City Manager Submits FY18 Budget To City Council

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To the Honorable, the City Council, and the residents and taxpayers of Cambridge:

I am pleased to submit for your consideration my first proposed Operating and Capital Budgets for the City of Cambridge for FY18 as well as the proposed FY19-22 Operating and Capital Plans. This Operating Budget of $605,031,310 represents an increase of $28,633,678, or 4.97%, over the FY17 Adjusted Budget. The proposed Capital Budget is $124,771,815.

Over the last six months, the Finance Committee Chair, Budget Director, and I have been going out to neighborhood meetings to discuss the City’s budget and listen to suggestions from community members. To keep this community connection throughout the year, I have established a City Manager Advisory Committee that will meet quarterly to discuss community issues and develop potential solutions.

In January, we met with the Council’s Finance Committee to listen to their ideas around community needs that they would like addressed in the FY18 Budget. This budget reflects their guidance and goals, and many of the new initiatives and staff positions are a direct result of the City Council’s collective feedback. I want to thank the Council for their leadership and for their active engagement in the FY18 Budget process.

Getting residents more engaged in local government, particularly around finance, has been a priority of mine. Every year, Participatory Budgeting brings out thousands of residents to brainstorm and vote for creative capital projects that are included in our Public Investment Budget. In FY18, the City will implement the seven winning projects from the third Participatory Budgeting (PB) process, which include solar panels on the Main Library roof, flashing pedestrian lights at six crosswalks, solar-powered bus tracking displays at 10 high-use bus stops, kinetic energy tiles at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School and in Harvard Square, four water bottle fill stations, upgrades to the Moore Youth Center, and the commissioning of murals and street art in various parts of Cambridge. In FY18, the City will launch its fourth annual PB process in which residents will decide how to spend $800,000 of the City’s FY19 capital budget. Idea collection will take place from June 1 - July 31, 2017 and voting will be held from December 2-8, 2017.

In February, the City allowed residents to directly invest in Cambridge infrastructure by purchasing minibonds. Residents could purchase minibonds in denominations of $1,000 for a maximum total investment of $20,000. The City’s $2,000,000 in minibonds sold out in six days. 230 orders were fulfilled, with a median submitted order of $5,000 and an average submitted order of $8,586. The City will use proceeds from the minibond issuance to support capital projects such as school building renovations, municipal facility upgrades, and implementation of the Complete Streets Plan.

The City will continue to create and preserve affordable rental and homeownership opportunities for low, moderate, and middle-income families and residents. For the first time, I am recommending a $2,800,000 capital allocation funded by Building Permit revenue to support the City’s Affordable Housing Trust. In addition, the newly created Richard C. Rossi Affordable Housing Trust Fund will provide limited financial assistance to Cambridge residents and households who are at risk of losing housing in Cambridge. Through FY17, the City has appropriated a total of $134,200,000 in Community Preservation Act funds for affordable housing initiatives. Since 2001, the City has created or preserved over 1,700 units of affordable housing throughout Cambridge. The Concord Highlands project, which received funding from the Affordable Housing Trust, will add 98 new units of mixed-income affordable housing. The process of transforming the Vail Court property into affordable housing will continue in FY18, and we are continuing efforts for the preservation of affordability at buildings with expiring use restrictions.

To advance Vision Zero, the City continues to implement a wide range of engineering, education, and enforcement efforts aimed at reducing crashes, increasing respect among users, and creating a safer and more equitable transportation network that supports users of all ages and abilities. We will look to appropriate $4,000,000 from the Parking Fund’s Fund Balance for additional bicycle infrastructure in Inman Square. Traffic, Parking & Transportation will also be expanding the pay-by-phone program citywide.

Envision Cambridge, the citywide planning process, is advancing into the second phase, which will focus on public conversations, workshops, focus groups, and street team activities to help guide future change in the city. To respond to current conditions, including growth in development and rezoning proposals, Community Development will be expanding capacity with four new positions in key areas such as urban design, project review, community outreach and communication, data management and analysis, and program development and management.

The Curbside Organics program will be expanded citywide. Included in the budget are four new laborers to support this effort. The overall goal of this plan is to help the City reduce trash by 30% by 2020 and 80% by 2050 from a 2008 baseline. $1,000,000 will be appropriated from Free Cash to fund the necessary equipment for this expansion. Next spring, Public Works will also launch a small business curbside recycling program. Qualified businesses can expect a once per week pick-up.

Many homeless individuals in Cambridge are not accessing the shelter system to stay safe and warm overnight during the winter. Human Services will be looking for rental space to create a winter warming center designed to provide a hot meal, a safe place to rest, and shelter from inclement weather. Funding of $250,000 has been included for the operations of the center.

As part of our commitment to building a comprehensive early childhood system, the City is investing an additional $1,000,000 in FY18 for a total of $2,300,000 for the Birth to Grade 3 Partnership. A pilot scholarship program promoting access to high quality community programs for three and four-year-olds from low-income families has been developed, as well as an intensive quality improvement system designed to help community preschool programs improve their quality rating scores.

The City remains committed to maintaining our status as a Sanctuary City. The new Commission on Immigrant Rights & Citizenship is developing a needs assessment to identify the unmet needs pertaining to immigrant legal rights, citizenship, and connection to City services and local resources. Funds for an Outreach and Referral Specialist, translation equipment, and costs for outreach and informational materials are included in the budget.

Cambridge Arts will add a Community Arts Administrator position to increase capacity to grow large-scale public programming, expand external fundraising, and build sustainable partnerships in the community that support programming. This position will also support the Cambridge Arts Creative Marketplace, an artist education and economic development program designed to foster increased awareness of the city's vibrant arts sector and heightened participation and support of the arts by employees and businesses based in Cambridge.

The Animal Commission, with the addition of another animal control officer, will extend coverage through the weekends and until 7:00 p.m. on weekdays. The Commission will also participate in more educational events, such as visiting elementary schools and senior centers to talk about what residents should do when they encounter wildlife in Cambridge.

Personnel and the Office of Equity and Inclusion will be progressing our comprehensive plan for achieving diversity in City hiring, retention, and promotion policies and practices. We will also be implementing a sexual orientation and gender identity competency training for the entire City workforce.

I encourage readers to review the City Council goals, key initiatives, each department’s budget narrative, and this year’s capital projects to gain a deeper understanding of our FY18 objectives.

