Mayor’s State of the City Address

The Honorable Mayor Scott Galvin
State of the City Address
City Council Chambers, Woburn City Hall
January 19, 2021

Good evening honorable members of the Woburn City Council, State Representative Rich
Haggerty and Members of our State Delegation, School Committee, City Board Members,
Department Heads, Staff, Guests and residents at home.

I am grateful and honored for the opportunity to present this year’s State of the City address to
the good citizens of our great City. Thank you to my wife, Eileen and our children for your love
and support over the past year.

The past year has been a year like no other. I think back to last January’s Inaugural Ceremony,
which seems like light years ago, and the stark contrast to this year’s State of the City Address.
Last year we had a full house with family, residents, friends and City worker’s sitting and
standing shoulder to shoulder for the Inauguration of our City’s newly elected officials.

Little did we know at the time how drastically our lives would change. A new reality that none
of us could have imagined or anticipated. Tragically, the corona virus was growing and
spreading in China as we celebrated the City’s Inaugural exercise last January—soon to become
a worldwide pandemic.

We have lived through some hard times in the past, but this virus has inflicted an unprecedented
crisis on all of us. It has claimed the lives of too many of our dearest citizens and has touched
every one of us and every aspect of our lives.

Local business owners have suffered devastating financial losses, their operations severely
curtailed or forced to close due to State restrictions to protect the health of our residents. Despite
Federal, State and local aide, many business owners will never recover.

It has been said that a crisis builds character, but it also reveals character. As I stand in front of
you tonight, I have never been prouder of our City, nor have I ever been prouder to be your
Mayor. We are a great City because we are made up of incredibly strong willed and caring
people.

I have seen neighbors looking after their elderly neighbors; I have seen resident groups forming
on social media to support one another and charitable causes for those in need; I have seen
residents supporting local businesses and restaurants in an effort to support them in gratitude for
their unwavering support of our community’s cherished local traditions and charitable
organizations; I have seen people painfully staying away from loved ones during the Holiday
season in order to keep them safe and healthy.

Across this City, I have seen so many sacrifices being made for the benefit of others in big and
small ways, and it moves me as I’m sure it moves all of you.

Our City also remains strong because of our dedicated work force. Our first responders, health
care professionals, and City employees have reported to work continuously each day in service
of our community—right from the onset of the pandemic and in spite of the personal risk to
themselves and their families.

Our Police Department have done an outstanding job keeping our residents and City safe and
always with bravery, compassion and professionalism.

The Woburn Fire Department has worked tirelessly and courageously on the front lines,
providing leadership in the faithful delivery of EMS and fire safety services to our residents and
businesses as the corona virus spread in our households and the community they serve and
protect.

Our DPW has also continued to go above and beyond. In addition to paving our streets, repairing
and replacing water mains and managing numerous public works and building projects—they
serve as vital support to the public safety efforts of our first responders.

City Hall Department Heads and employees have provided uninterrupted service to our residents
since the pandemic began. They are dedicated professionals and staff who have been
instrumental in implementing innovative best practices that continue to benefit residents and save
taxpayer dollars.

The Board of Health staff has worked tirelessly to track Covid cases, follow up with contact
tracing, update residents and employees on new CDC guidance, provide support and logistics for
free Covid testing and clinics for the administration of vaccines.

Our teachers, administrators, and custodians have met and excelled in the difficult challenge of
simultaneously educating our students both virtually and in person. They all deserve a big shout
out for their collective commitment to safely and compassionately provide our children with
education in the classroom.

With the strong support and approval of the City Council, we have used CARES Act funds to
support struggling families and businesses during the corona virus pandemic, including:
• Funding to ensure all students were provided lap top computers to assist with virtual
learning; and
• Funding to provide daily free breakfast and lunch for Senior Citizens in need; and
• Funding for assisted learning centers at the Woburn Boys & Girls Club and the YMCA to
allow students in hybrid model to receive additional in person learning and help parents
continue working; and
• Funding to provide free weekly Covid testing for all residents and City employees; and
• Funding for administrative costs to run free vaccine clinic.

Working together, we were also able to use $3.5 million of our reserves strategically to lower the
tax bill for Woburn residents and businesses providing much needed financial.

Although we are experiencing a surge in new corona virus cases, there is reason to be optimistic
and hopeful for better days to come. The approval and rollout of the Moderna and Pfizer
vaccines will stop the spread of the virus and help us return to our normal way of life. Governor
Charlie Baker and the Mass Department of Public Health are building out infrastructure across
the Commonwealth to ensure the vaccine is available to everyone in a planned, phased approach.

The City of Woburn was approved to administer the vaccine to our First Responders, which we
started successfully last week. In addition, we advised Mass DPH that we will continue
administering the vaccine to all Woburn residents and employees, in accordance with the
Commonwealths prioritized phased plan.

We continue to expect negative budgetary impacts into FY 22. The Covid-19 global pandemic
has created a time of unprecedented financial turmoil for local, state and federal governments.
There is significant uncertainty surrounding revenue projections for local and state revenues, as
levels for both are expected to be lower than FY 20. In addition, commercial property values are
facing strong downward pressure, which will further contribute negatively to reduced revenue.

Although we received federal stimulus funding, distributed by the Commonwealth, those funds
could not be used for lost revenue needed to fund the budget. However, they have been helpful in
addressing unbudgeted expenses caused by the corona virus pandemic. We are hopeful that the
next round of stimulus funding under the Biden administration will provide revenue relief for
anticipated reductions in local receipts, State aide and commercial tax revenue.

On a positive note, our solid financial position, strengthened by years of conservative budgeting,
increasing our reserves along with growing our tax base, will serve the City well as we navigate
through the crisis. We will prepare a budget for FY 22 that serves our residents and businesses to
the best of our ability, maintains essential services and programs, supports educational needs,
and makes targeted critical investments to move our City forward.

Yesterday, the nation honored the memory of slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
with a day of service, and on a day at the beginning of a new year and a critical moment of
necessary reflection to examine where we are as a nation in terms of creating a more just,
humane, equitable and peaceful society.

Tomorrow, we will witness the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala
Harris. In spite of the unsettling turmoil surrounding this nation’s critical peaceful transfer of
power, there is plenty of reason to be hopeful that this new administration will provide leadership
aimed at meeting the challenge and continued hard work of healing divisions for the greater good
of our nation.

No matter for whom you voted, we must come together and do our part here in Woburn by
respecting one another, treating each other with civility and kindness, and keeping our focus on
working together with great ideas to achieve our common goals as Americans and residents of a
truly wonderful community.

In the coming year, 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.

That means strong fiscal management, solid schools and learning opportunities, job
opportunities, recreational activities and facilities, safe neighborhoods, energy efficiency,
sustainability, smart growth, innovation, continued investments in City infrastructure, fostering
culture diversity, support and respect for one another and, as always, an open-door policy at City
Hall.

Thanks again to everyone across the City for your strength, compassion and perseverance over
the last year. We still have plenty of hard work ahead of us, but there’s real light as we move
together through the winter months and look ahead to better days ahead.

Downloadable/Printable Copy of Mayor’s State of City Address