Town Manager Austin Faison got his chance at his first Fall Forum.
The Town Meeting style event is required by the town charter and was held last Tuesday night before the Thanksgiving holiday. Faison focused on his management strategy and the state of the town.
“I will continue to make Winthrop a great place to live, work and raise a family,” Faison said.
He introduced the town’s new Chief Financial Officer Anna Freedman and the new Assistant Town Manager David Rodrigues. He also acknowledged all the department heads attending the meeting.
Faison said he would like to see the Town Council set out goals and objectives. He sees himself as a conduit between the department heads and the council.
Looking at the upcoming budget, Faison wants to see transparency and would like to strive for a Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) Distinguished Budget Award standards.
“I want our budget an easier to decipher budget,” Faison said, adding he will work to redo some human resource policies.
He will also oversee three committees, the Center Business District, Middle School Redevelopment and an Ethics Committee. He noted the subtle difference in the spelling of “center” or “centre” and making a decision as to which one it should be.
“In the past ethics and transparency have come up,” Faison said, adding that work on relationships with state representatives, MassPort, MWRA, Metro Mayors Coalition and the MBTA must continue and be revitalized.
Faison plans to have a balanced budget document available to the public by the end of February 2019. It will include tidbits for developers like TIFFs and GIFs, which can make Winthrop more attractive to developers.
“If you’re looking at cutting the budget you’re looking at cutting people,” Faison said.
Faison said development in the region will also spill over into Winthrop and Winthrop needs to have the infrastructure ready for that. One project could be a water storage project for Ingleside Park to help with flooding.
“A project like this makes the most sense, with a large storage container that as the tide goes out the water flows out,” Faison said.
Faison said the tax rate will be set Dec, 5.