FY18 Revenues by Category Chart

FY18 Expenditures by Function Chart

The proposed Operating Budget of $605,031,310 includes the following:

  • A total property tax levy of $395,001,870 to support the General Fund Operating and Capital Budgets. This is an increase of $22,327,783, or 5.99%, from the FY17 property tax levy. The actual tax levy is determined in the fall as part of the property tax and classification process. In addition, the City can make adjustments to budgeted revenues as part of the process. As in past years, the City may be able to use increased non-property tax revenues at a higher level than what is included in the FY18 Budget, once actual FY17 receipts and final state aid figures are known.
  • $2,000,000 in overlay surplus balances accumulated from prior fiscal years will again be used to lower the tax levy increase.
  • The City will recommend using $12,200,000 in Free Cash to lower the property tax levy increase, which is consistent with the City's financial plan.
  • A 0% increase in the water rate and a 7.7% increase in the sewer rate, resulting in a 5.6% increase in the combined rate as adopted by the City Council on March 27, 2017. This is the seventh consecutive year that the City has been able to produce a 0% rate.
  • Parking Fund revenues will provide $8,754,610 to support the operating budgets of various departments.
  • The City Debt Stabilization Fund will provide $2,000,000 to cover debt service costs.
  • Collaboration between the City and School fiscal staffs once again resulted in a successful School budget process. The City increased property tax support to schools to 7.6%. The School Committee adopted the School Department Budget of $183,046,445 on April 4, 2017.
  • A 2.5% cost of living adjustment for all non-union employees and for those unions with settled contracts, a 0% increase in health insurance, a 0% increase in dental, and a 5.85% increase related to pensions. The 0% increase in health insurance is due to fewer high-cost, chronic claims and employees taking advantage of preventative programs.
  • The Health Claims Trust Fund is providing $9,020,000, an increase of $100,000, to support the health insurance budget.
  • An OPEB contribution of $2,000,000, which is consistent with the FY17 allocation.

27 full-time positions have been added to the FY18 Budget to provide appropriate support for the growth in programs throughout the city. New positions include:

  • Six positions in Public Works: a four-person crew to pick up curbside food scraps as part of the expansion of the organics program citywide, a senior level staff person to support urban forestry initiatives, and a building projects coordinator.
  • Five positions in Community Development: a second deputy director, an urban designer, two community planners, and a business analyst.
  • Three positions in Human Services: three Community Schools program directors to support increased enrollment.
  • Three positions in Finance: an IT web designer, an IT technology training coordinator, and a construction and sustainable procurement specialist in the Purchasing Department.
  • Four positions in Emergency Communications: a public safety IT manager, a public safety IT director, and two technical support positions.
  • Two positions in Law: an assistant city solicitor and a public records access officer.
  • One position in Arts Council: a community arts administrator.
  • One position in Animal Commission: an animal control officer to extend hours of operation.
  • One position in Traffic, Parking & Transportation: an engineer technician.
  • One position in Library: a manager of innovation and technology.
FY18 Capital Financing Plan Chart

The proposed Capital Budget of $124,771,815 includes the following:

  • The continuation of sewer and stormwater projects at Alewife ($6,000,000), Cambridgeport ($3,000,000), Harvard Square ($2,625,000), and The Port ($12,934,000); remedial construction ($1,000,000), climate change ($500,000), and capital repairs ($5,000,000); streets and sidewalks ($7,089,540); and renovations for the Harvard Square Kiosk and Plaza ($2,000,000).
  • Bond proceeds of $60,000,000 will be used to fund construction services for the King Open and Cambridge Street Upper Schools & Community Complex. Other school projects include a new roof at the Fletcher Maynard Academy ($1,500,000) and boiler replacement at the Amigos School ($500,000). 
  • A $6,606,000 Pay-As-You-Go Public Investment allocation, which includes $2,300,000 in IT projects as part of the IT E-Gov initiative, $1,600,000 for City Capital projects, $2,000,000 for the Municipal Facilities Improvement Plan, and $706,000 for the winning Participatory Budgeting projects. This represents a $926,000 increase in property taxes from last year. 
  • In addition to the $2,000,000 listed above in Pay-As-You-Go, $5,000,000 will be bonded to fund Phase II of the Municipal Facilities Improvement Plan. This phase will establish a long-term facilities capital plan to address accessibility, building envelope, climate resiliency, energy efficiency, fire and life safety, historic preservation, HVAC, lighting, and mechanical systems. 
  • Water service charges of $3,500,000 to cover all water-related capital projects.
  • On March 1, 2017, the City sold $56,545,000 in General Obligation Bonds to finance capital projects such as the King Open and Cambridge Street Upper Schools & Community Complex, sewer reconstruction, street and sidewalk reconstruction, and other municipal and school building renovations. The City’s AAA bond rating allowed the City to sell these bonds at the true interest cost of 2.3%. The $56,545,000 included $21,045,000 in sewer bonds. In February, the City sold $2,000,000 in minibonds to Cambridge residents at a rate of 1.6% for a five-year term.
FY18 Capital Appropriation Plan Chart

Outlook

FY16 was another strong year financially for the City. Our sound financial practices have left the City with substantial reserves, including $202,468,578 in Free Cash, $168,285,713 in excess levy capacity, $40,994,946 in Debt Stabilization Fund, $22,274,872 in Health Claims Trust, $14,737,582 in Parking Fund Balance, and $10,338,547 in Water Fund Balance. We anticipate also ending FY17 in a very strong financial position.

The City has used $34,791,300 in Free Cash to date. Major appropriations include $9,000,000 to lower the property tax rate, $1,200,000 for E-Gov IT initiatives, an $8,000,000 transfer to the Debt Stabilization Fund, $5,250,000 for construction costs associated with 859 Massachusetts Avenue, $3,700,000 for the taking of Vail Court, $3,700,000 for Fire vehicles and equipment, and $2,875,000 for snowstorm-related expenditures. I anticipate requesting appropriations before year-end to cover municipal and school building security systems, a new customer relationship management system, curbside organics equipment, the Foundry, and the demolition of Vail Court.

We will continue to use our five-year financial and capital plan, debt and reserve policies, and the City Council goals as guides in our long-term planning to maintain stability and predictability in our budgeting process and adherence to our policies. We must also pay attention to the risk factors the credit rating agencies highlighted, such as material growth in our debt burden, substantial increases in OPEB liabilities, and significantly reducing our reserve levels. Our financial projections indicate that we will be able to produce future budgets that will reflect a moderate growth in the property tax levy, which is our primary revenue stream. In addition, the City is projecting stable valuations in the near term with moderate increases in the out-years based on new construction, appreciation in values of existing property, and major rehabilitations.

