Boncore to Council: ‘We Are Still in the Red’

The Winthrop Town Council met virtually on Sept. 8, where it heard updates on the pandemic, the school reopening and other matters impacting the community.

COVID-19

Winthrop has seen a total of 372 positive coronavirus tests, with 24 deceased, 20 in isolation and 328 recovered. Gov. Baker has extended the Winthrop testing site to Sept. 30. Of the town’s 18,000 residents, only 1,500 had been tested as of Sept. 8. Council President Phil Boncore urged all residents to get tested.

“We are still in the red, which is not good,” he said. “The testing procedure is simple and free.”

Elections

Both Council President Boncore and Town Manager Austin Faison expressed their gratitude to the Clerk’s Office for realizing a successful primary election on Sept. 1, which included a large number of mail-in ballots. Faison noted that there is still a need for poll workers for the November election, in which twice as many residents are expected to vote. Individuals as young as 16 will be paid to staff the polls during the week leading up to Nov. 3.

School Department

The schools are hard at work preparing both teachers and students for the fully remote curriculum slated to begin this week. An indoor air quality assessment is being realized in all the school buildings. Teachers who do not want to return to the classroom are able to take advantage of sick leave, parental leave, family medical leave, maternity leave and other policies.

Parking Program

The Parking Program on Point Shirley expired on Sept. 7. According to a spokesperson for the Transportation Safety Advisory Committee (TSAC), the program was a success and should be adapted as a “permanent and predictable policy” for the summer season. In addition, it recommended handing out additional visitor parking passes.

Council President Boncore floated the idea of extending the program until the end of the month, given pleasant weather conditions that may continue to draw beachgoers. Councilor Rob DeMarco said he could get on board with an extension as long as the data bore out such a need. Parking Hearing Officer Mike Diluiso said he would examine the data and report back.

Caller Gerry Wardwell weighed in on the program.

“People think it’s a success. It’s a nightmare,” he commented. “Enforcement has to be better. Someone has to take a look at what’s going on down there. No one cares.”

Transportation

The Council heard a number of recommendations from The Transportation Safety Advisory Committee: implement 15-minute parking on Shirley St. in the vicinity of Shirley Hardware; amend the Resident Parking Sticker Program; eliminate parking on a portion of South Main St.; install a stop sign at Quincy/Cliff Ave.; and improve traffic and pedestrian safety on Almont, Cross & Locust St. These recommendations were moved to the Committee on Rules and Ordinances for closer examination.

Library

Library Director Dianne Wallace and Asst. Director Mary Lou Osborne gave a presentation about current library operations. See full article here.

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