At the beginning of today’s meeting, we held a moment of silence for the victims and families impacted by the devastating Manchester attack earlier this week. Councilor LaMattina honored Collector-Treasurer Vivian Leo for her 42 years of service to the City of Boston, Councilor Pressley commended the work of Boston Warriors Domino League, an organization dedicated to utilizing the sport of dominoes as an educational and therapeutic tool, and Councilor Essaibi-George led a recognition of Boston Scholar Athletes, an organization that supports the academic and personal success of BPS student athletes. Finally, big congratulations to Councilor McCarthy on graduating from the Suffolk University’s Master of Public Administration program this past weekend!
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Affordable Housing Projects: Mayor Walsh filed home rule petitions that would exempt the Boston Housing Authority from having to meet certain contracting and procurement requirements at the state level in order to streamline projects in Roxbury and Jamaica Plain. The BHA has been granted this exemption on more than ten other redevelopment projects. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Government Operations for a hearing.
Urban Renewal Minor Modifications: The Boston Planning & Development Agency gave notice of minor modification to the Charlestown Urban Renewal Plan, the Campus High School Urban Renewal Plan, and the South End Urban Renewal Plan. The matters were placed on file.
HomeBASE and MRVP Program: We voted to adopt Councilor Essaibi-George’s resolution in support of MA State Senate Budget Amendments 651 and 656 regarding the HomeBASE and Massachusetts State Rental Voucher Program (MRVP) program. Councilor Essaibi-George cited that as of April 2017, there were approximately 3,500 families in the state emergency shelter system, with 39% of the families from the City of Boston. The HomeBASE program supports families transitioning from the shelter system to stable permanent housing. Currently, HomeBASE only lasts for 12 months and doesn’t apply to families in domestic violence or substance abuse shelters, or those participating in sober living programs. Budget Amendment 651 by Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz would allow qualified families to access an additional 12 months of support and would allow families in domestic violence or substance abuse shelters, and those in sober living programs, to access the program. MRVP is a tool for creating long term stable housing for homeless families and individuals in the Commonwealth. Budget Amendment 656 by Senator Joe Boncore would increase the funding for the MRVP program to $120 million and increase the voucher rent caps to align with current fair market rent standards, making them more useful in the Boston market.
Alice G. Hennessey Community Room: We voted unanimously to adopt Councilor O’Malley’s resolution to name the community room of the West Roxbury Branch Library the “Alice G. Hennessey Community Room” in memory of a staunch community leader and in recognition of her many achievements and tireless efforts across the city and at the West Roxbury Branch Library. Alice served as an aide to former Mayor Menino and later as City Council Central Staff Director. As a West Roxbury resident, she led the transformation of Millennium Park and co-founded the Friends of the West Roxbury Branch Library to support staff and help with children’s story time. Alice Hennessey and her husband, Bill, established the West Roxbury Friends of Rosie’s Place. Alice also served as Vice President of the West Roxbury Historical Society. She passed away in early April and is dearly missed by so many throughout our city.
FY18 Budget Revolving Funds: We voted to approve 16 revolving funds from various departments, from funding public art, to City Hall child care, to programming City Hall Plaza, and making BPS buildings more energy efficient. Revolving funds are separate from the operating budget because they represent dedicated funding streams that are inconsistent, volatile, and self-sustaining. See the entire list: http://meetingrecords.cityofboston.gov/….
Sanctuary School Act: Councilor Jackson filed an ordinance to create the Sanctuary School Act, legislation that would prevent Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from entering BPS schools unless they follow specific procedures. Under the ordinance, ICE agents would not be allowed to enter BPS sites without a signed warrant from a judge and explicit written permission from the Superintendent and District Attorney; BPS will refuse all voluntary information sharing with ICE; and it would codify the current practice that BPS may not ask for or require proof of legal immigration status upon enrollment. Councilor Jackson thanked the young people of St. Stephen’s Church for their advocacy to codify these regulations. Several Councilors spoke to express their support, noting it would be helpful if BPS could provide more legal guidance and analysis surrounding this issue. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Government Operations for a hearing.
*Bonus Announcement: We have begun posting transcripts of the closed captioning from live-streamed meetings and hearings after each session. This is as close to a text transcript of the proceedings as we can get, although these are unedited transcripts and therefore aren’t perfect transcriptions. You can find these on each archived public notice a few days after the session. Here is the archived list of City Council public notices: https://www.boston.gov/public-notic….
Upcoming Hearings/Working Sessions (Watch at www.cityofboston.gov/citycouncil/live.asp)
- Wednesday, 5/31 at 2:00PM, Fenway Cultural District (Arts & Culture) [Offsite at the Museum of Fine Arts Remis Auditorium]
Upcoming Budget Hearings (Ways & Means):
- Thursday, 5/25 at 10:30AM, Department of Neighborhood Development: Overview and Office of Housing Stability
- Thursday, 5/25 at 1:00PM, Boston Planning and Development Agency
- Monday, 6/5 at 11:00AM, BPS: Carryover
- Tuesday, 6/6 at 11:00AM, Departmental Carryover