Major priorities that will impact the budget in the near term include bonded projects such as the King Open and Cambridge Street Upper Schools & Community Complex; the Tobin and Vassal Lane Upper Schools; municipal building expansion opportunities; recommendations from citywide planning efforts; the School’s Operating Budget due to increased enrollment; and increases related to health insurance, pensions, and collective bargaining agreements. We recognize that not all capital projects are in our five-year plan, but we will continue to review and update the plan to ensure it reflects the needs and priorities of the community.

While overall economic conditions are strong, some uncertainty remains around possible federal and state budget reductions due to our status as a Sanctuary City. The long-term outlook for Cambridge continues to be very strong, which is confirmed by our consistent AAA bond rating. We have been able to absorb operating and programmatic costs associated with expanding services, cover increased salary and fringe benefit costs, and manage debt service costs. If we are faced with decreases in state and federal funding, the City will have to make difficult decisions on how community needs are prioritized and to what levels programs are funded.

Conclusion

I believe that the initiatives and spending priorities recommended in this budget submission reflect not only the goals of the City Council, but also the priorities of the residents and taxpayers of Cambridge. Our effective short and long-term financial, economic, and programmatic planning strategies will help ensure that Cambridge can continue to provide the level of services that residents desire while maintaining the modest tax implications taxpayers have come to expect.

Thank you for placing your trust and confidence in me to lead this great City.

Very truly yours,
Louis A. DePasquale

Download FY18 Submitted Budget [PDF]

Key Initiatives

Affordable Housing

The City strives to preserve the diversity of the community by offering a wide range of housing programs to meet the needs of very low, low, moderate, and middle-income residents. Through affordable housing development, the preservation of existing affordable housing, recent amendments to the City’s inclusionary housing provisions, homeownership assistance, and other programs, the City has a multifaceted approach to affordable housing. 

Through FY17, the City has appropriated more than $134M for affordable housing initiatives. These funds have been used to create more than 1,700 affordable units to date. In FY18, the City budget includes $2.8M in capital funds to be appropriated to the Affordable Housing Trust. The funds will supplement FY18 Community Preservation Act (CPA) and federal funding and will allow the City and its affordable housing partners to continue to advance an ambitious affordable housing agenda.   

FY17 and FY18 initiatives to create and preserve affordable housing include: 

  • Concord Highlands: 98 new units of mixed-income affordable housing will be created at 671-675 Concord Avenue.  
  • Porter Square: CPA funds were used to finance the acquisition of 1791 Massachusetts Ave in 2016 and plans for an all-affordable development are being developed.  
  • Vail Court: The City acquired this property in FY17.  Plans for future use will be advanced in FY18 with affordable housing identified as an optimal use of the property.
  • Successful efforts at eight properties with expiring restrictions have preserved and expanded affordability at more than 550 units since 2011. Planning for the preservation of affordability at the 504-unit Fresh Pond Apartments and 106 affordable units at the George Close Building and Linwood Court is underway.
  • 976 units have been completed or approved pending construction under the City’s Inclusionary Housing provisions. In FY18, Cambridge will reach the 1,000-unit milestone. Expanding the set-aside of affordable housing in new residential buildings to 20% of the net building floor area will produce more affordable housing, and more units that are appropriate for families.
  • The City now oversees more than 500 affordable homes. Over 75 residents purchased their homes with assistance from the City in the last five years, and more than 325 residents have purchased a City-assisted affordable home in the last decade. The launch of Homebridge, an initiative that provides direct funding assistance for purchasing a home, will include a pilot effort to serve households earning up to 120% of area median income and provide support to middle-income households.


Business Districts

By offering an array of programs and direct assistance, the City seeks to keep Cambridge’s commercial districts vibrant and accessible for all Cambridge residents, businesses, employees, and visitors.

  • Retail Strategy Plan: In FY18, the Community Development Department (CDD) will implement recommendations resulting from CDD’s FY17 work with a retail strategy consultant to develop best practice policies and programs to support and enhance the retail environment in Cambridge. The recommendations include short and long-term strategies to address key areas such as unmet retail needs identified in the process, actions and best practices to enhance marketability and visibility, appropriate tenant mix for commercial districts, and municipal capacity for advancing retail initiatives.
  • Small Business Challenge: In FY18, the City will expand the Small Business Challenge, successfully piloted in FY17, to provide one-time grants of $1K to business applicants proposing projects to invigorate commercial areas and business districts. The Challenge expands opportunities for businesses to collaborate with CDD, Cambridge Office of Tourism, Cambridge Arts Council, and other City departments to bring positive benefits to businesses, residents, and visitors alike. 
  • Storefront Improvement Program & Small Business Enhancement: In FY17, the City’s Storefront Improvement Program was recognized as a Semifinalist for the Harvard Kennedy School’s Innovations in American Government Awards, which recognize and promote excellence and creativity in the public sector. In FY17, the ratio of public to private investment for storefront improvement was $1 of public money for every $3.84 of private money reinvested for the public good. Similarly, the block grant-funded Small Business Enhancement and Retail Interior Accessibility programs have been tailored to support the needs of qualified recipients by facilitating training, consultations, and implementation of recommendations for physical and operational improvements.


Cambridge Hoarding Coalition

Over the past five years, Cambridge Council on Aging staff have convened the Cambridge Hoarding Coalition (CHC) to provide community education, training for service providers, and resources for clients, providers, and the community. The CHC is a group of City, nonprofit, and private agencies working together to approach this difficult problem. CHC members include the Human Services, Police, Fire, Inspectional, and Public Health Departments, as well as other senior housing and service providers. The CHC has increased the number of professionals using evidence-based practices to identify and intervene in hoarding situations.

City Manager Advisory Committee

Cambridge strives to make community input a vital component of the decision-making process by engaging and involving many different stakeholders. The new City Manager’s Advisory Committee – which serves in an advisory role to the City Manager - will meet at least quarterly to discuss issues happening in the city, develop working relationships, work with organizations, bring different opinions to the table, and work to resolve problems in advance. 

Members serving on the Committee are broadly representative of many backgrounds including: small/local business community, large business community, non-profit community, neighborhood associations, higher education, arts community, primary/secondary education, public health and human services, housing advocacy, faith community, new immigrant/under-represented communities, youth community, senior community, LGBTQ+ community, and mobility community (bike/transit/pedestrian).

Climate Change Preparedness

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The City completed Part II of its first Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment in FY17. The science-based assessment led to the development of the City’s Climate Change Preparedness and Resilience Plan, which will recommend strategies to increase Cambridge’s preparedness and resilience in terms of public health and safety, buildings and infrastructure, the economy, and regional systems. The full plan, which is being coordinated with the Envision Cambridge process, is scheduled to be completed by the end of FY18. Cambridge is also collaborating on climate change issues regionally through the 14-member Metro Mayors Climate Change Preparedness Task Force.

