2020 Inaugural Address: Mayor Galvin Sets Goals That Build on Strong Growth, Finances and Management

MAYOR SCOTT D. GALVIN

INAUGURAL ADDRESS

CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS

JANUARY 6, 2020

Good evening.  I am honored to be here tonight with my wife Eileen and our family, my mother, friends and loyal campaign helpers.  Their support, along with the confidence of Woburn voters, has allowed me to continue our work together in a job I truly love.  I’m grateful to them, and to those dedicated City employees who consistently give the best of themselves to help make the City of Woburn a better place to live, work and raise a family.

Thank you to my assistant Marie Lingblom and Lori Medeiros for organizing this evening’s Inaugural Exercises. Thanks to our Woburn Police Honor Guard for leading us in tonight. Thanks to Sandy Heimlich for the colorful floral arrangements, Larry Rideout for serving as our Master of Ceremonies and to Father Richard Clancy for being here to offer blessings for all of us. We are also very pleased to have local musician Fred Dominici and his band provide musical selections for this evening’s Inaugural Exercises.

To the re-elected members of the City Council and School Committee, congratulations on earning another term of service. And a special shout out to newly elected Alderman-at-Large Robert Ferullo, Ward 3 Alderman Jeff Dillon and School Committee members Andrew Lipsett and Colleen Cormier. I’d also like to congratulate Deb Davis on her recent election as President of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees.

We are also happy to have State Representatives Richard Haggerty and Michelle Ciccolo here this evening. Thank you for already making a difference on Beacon Hill for Woburn residents during your first terms.  I look forward to working with all of you over the next two years to ensure Woburn remains affordable, progressive and prosperous.

Thank you to outgoing Alderman Mark Gaffney for your 10 years of service and retiring School Committee members Rick Metters and Joe Demers for a job well done. We are also happy to have retired State Rep. Jim Dwyer here. We are grateful for your 10 years of dedicated service to the City of Woburn.

It is an awesome privilege to participate in the Inaugural Exercises for the City of Woburn’s Government on this 6th day of 2020, and present the Inaugural Address to the hard-working citizens of our great City. I have participated in every City Inauguration since 1994—when I was first sworn in as Ward 3 Alderman, my daughters Kayla and Alexi were just 3 and 1 at the time, and they both slept through the ceremony.

Although I am truly grateful and blessed for tonight’s opportunity to address the City, I promise to be brief to avoid a repeat of 1994.

My work as your Mayor has been my most challenging and rewarding job—and it’s never been clearer that our strength, and our hallmark, is found in our people. My motivation to serve lies in the meaningful relationships forged not just during my tenure as Mayor, but over my life here in Woburn.

My wife Eileen and I raised our family here, our friends and extended family live here, and we’ve both been honored to be a part of your lives—whether it’s celebrating the memory of loved ones, a birthday, or our historic past, participating in fundraisers, Senior Center events and road races, applauding our young scholars, athletes and artists, or the many accomplishments of local people and organizations, or even just sharing some time at one of our fun community events hosted by a growing list of committed residents and civic groups.

These are the times I’ve had the opportunity to meet with people, discuss their concerns, offer assistance whenever and wherever we can, and share our mutual pride in fostering our cultural diversity, evolving neighborhoods and support for one another.

Over the next two years, we will continue to focus on the important issues that strengthen our community and make Woburn an inviting, affordable and desirable place to live, work and raise a family.

These include strong fiscal management, good schools and learning opportunities, quality jobs, recreational activities and facilities, safe neighborhoods, energy efficiency, sustainability, smart growth, innovation, continued investments in City infrastructure, and an open-door policy at City Hall.

Our commitment and ability to implement sound and timely financial and operational decisions are predicated on our very strong management, financial policies and practices, which have ensured and allowed us to deliver unrivaled services to our residents in an affordable, responsible and efficient manner.

Under my leadership, the City’s financial standing, as evidenced by our new AAA bond rating, has never been better. I take great pride in the progress and accomplishments we, as a City, have made together. Our successful work has been—and remains, a collaborative effort among my office, City department heads, employees, boards and commissions, the City Council, School Committee and, most importantly, the citizens of Woburn.

Grant Funding Successes, Projects

This year we will continue to leverage grant opportunities from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources Green Communities division with additional local funding to implement energy savings improvements and efficiency across the City.

We have successfully utilized more than $1.5 million in Green Communities grant funding over the years to implement energy savings improvements and efficiency across the City. Energy efficiency projects have included LED lighting upgrades, source heat pumps, refrigeration control upgrades, retro-commissioning, electric and Hybrid vehicle replacements, and boiler replacements, and LED street lights.

We continue to be a leader in solar energy production, and most recently completed the installation of a 300-kilowatt solar panel array on the roof of the Joyce Middle School anticipated to yield energy savings in excess of $25,000 per year.

The Joyce Middle School solar energy system is our third installed in the City. Additional solar panels will also be installed on the Hurld Wyman Elementary School and the Goodyear Elementary School this year. The solar panels will produce clean energy, which will be used right at the site to power these schools.

We have also delivered substantial savings as a result of two previously completed solar array projects. The hugely successful, 3.4-megawatt solar farm built on the former land fill has generated more than $1.3 million in net metering revenue for the City over the last two years. And our 260-kilowatt solar system on the Kennedy Middle School roof has generated more than $30,000 a year in energy savings for the School Department.

