woburn, Winchester, and Stoneham.
The safety of every resident remains one of Mayor Galvin’s top priorities. With the support of the City Council and leadership of a capable Chief, the Police Department consists of more police officers than at any time in the past 20 years.
Recent public safety projects include a new roof at the Police Station and completion of a new, state-of-the-art dispatch center—both accomplished with funding aid and without bonding. Mayor Galvin initiated Fire Department capital outlays in the City’s most recent budget to include two new vehicles, repairs to Ladder 1 and turnout gear. He also included a line item aimed at investigating design plan possibilities and cost estimates for a new fire station.
Mayor Galvin initiated an increase in the annual real estate tax bill reimbursement seniors can earn. The measure, which increases the annual reimbursable amount to $1,000, helps seniors on a fixed income stay in their longtime homes—and also helps the City retirees who want to share their skills and time to help supplement a lean workforce. He extended that measure with the creation of a similar tax work-off program for veterans.
Mayor Galvin understands technology is a critical, interrelated function of any business or organization. He has lead the charge to adopt technologies with that goal in mind, including work to improve the City’s website, recently redesigned to create a better, more attractive and more useful online experience for residents.
Mayor Galvin’s request for a much-needed and overdue full-time IT Director was approved by the City Council this year. In a creative financial move to fund the position with minimal impact to the budget, Mayor Galvin requested the Council re-establish the Technology Revolving Fund—to be credited with cable receipts to offset City technology expenses and save taxpayers money.
Adoption of other technologies and solutions during Mayor Galvin’s administration includes a new requirement of calibration equipment to measure the amount of salt administered on winter roads—to reduce the amount of salt in our water and save money.
Mayor Galvin believes it is the responsibility of every community to pursue energy efficiency measures, large renewable energy projects, and innovative methods that use less fossil fuel.
He led City efforts to earn designation as a “Green Community” from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, which awarded the City of Woburn $231,925 to fund green initiatives such as energy-efficient lighting at the Woburn Police Station and the Kennedy Middle School. Woburn received the largest chunk of funding among the first six Massachusetts communities—funding that also supported the City’s installation of 1,800 LED streetlights throughout the City, estimated to save taxpayers more than $100,000.
Mayor Galvin also worked with City Councilors and a range of City Departments to complete a comprehensive long-term energy baseline and capital improvement plan that forecasts a 20-percent reduction in the city’s energy usage within five years. Several policies, including a new fuel-efficient vehicle plan that also reduces the City’s reliance on gasoline, will have a long ranging, positive effect on the community.
Under Mayor Galvin’s leadership, the City has earned three consecutive state Community Innovation Challenge grants aimed at initiatives that promote transparency, which fosters a spirit of collaboration and accountability, says Mayor Galvin, which is vital to a successful government and excellence in the delivery of services.
Most recently, Mayor Galvin and other City officials met to finalize plans to launch an web-based Open Checkbook program, which will deliver easily accessible information related to municipal spending vie the City’s website. In this way, the program is aimed at a better understanding in the way citizens and municipalities understand each other.
Woburn has also been singled out by the state as a leader for its success in launching and utilizing mobile, web-based software (SeeClickFix) that allows citizens to participate in the care of their community by reporting non-emergency issues such as potholes and broken streetlights from their phone or computer. The single, integrated system has been well received and not only helps City Departments utilize technology to improve citizen request tracking, it also allows citizens to log on and see where the request stands, in real time.
Mayor Galvin’s door remains open, as it has since the day he stepped into the corner office. He welcomes residents with questions or concerns to stop by his office at City Hall.
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