The City’s Climate Protection Plan will be updated in FY18 following completion of a community greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory in FY17. Per our commitment to the Compact of Mayors, the Climate Action Plan will describe how the City will deliver on its commitment to reduce GHG emissions across the entire City. The City is developing a web-based Sustainability Dashboard to allow the public to visualize key indicators that demonstrate progress toward climate goals. 

Commission on Immigrant Rights & Citizenship

The Commission on Immigrant Rights & Citizenship (CIRC) was formed in August 2016 and consists of 11 volunteer Commissioners who are themselves immigrants or who work in immigration legal or social services organizations. CIRC is developing a needs assessment to identify the unmet needs pertaining to immigrant legal rights, citizenship, and connection to City services and local resources. The FY18 Budget includes funds for an Outreach and Referral Specialist, translation costs equipment, and outreach and informational materials. The City remains committed to remaining a Sanctuary City and providing services and support to all members of the Cambridge community. CIRC will serve as a further resource to connect immigrants with City services

Community Engagement

The City is committed to providing underserved Cambridge families with the support they need to thrive and to help them overcome obstacles in accessing services. Through the Agenda for Children Literacy Initiative, Center for Families, and Community Engagement Team, the City successfully connects families to local resources by making a conscious effort to hire, train, and provide leadership development to multicultural outreach workers from the community. The City will continue to use proactive engagement and expansion of community outreach through a door-to-door approach to reach vulnerable populations and build trusting relationships within the community. The City has made a particular effort to reach out to immigrant families, American-born black families, families with low incomes, and fathers.

Community Learning Center Training Opportunities

In addition to serving hundreds of adult learners in its many English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and basic education classes, the Community Learning Center (CLC) received grant funding to support three new programs focused on building the occupational skills of students to increase their employability and earning potential. CLC and Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Division of Comparative Medicine are working together to offer a workplace ESOL class for animal care technicians. The ESOL course supports students in acquiring English language skills and in developing their academic and study skills in preparation for the first level of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science certification exam. The CLC is also partnering with the Academy for Healthcare Training to offer Home Health Aide/Certified Nurse Assistant training integrated with ESOL. All graduates of the first cycle of training passed the state exam and many were offered positions and are beginning their careers in health care at Spaulding Hospital Cambridge.

Community Needs Assessment

In FY17, the City’s comprehensive Community Needs Assessment Report relative to the Community Benefits Ordinance (Municipal Ordinance #1375 adopted on December 21, 2015) was submitted to the City Council. The Assessment aimed to gain an in-depth understanding of the community’s most pressing needs and service gaps to enable the City Council to make informed decisions in establishing broad funding priorities for the Community Benefits Stabilization Fund. The priorities established by the Council will be used by the Community Benefits Advisory Committee to solicit and evaluate applications from the nonprofit community for services tied to the City Council’s funding priorities. Once funding priorities are established, the City Manager will appropriate funding from the Community Benefits Funds. These funds are pledged to the City through zoning amendments and agreements with developers to benefit Cambridge residents. The City has received $7.4M to date.

Community Preservation Act

The Community Preservation Act (CPA) was created by a state law (MGL Chapter 44B) to help cities and towns preserve the character of their community. In 2001, Cambridge residents voted to adopt the CPA, which allowed a 3% surcharge on property tax bills to fund affordable housing, open space, and historic preservation projects.

Through FY17, the City has appropriated/reserved a total of $167.7M for CPA projects, including $134.2M for affordable housing initiatives, $16.7M for historical preservation projects, and $16.7M for open space projects. To date, the City has allocated $48.7M in state matching funds, $99.8M from local surcharges, and $19.1M from the CPA Fund Balance.

In September 2016, the CPA Committee once again unanimously voted for an allocation of 80% for affordable housing projects, 10% for historical preservation projects, and 10% for open space projects. Total FY17 CPA funding was $12.7M. All funds allocated for affordable housing are appropriated and managed through the Cambridge Affordable Housing Trust. 

FY17 historical preservation projects include improvements at Magazine Beach and Lowell Park; repair of Brattle Street’s bluestone sidewalks; ongoing restoration of the Old Burying Ground; preservation, photocopying, and rebinding of Cambridge City Directories from 1846-1972; continuing improvements to the City Clerk’s vaults; and the Historical Commission’s Preservation Grant Program. Preservation grants help housing agencies, low-income homeowners, and nonprofit institutions repair and restore their historic properties in Cambridge.  

In FY18, CPA funded open space projects will include renovations to Sacramento Field and to the play areas of the Morse and Amigos schools. The design process will also begin for the Clarendon Avenue playground and the Graham and Parks School playground. 


Customer Relationship Management Program

The City is launching a new 311/Customer Relationship Management (CRM) program that will focus on improving the quality and timeliness of responses to requests for information and non-emergency services. In FY17, a 311/Customer Relationship Program Manager was hired by the Executive Office to manage the initial implementation of the program and its ongoing support. In the long term, the program will utilize an enterprise CRM system to manage the City’s communication with members of the community. The 311/CRM program will also focus on improving outreach and communications from the City by using targeted and coordinated campaigns across all communication channels.

Through its engagement with Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities initiative, the City is also receiving technical assistance from Harvard University’s Government Performance Lab on producing a results-driven CRM request for proposal.

Domestic and Gender-Based Violence Prevention Initiative

The Domestic and Gender-Based Violence Prevention Initiative (DGVPI) and Transition House are collaborating to hold citywide trainings on domestic violence (DV), with expert speakers from the Cambridge Police Department focusing on rights of victims, police response and advocacy. In FY18, the DGVPI will deepen outreach and training efforts throughout Cambridge in two key areas: enabling men to engage youth in violence prevention strategies and integrating an intersectional and anti-oppression framework into outreach. 

Mending Cambridge is a men’s engagement group that formed in 2016 with a commitment to engage men in ending gender-based violence. Group members have received basic education on domestic violence and have worked to raise awareness of men’s roles in ending abuse. In FY18, Mending Cambridge will ramp up its efforts by going through a train-the-trainer course. Members will then bring the training they receive to youth in the community. $3K will be used to cover the cost of the trainer as well as necessary materials and food for youth-focused workshops. 

The DV Steering Committee will continue to discuss privilege, oppression, and bias in regards to domestic and gender-based violence prevention. In FY18, $3K will be used to cover the costs of an expert consultant to guide the DV Steering Committee to develop deeper insights into how to partner with and conduct outreach in various communities in a way that is not offensive or unintentionally harmful. 