In furtherance of our proactive approach to plan and become more resilient against the effects of climate change, we will use a State Municipal Vulnerability Grant to address flood control at the Horn Pond Brook.

We are also in the final process of developing a complete streets prioritization plan, which, when approved this year, will make the City eligible for grant funding for the construction of street improvements. In addition, we will use funding from an innovation/technology grant for water analytics and to monitor water loss in real time.

Lastly, we were recently awarded a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and Governor Baker to purchase a new diesel dump truck for the DPW, which will replace an older truck and greatly reduce harmful emissions and carbon.

Capital Investments and Projects

As always, we will continue to make planned, measured and affordable investments in City infrastructure and equipment. Our responsible five-year capital plan includes expenditures spread across City departments.

We have carefully planned a number of important, major capital projects for the City and recently completed the Woburn Public Library and Hurld Wyman Elementary School. Both projects were offset and subsidized by generous grant funding from the State.

We also completed a significant capital project at Clapp Park that will enhance recreational opportunities in the City. The new multipurpose park at the old Clapp School site was completed during the summer with the assistance of a grant from the State.

In addition, the City will be completing construction on its first dog park, adjacent to Ferullo Field in North Woburn with the substantial assistance of a grant from The Stanton Foundation.

As planned, the construction of a new Fire Department headquarters will be the next major capital project the city will undertake. This year, in accordance with the five-year capital plan, we will seek funding and approval for the construction of a new central headquarters for the Woburn Fire Department and renovations to the remaining stations. The Fire Station Building Committee has been meeting since last October conducting a feasibility study to evaluate existing stations, develop alternatives and provide preliminary costs of the capital investment.

The Committee has recommended a plan that will cost $30.5 million, which will include a new headquarters for $23.5 million, and the renovation and upgrade of the three remaining stations. To move this important public safety project forward, I have submitted an application for approval by the City Council of a special permit for the construction of a 36,000-square-foot fire headquarters on 3.5 acres of existing City land at Forest Park abutting Main Street.

The Construction of the New Boston Street Bridge is also on the five-year capital plan, and is programed on the TIP for construction beginning in the fall of 2021. Since the closure of the New Boston Street Bridge in the 1970s, travel, economic development and access to and from Interstate 93 have been impacted negatively.

We have been working to reopen the Bridge and have convinced the Metropolitan Planning Organization this is an important regional project that will have a positive impact on economic development and traffic congestion.

We have completed the 75-percent design phase with final refinements to 100-percent design expected by the end of this fiscal year. State and federal funds will pay for the construction of the $16.5 million Bridge, which is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2021 and completed in 18 months.

The Montvale Avenue widening capital project is well under way and scheduled for completion by the end of this year. Construction costs are being funded by the State, and the much-needed improvements will help alleviate traffic congestion leaving and entering the City via Montvale Avenue and Washington Street, and will also reduce vehicle emissions, carbon and fuel consumption.

Moving Forward, Growth, Schools

The City continues to show signs of solid growth, as evidenced by the strong volume of building permits issued by the Building Department, as well as visible daily construction activities across the City.

We expect this growth and construction activity to continue in 2020, highlighted by the permitting and build-out of the new Woburn Mall and Atlantic Gelatin mixed-use revitalization developments.

The City’s strategic location at the intersection of Routes 93 and 128, coupled with our attractive commercial tax rate, the Anderson Regional Transportation Center and Commuter Rail, and expedited permitting make Woburn an excellent place to locate and grow a business.

We have also been targeted as a desirable location for multi-housing family projects, and have permitted a number in the Commerce Way area considered to be smart growth due to their proximity to Anderson Station, including the Woburn Mall and Emery Flats. These developments will help the City get closer to achieving our 10-percent affordable housing production plan goal and avoiding forced 40B affordable housing developments in unwanted locations.

As we move forward, it is also critically important the City avoids approving unnecessarily dense housing projects in neighborhoods, and remains focused on responsible commercial and smart-transit-oriented, mixed-use developments with long-term city benefits that create local jobs and contribute to a stronger tax base.

As we begin this new decade, we also urge everyone to participate in this year’s U.S. Census. The information you provide is critical to determining federal and state funding, forecasting important statistics such as future housing needs, the number of representatives we have in Congress as well as state and local government. So don’t forget to take a few minutes and participate.

Our past and continued commitment to solid school funding has helped the Superintendent and the School Committee create a solid 3-to-5-year educational plan with a number of important initiatives that support teachers and students as we continue moving forward together:

  • Adding adjustment counselors at each of our 10 schools to help meet the growing social and emotional needs of all our students.
  • The addition of curriculum leaders to support the alignment of our pre-K-12 curriculum to ensure our students are prepared when they leave the Woburn Public Schools.
  • The increase at the elementary level to support having music and art every week, which will also allow for more collaboration and professional development for teachers.
  • The creation of a Human Resources Department to actively recruit talented educators, and support our staff needs.
  • Elementary School content specialists.

It is important that this collaboration and commitment to improving our schools continues so our students have the skills to succeed in any endeavor they choose.

Thank you for listening. As always, my door at City Hall is always open and you’re welcome to stop in anytime.

Good night, and may God bless all of you, our beautiful City, and the United States of America.

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