Gill Delivers Upbeat Annual State of Town Address

Thursday, January 10, 2013
By Transcript Staff

Council President Peter Gill delivered the State of Town Address on Tuesday night at the regular Council meeting.  The following are his remarks:

I would like to take this opportunity to recognize and express appreciation to all of our department heads and their staffs as well as to our appointed Town Boards and Committees, the Town Manager and the Town Council for their accomplishments in 2012. This spirit of cooperation, enthusiasm and effort is responsible for significant improvement and performance in the delivery of town services in Winthrop in calendar year 2012. The reorganization and improvements of 2012 include, but are not limited to, the following:

Overall improvement in the cleanliness and appearance of the town

Playground / parks improvement

Road and infrastructure repairs and replacement

Sidewalk replacement

Tree planting replacing missing and/or damaged trees

Memorial Bench program

Trash container program in partnership with Chamber of Commerce

Continuing progress on construction of the Belle Isle Bridge

Winthrop Beach Restoration underway

Private development / redevelopment completed or underway in 2012

Mirak Property

Dalrymple School

Winthrop Hospital

Temple Tifereth Israel

Feasibility study for construction or rehabilitation of a middle/high school complex

Negotiated agreement with MWRA to pay the $250,000 balance of fire engine debt

Mutual emergency access for Golden Drive and Gorman School constructed

Restructuring of the town finance department including

Hiring of new CFO

Hiring of internal auditor

Improved inter departmental accounting processes

Revised procedures to conform to proper municipal accounting practices

Restructuring harbormaster department and hiring of new harbormaster

Revision of management, staffing and operating procedures

Study and revision of operation of all Enterprise Accounts

Improved partnership, both fiscal and operational, between the schools and other town          departments

Health and safety enforcement including increased drug enforcement and development of School Safety Plan

Facility maintenance, including building repairs and energy efficiency measures.

Cooperation between town agencies to encourage and facilitate development.

All town union labor contracts negotiated and settled Casino committee established and has met with citizens to hear their concerns regarding mitigation, in the event that Suffolk Downs be granted a casino license by the Mass Gaming Commission.

Remodeling and rededication of Larsen rink at the Mike Eruzione Center

Dedication of Richard Dimes DPW Facility

Opening and dedication of Norman Seifert Ferry Terminal Building

In addition to continued focus on the 2012 accomplishments, some of which are “works in progress” which need to be monitored and continued, the following are proposed as we plan for the future of Winthrop.

Middle/High School

Finalize recommendation to MSBA for middle/high school

Develop a Middle School re-use plan if a middle/high school is to be established

Set election for a debt exclusion for funding

Hire a DESE certified business manager for the school department.

Develop a long range capital improvement plan to include town building maintenance, improvement, and / or replacement.

Develop an on-going immediate and long term town vehicle replacement plan.

Continue relationship with MAPC for long range development planning both private and public.

Inspectional services – establish, adopt and enforce more comprehensive ordinances with respect to vacant buildings, and non owner occupied rental units.

Strictly enforce the building and inspectional ordinances in the interest of public health and safety as well as encouraging improved property maintenance.

Review all sources of revenue to determine areas of improvement, including a review and revision all town fees.

Redevelop and revitalize Winthrop Center making it a more attractive and inviting place to shop and to invest in real estate.

Develop incentives to attract businesses and developers to Winthrop.

Develop a mitigation package with Suffolk Downs should they be granted a casino   license by the gaming commission

Increase recreational ferry service to the harbor islands.

Winthrop Residents –

Winthrop is a desirable seaside community offering the opportunity of safe, affordable living within easy commuting distance to Boston, a world class city. We need to be committed to the preservation and improvement of Winthrop’s amenities and resources.

To maintain and improve our community attracting new homeowners to Winthrop and encouraging present homeowners to stay, it is vital to continue to provide an inviting and pleasant atmosphere for our residents and visitors. Your elected and appointed officials need to know your vision and priorities for our town, both immediate long term. You are strongly urged to communicate your opinions, priorities, and ideas for problem solving for the future of our community to these public officials.

The decision to become involved; to invest or not invest your service and resources in the future of our community is yours.

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