Envision Cambridge

In FY17, CDD completed the first phase of Envision Cambridge, the City’s comprehensive planning process to create a shared vision for the future and develop actionable recommendations to guide change in the city. During the first phase, Envision Cambridge identified issues and opportunities facing the city, crafted a vision statement, and identified six core values shared by the community: livability, diversity and equity, learning, community health and wellbeing, economic opportunity, and sustainability and resilience.

The ongoing second phase is a public conversation about how to guide future change. Goals, targets, and strategies will be developed for each of the six focus areas to help realize our shared vision. City staff will continue to engage the public through a wide range of outreach approaches, including workshops, focus groups, street team activities, and surveys. In FY18, the City expects to complete phase two and initiate the final stage of developing actionable recommendations. Draft recommendations for the Alewife component of Envision Cambridge will be developed by the end of FY17 and finalized in early FY18.

Equity & Inclusion Dashboards

As part of Cambridge's partnership with What Works Cities, the City launched two new dashboards: an equity and inclusion dashboard and a pay equity comparison tool. Like many cities across the nation, Cambridge leadership is committed to ensuring that the composition of municipal staff is reflective of the community’s diversity. With guidance from the What Works Cities team, the City Manager’s Office, Personnel Department, and the Open Data Program developed a dashboard that allows City leaders and the public to explore employee demographics and median budgeted base wage salary by gender and ethnicity. The information gleaned from these visualizations and analysis will better amplify any inequalities and support the need for potential solutions. Outcomes will ensure diversity exists in the pipeline for future City staff and leaders.  

Additionally, in collaboration with the Mayor’s Office, the City developed a pay equity comparison tool that displays the City’s budgeted base wage data in an easily accessible way so that anyone can explore it. This tool will evolve as the Mayor’s Equal Pay Initiative continues its work on eliminating gender wage disparities in the public and private sector workforces. 

Flow: A Grant Program from the Port

As part of The Port Infrastructure Project being conducted by the City over the next several years, $300K of art funds are being used for a special one-time grant program entitled FLOW: A Grant Program for The Port. Partnering closely with the Community Art Center, Cambridge Arts developed FLOW through meetings with the community during fall 2016. Final selections will be made in early summer 2017 and all projects will be implemented between 2017 and 2021. This unique project is designed with the following goals: 
  • To inspire and support the creation of new artistic and cultural projects that exhibit the cultural, social, historical, political, and physical attributes of The Port neighborhood.
  • To encourage cross-sector partnerships that set examples of how the arts can play an important role in civic life. 
  • To build strength in the community through training in proposal development and project planning.

Homeless Engagement and Outreach

Homeless Warming Shelter: The FY18 Budget includes $250K for a winter warming center designed to help homeless individuals in Cambridge who are not accessing the shelter system to stay safe and warm overnight during the winter. Over the past two years, the City Council, the City Council’s Human Services & Veterans Committee, Police and DHSP staff, and community providers have identified the need for additional services for individuals in Cambridge who are not able to stay overnight in existing shelters. A warming center would provide a hot meal, a safe place to rest, and shelter from inclement weather. Development of this winter resource aligns with the City’s new Coordinated Access Network, which uses a standardized assessment to target housing resources for highly vulnerable homeless clients. DHSP staff will coordinate the process to find a program operator and locate appropriate space for the warming center. 

Multi-Disciplinary Homeless Street Outreach Team: This team is a collaboration between the Police Department, Healthcare for the Homeless, Pro EMS, Elliot Community Care, On the Rise, Cambridge Veteran’s Services, Cambridge and Somerville Program for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Rehabilitation, First Step, Youth on Fire, and Roxbury Youth Works. The team works to identify and engage with high risk individuals with low levels of service utilization to monitor the wellbeing of these individuals and intervene before a crisis occurs. The team also identifies low risk individuals with a history of high service utilization to triage their needs and reduce the likelihood of a visit to the emergency room. The team conducts street outreach every Wednesday throughout Cambridge.  During FY17, the team conducted over 1,000 hours of street outreach and monitored and engaged with over 110 chronically homeless individuals. 

Homeless Court: During FY17, the Cambridge Police Department played an integral role in establishing the Homeless Court, which is a special alternative court session that aims to address the underlying issues that drive homelessness, such as substance abuse and mental health challenges. The Homeless Court meets monthly and is an important partnership between the Police Department, probation workers, public defenders, prosecutors, and service providers. The sessions help participants overcome legal barriers that impede recovery and stability. 

Identity, Relationships, and Media Resource Guide

Responding to the requests of youth-serving departments and organizations in the city, the Cambridge Women’s Commission developed a basic curriculum to address gender and gender stereotypes through the lens of identity, relationships, and the media for middle and high school age youth. In order to build a more resilient, healthy Cambridge, many youth-serving organizations have taken on the responsibility of meeting the social and emotional needs of youth in their programs, leading them to discuss difficult social issues that affect their youth, such as race, gender, sexuality, and abuse. Recognizing that identity is intersectional and complex, the Commission emphasized a holistic approach for each one of the activities. The curriculum also includes a section devoted to gender-focused programs in Cambridge as well as additional resources for youth workers and for youth.

Innovating City Management with Information Technology

Since FY15, the City has invested over $10M through the Information Technology Department (ITD) in support of projects that have enhanced the delivery of City services and increased innovation. Examples of some of the key projects include: implementation of online permitting, launch of the new City website in FY17, upgrading of a myriad of core infrastructure, and strengthening City cybersecurity. 

In FY18, the City will invest another $2.3M though approved E-Gov projects. Funds will be used to implement a multitude of projects that include expanding the online permitting service for the License and Traffic Departments; hiring of an audiovisual technician to upgrade City Hall systems and develop upgrade strategies for other public meeting spaces; a large-scale document management project that will reduce the use of paper, establish interdepartmental workflows, and make documents and physical records more readily accessible; and implementing new technology for building security. More details on these projects can be found in the Public Investment Section.

Investing in Early Childhood Programs

In FY16, the City Manager’s Early Childhood Task Force report, Starting Early, Addressing the Opportunity and Achievement Gap in Cambridge, laid out a vision and guiding principles for developing affordable high quality early education and care in the City. As part of our commitment to building a comprehensive early childhood system, the City is investing an additional $1M in FY18 for a total of $2.3M for the Birth to Grade 3 partnership. A collaboration between the City’s Early Childhood Director and Quality Specialist, the Early Childhood Steering Committee, and three subcommittees has resulted in the development of a pilot scholarship program promoting access to high quality community programs for three and four-year-olds from low-income families, as well as an intensive quality improvement system designed to help community preschool programs improve their quality rating scores. Further priorities also include professional development workshops and trainings for early childhood providers and enhancing transitions between early childhood programs and Cambridge Public Schools.

Library 3-D Modeling Program: Fostering STEAM Learning

Public libraries across the United States are undergoing transformations to help residents learn new skills to flourish in the creative and knowledge economy. The Cambridge Public Library has an important part to play in fostering and making available science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) and information literacy learning for all Cambridge residents. The Library is assessing its readiness to support STEAM learning and patron technology offerings and in FY17-18 will pilot a 3-D modeling curriculum for teens in partnership with the Rotary Club, Friends of the Cambridge Public Library, area schools, and InnovatorsforPurpose.

Library Card and Grade School Reading Initiative

The Library is working with the Cambridge Public Schools and the Mayor’s Office on a national library card initiative to increase library card signups from 40% of kindergarteners to close to 100% with an improved process. An additional partnership between the Library, Cambridge Housing Authority (CHA), DHSP, and the Public Health Department will provide library outreach and enhance library services to school children living in CHA properties and affordable housing. Planning is currently underway for library programs to take place at CHA sites and in conjunction with afterschool programs at the Central Square Branch Library starting this summer.

Minibond Issuance

In February 2017, the City held its first minibond sale to encourage residents to directly invest in Cambridge infrastructure. Residents could purchase minibonds in denominations of $1,000 for a maximum total investment of $20,000. The City's $2M in minibonds sold out in six days. 244 residents submitted orders (230 were fulfilled), with a median submitted order of $5,000 and an average submitted order of $8,586. The City will use proceeds from the minibond issuance to support capital projects such as school building renovations, municipal facility upgrades, and implementation of the Complete Streets plan. The City plans to issue minibonds annually and will increase the amount of minibonds available for purchase in FY18.

Multifamily Energy Efficiency & Solar Program

As part of ongoing work to help residents save energy and money, the City is working on a comprehensive energy efficiency and solar program for multifamily buildings to address the inherent complexities in energy systems, decision-making structures, and financial incentives. The City is partnering with Eversource and MassSave on a streamlined pilot that offers a no-cost energy audit and solar assessment to buildings with 5-49 units. Owners will receive City guidance in identifying the appropriate solar and upgrade options for their buildings.

Municipal Facilities Improvement Plan

The goal of the Municipal Facilities Improvement Plan (MFIP) is for the City to provide and maintain high-performance buildings for staff, the public, and the environment. The City has invested $15M in previous years and plans to allocate $27M in MFIP funding over the next five years. Phase I included the evaluation and prioritization of 42 buildings for capital improvements in areas such as accessibility, climate resilience, energy and environment, building envelope, fire and life safety, historic preservation, HVAC, lighting, and mechanical systems. 

Phase II of the MFIP will establish a long-term facilities capital plan with associated budget estimates, financing options, policies and standards for design and construction, as well as the establishment of a 2030 municipal greenhouse gas reduction goal. FY18 MFIP projects include: improvements to the Inman Square, Taylor Square, and East Cambridge fire houses amongst other fire houses, along with projects at the Main Library, Healy Public Safety building, and the Electrical Department shop at Third and Gore Street. Recommended fire safety, energy conservation, and accessibility upgrades will also be performed at a number of other locations. The MFIP budget allocation will also supplement design and construction of photovoltaics at the Main Library, which was funded through Participatory Budgeting. 

Office of College Success

The Office of College Success leads the College Success Initiative (CSI), a collaboration between the Department of Human Service Programs, community-based organizations, Cambridge Public Schools, and institutions of higher education committed to increasing the college completion rate of low-income, first generation, and minority students. The collaboration was launched to address the concern that many Cambridge students, although enrolling in college, were not successfully graduating and earning a credential. CSI also supports adult education and alternative education students through the Community Learning Center and Just-A-Start YouthBuild. The Initiative has four main goals: to coordinate efforts among partners working on college access and success, to promote college readiness for low-income students to prepare them for the academic challenges of post-secondary education, to provide students and families with resources and information about college and financial aid planning in culturally relevant ways, and to provide campus-based coaching supports to students enrolled at Bunker Hill Community College and UMass Boston.

Open Space Network

Integrating the work of the Healthy Parks and Playgrounds Task Force that focused on the broad community of park users, the City is working with design consultants to develop designs for three new public open spaces in eastern Cambridge: Binney Street Park, Rogers Street Park, and Triangle Park. Together, they will appeal to the area’s full range of users, with features including unique playgrounds for children, a variety of shaded seating spaces, and off-leash dog opportunities. The design also includes green infrastructure and new trees and other plantings. Construction on the three parks is anticipated to begin in FY18.

The City continues to plan for the Grand Junction Greenway, a multi-use path along the railroad right of way that incorporates the vision of enhanced use of the corridor. In FY17, the first segment of the path, between Main and Broadway, opened as part of the Grand Junction Park. The Watertown-Cambridge Greenway is an effort to create a segment of multi-use pathway and greenway, the last missing piece in a regional connection between the Charles River and the Minuteman Path. The state is working to finalize construction funding, which could be secured as early as summer 2017 for construction beginning in the fall.  

Opioid Intervention

The Cambridge Police Department has implemented a strategy to combat the opioid epidemic with both intervention and coaching services established within the community. The Department is collaborating with community partners to reduce the number of opiate overdoses by educating, empowering, and motivating families through problem solving and managing addiction; partnering with community stakeholders to aid in the process of recovery; providing resources and options for inpatient and outpatient services; reducing the stigma associated with addiction; and instilling a focused treatment approach.

Participatory Budgeting

In FY18, the City will implement the seven winning projects from the third Participatory Budgeting (PB)  process, which include solar panels on the Main Library roof, flashing pedestrian lights at six crosswalks, solar-powered bus tracking displays at 10 high-use bus stops, kinetic energy tiles at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School and Harvard Square, four water bottle fill stations, upgrades to the Moore Youth Center, and the commissioning of murals and street art in various parts of Cambridge. More details on these projects can be found in the Public Investment Section and at pb.cambridgema.gov. In FY18, the City will launch its fourth annual PB process in which residents will decide how to spend $800K of the City’s FY19 capital budget. Idea collection will take place from June 1 - July 31, 2017 and voting will be held from December 2-8, 2017.

Public Safety Information Technology Team

In FY18, the Emergency Communications Department will assume oversight of the new Public Safety Information Technology (PSIT) unit, which consolidates the IT professionals and technical resources that build and maintain critical computer and communications infrastructure for the Emergency Communications, Fire, and Police Departments. PSIT is a high performance team that provides centralized technology services to approximately 700 public safety users in over 10 locations throughout Cambridge. PSIT is also tasked with radio maintenance, critical systems upkeep, and security of public safety facilities. The reorganization aims to improve the use of technology in day-to-day public safety operations and enhance customer service to City departments and the public. The FY18 budget for PSIT operations is $1.8M, including personnel and funding for equipment from Police and Fire.

Regional Critical Incident Stress Management

In collaboration with seven neighboring police departments, the Cambridge Police Department (CPD) created a Regional Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) Team. Members of the Regional CISM team serve as peer support officers to assist participating communities in responding to major critical events and those that affect members of the CPD collectively. This team of volunteers participates when available to debrief and provide whatever support is necessary to fellow police officers in the aftermath of critical incidents. Preparing for the aftermath of critical incidents and the impact on officers’ individual and collective emotional wellbeing is one proactive approach CPD is taking to help its officers be more resilient.

Renewable Energy Supply

As part of the Net Zero Action Plan, the City is pursuing a number of initiatives to increase the proportion of carbon-free energy serving Cambridge residents, municipal buildings, and the community as a whole. The Low Carbon Energy Supply Strategy study, which explores a range of potential approaches to decarbonization, will conclude in fall 2017 and will offer a comprehensive set of renewable energy strategies to meet the energy needs of buildings in all of Cambridge’s neighborhoods. The City is collaborating with the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance to study electrification and other strategies. In addition, the City is pursuing a 100% renewable energy electricity supply for the municipality and has identified a prioritized framework of goals to evaluate potential renewable energy project opportunities.

Safe Routes to Schools

In FY17, Cambridge’s Safe Routes to School program launched a four-lesson Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Unit for 2nd grade students. The pedestrian lessons teach the importance of safe walking behaviors and the basic elements of pedestrian infrastructure. The bicycle safety lesson includes the proper clothing to wear for bicycling, how to correctly fit the helmet (each student trained receives a free bicycle helmet), the rules of the road, and basic bicycle maintenance. In FY18, the program will expand to all 12 elementary schools in Cambridge and the City budget includes $21K in capital funds to procure a fleet of 30 bicycles

Smart Meters

In FY18, the Traffic, Parking & Transportation Department (TPT) will implement a pilot program to replace conventional street meters with smart meters, as well as expand the pay-by-phone program citywide. Improved parking meter technology will provide improved customer service, with more payment choices, better data on parking utilization, and more dynamic management of the parking supply.

STEAM Initiative

Launched in 2016, the Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Design, and Math (STEAM) Initiative is working to coordinate and expand STEAM learning experiences to ensure that students, particularly underrepresented students, can develop the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful citizens in a rapidly changing world and access the STEAM careers driving our local and regional economies. The initiative brings together human services, the public schools, community-based organizations, higher education and business partners, to build a system that fosters equity and access so all students can participate in quality STEAM learning experiences.  Engaging families in neighborhood-based STEAM events with fun, hands on activities, is one of many strategies to foster awareness of the importance of STEAM literacy and connect families to programs and opportunities.

Supporting & Appreciating Veterans

Veterans Appreciation Week: After the success of the Veterans’ Appreciation Day in FY17, the Veterans’ Services Department will extend the event from one day to one week in FY18. Veterans’ Appreciation Week will feature restorative therapy services, crafts, and workshops at the Veterans’ Life and Recreation Center. In FY18, the Department will also host the City’s first Veterans’ Day Town Hall at the Main Library after the traditional morning Veterans’ Day Observance. The Town Hall will help bridge the civil-military gap in our community by creating a forum for veterans of all generations to gather and share their unique experiences. This approach is inspired by Native American traditions of warrior storytelling. 

A Veteran in the Workplace: In FY18, the Veterans’ Services Department will organize paired supervisor workshops and Veteran staff discussions for City departments. The workshops will aid the City in maximizing the significant assets that veterans bring to our workforce, minimize the obstacles they may face, and facilitate a welcoming environment for the City’s new hires and existing veteran staff members. 

Expedited Veterans’ Services: The Veterans’ Services Department, in addition to fulfilling the state mandate to Cambridge resident veterans and their dependents, will initiate expedited veterans’ services for all City staff regardless of what city they reside in. The City will be able to assist with acquiring U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs documents, providing guidance on available federal or state benefits and services, and more. For Chapter 115 benefits, the City will offer referral services to the Veterans’ Service Officer in any city or town in Massachusetts where a City employee may reside.

Sustainability Compact

In FY17, members of the Cambridge Compact for a Sustainable Future adopted a new strategic plan, concluding an eight-month planning process. The Compact, founded in 2013 by the City, Harvard, and MIT, is a community partnership of businesses, nonprofits, city government, and universities where members leverage their combined resources to address environmental challenges. The three-year plan is focused on advancing sustainability in Cambridge through education, research, outreach, and advocacy in five key areas: GHG inventories, building energy, climate resiliency and adaptation, renewable energy, and sustainable transportation. Activities extending into FY18 include:
  • Establishment of a working group to assist progress toward the City’s goal to achieve net zero labs for new construction by 2030 and determine best practices on energy management for labs.
  • An initiative to inventory member procurement practices for renewable energy assets, identify related needs, and catalyze local research to inform work in this area. 

The Port Project.

Over the next five years, the City will spend over $35M on sewer, drainage, water, street, and sidewalk improvements in The Port. This neighborhood has experienced significant flooding in the past and the City’s assessment on climate change vulnerability has shown the risk of flooding is increasing over time. In order to significantly reduce the frequency of future flooding, the City will construct two underground stormwater storage tanks to capture stormwater, which will then be pumped away from The Port to the Charles River via a storm pipe along Massachusetts Avenue. Construction of the first stormwater tank in Parking Lot 6 on Bishop Allen Drive will begin in summer 2017.

Transit Strategic Planning & Prioritizing Bus Service

Cambridge’s Transit Strategic Plan, created through a comprehensive two-year community process, seeks to improve the quality and expand the capacity of our public transit system. The Plan will help achieve City goals related to economic viability and livability, and is a strategic component of City efforts to encourage people to shift from drive-alone vehicle trips to sustainable modes of transportation. In FY18, CDD will focus on designing and implementing Cambridge’s first bus lanes. 

In FY17, the City is piloting solar-powered real-time transit displays in four locations to explore the best type of signs and technology to use, and to test their effectiveness before launching the additional solar-powered real-time displays funded with $150K from Participatory Budgeting. In FY18, the City will continue efforts to improve amenities at bus stops, including the installation of additional shelters and benches.

Trauma-Informed Cared

During the summer of 2016, CPD launched a first-of-its-kind Trauma-Informed Law Enforcement Training Program in partnership with the Domestic and Gender-Based Violence Prevention Initiative. The training emphasizes three outcomes: first, ensuring that officers recognize the importance of self-care in order to be able to take care of others; second, understanding and recognizing how everyone experiences trauma differently; and third, understanding the psychological impacts of trauma, specifically when investigating cases involving domestic and sexual assault survivors, to help gain positive outcomes. Over 40 officers have graduated from the inaugural Trauma-Informed Training sessions thus far. The training has helped build a foundation that CPD will roll out to all of its officers, helping to evolve its culture into one that is even more compassionate and resilient.

Urban Forestry

The City’s commitment to maintaining a healthy urban forest has been recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation, which recently awarded Cambridge the Tree City USA award for the 24th consecutive year, as well as its more prestigious Growth Award for the 9th consecutive year. In honor of Arbor Day in April 2017, the City held its first “Tree Week” with events across the City to celebrate our urban forest and educate residents and students about the benefits of the over 19,000 public trees in our community. As part of Tree Week, the Department of Public Works (DPW) launched a new “Adopt-A-Tree” Program with an interactive online tool residents can use to look up trees in Cambridge and adopt public trees to commit to watering them, tend to tree pits, etc. to help keep our urban forest vibrant and healthy. In FY18, the City will hire a senior urban forestry staff person to support and expand urban forestry programs.

Vision Zero, Transportation Safety, & Complete Streets

Vision Zero calls for the elimination of all traffic fatalities and severe injuries, while increasing safe, healthy, and equitable mobility for all. Following the City Council’s adoption of Vision Zero in FY16, TPT, Public Works, and CDD began development of a detailed implementation plan to accelerate the beneficial impact of existing City practices such as the Complete Streets program. Through this work, city streets are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users – regardless of age, ability, or mode of transportation. 

The City has made significant financial commitments to support these initiatives across Cambridge. Some highlights include: 
  • $4M from Parking Fund’s Fund Balance to address Inman Square
  • $1M in bond funding for bicycle infrastructure projects.
  • $525K in specialized equipment for Public Works to support snow clearance on sidewalks and in bike lanes.
  • $400K in Complete Streets funding from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation for sidewalks and bicycle parking.
  • $350K increase in Traffic, Parking & Transportation’s operating budget for Vision Zero projects, including $300K to design and implement separated bicycle lanes and bus priority improvements, and $50K for Vision Zero outreach. 
  • $300K for traffic calming, including a raised crossing on Amory Street near the Robert Paine Square Playground. 
  • $250K for curb extension bus stops on Green Street at Pearl Street and 8 locations on Huron Ave. 
  • $200K for a two-way bicycle connection to the Kennedy Longfellow School on Fulkerson Street.
In addition, a Vision Zero Advisory Committee made up of Cambridge residents, advocates, and representatives of local institutions has been formed to advise the City on Vision Zero initiatives.

Volpe Site Planning

In FY17, MIT was selected by the U.S. General Services Administration as the development partner for the 14-acre site of the U.S. Department of Transportation Volpe Transportation Systems Research Center in Kendall Square. Redevelopment of this site will entail construction of a new Volpe facility while developing the remainder of the site in accordance with the City’s plan for the area. For many years, the City has looked to the Volpe site as an opportunity to add to the vibrancy of Kendall Square and improve connections through the area and with surrounding neighborhoods.  

At the City Council’s request, a Volpe Working Group that includes residents, business and institutional representatives, and other stakeholders was appointed in FY17 to further articulate the community’s vision and principles for redevelopment of the site. In FY18, CDD will work with MIT, the Planning Board, and the City Council on changes to the zoning requirements for the area that would enable a future development proposal in accordance with the City’s goals.

Water Department Initiatives

The Water Department continues to implement a multitude of projects to protect the Fresh Pond Reservation and provide a safe, uninterrupted water supply of the highest quality to community members. Key FY18 projects are part of the Department’s $3.5M capital allocation and include: 
  • Water Works construction projects, such as repairing water infrastructure, replacing large valves, and conducting a leak detection survey. 
  • Replacement of water meters and meter transmission units to ensure accurate measurement of water consumption. 
  • Construction and oversight of a drainage and community garden project to address drainage issues on the perimeter path and increase accessibility to community gardens.  
  • Implementation of the Fresh Pond Master Plan, including planting and fencing at Cambridge Greenway, restoring the Kingsley Park overlooks, in-lake restoration at Black’s Nook, and Perimeter Road design.
  • Maintenance of the U.S. Geological Survey reservoir gauging stations located upcountry.
  • Reservoir facility improvements, including replacing the Stony Brook dam footbridge, drainage work at Hobbs Dam Slope/Winter Street, and removing vegetation from City-owned easements. 

Women In Cambridge Monthly Networking Events

The Cambridge Women’s Commission hosts the networking series, Women in Cambridge, a dynamic, engaging, and welcoming group of more than 1,000 professional women who meet monthly to socialize and share ideas, opportunities, and insights in Cambridge. Each event pairs a Cambridge restaurant/retail business/public space with a local businesswoman or City program representative, with an emphasis on women-led businesses and organizations. In addition to relaxed conversation and opportunities to meet other local business owners, there is a short presentation from the featured speaker, a few words from the host establishment, and refreshments to enjoy. These evenings are a great way to connect with other women, learn about the latest happenings and opportunities in Cambridge, and enjoy some noteworthy Cambridge locations.

Zero Waste Management Plan

During FY17, the City began the process of developing a Zero Waste Master Plan to guide City recycling, compost, and trash programs. The overall goal of this plan is to help the City reach its goal of reducing trash by 30% by 2020 and 80% by 2050 from a 2008 baseline. A number of initiatives enacted in recent years have supported the City’s efforts to meet aggressive solid waste reduction targets. From a regulatory perspective, the 2016 Bring Your Own Bag Ordinance has reduced waste by limiting disposable bags at point of sale. From a program perspective, developing curbside organics collection has the potential to substantially reduce waste. Approximately 40% of Cambridge’s trash is food waste and other compostables.  In April 2014, the City began a one-year pilot program for curbside pickup of food scraps from over 600 households in North Cambridge. The program expanded to include 5,200 households in October 2015. In FY18, the City plans to expand the program citywide and will hire four new laborers within DPW to support this effort.

Page was last modified on 5/8/2018 6:55 PM
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