Boncore Outlines 2020 Successes

During the Jan. 5 meeting of the town council, Council Pres. Phil Boncore delivered his annual State of Our Town Address, in which he detailed Winthrop’s accomplishments of 2020. Despite a year of unprecedented hardship, the town was able to achieve significant progress in a number of key areas.

The Town Council approved a new zoning map for the Center Business District, initiated a parking pilot program for Point Shirley, expanded outdoor restaurant seating, passed parking ordinances, reviewed town financials, reduced the town speed limit, and requested utilities discounts for all residents.

Town Hall continued its operations, conducted virtual meetings, avoided COVID outbreaks in municipal buildings, supported remote workers, received a grant for parklets and for climate resiliency, installed bicycle markings, introduced new street signage, and worked to envision the town’s future.

The Finance Department continued assessment of the town’s economic situation, spent over $700,000 on COVID relief from FEMA and the CARES Act, maintained its bond rating and town insurance coverage, implemented new financial policies and trainings, ended the year with a positive free cash balance, maintained payroll and vendor warrant processes, supported a national election, and added an assistant CFO.

The Department of Public Works completed the utility phase of the Center Business District project; retrofitted all town buildings for COVID; installed a bicycle lane network with pavement restoration; replaced over 3,000 square yards of sidewalk; removed 100 lead services; planted 50 trees; responded to 2,656 SeeClickFix work orders; installed new flooring at Senior Center; completed Miller Fieldhouse; improved roofing at the library, EBN and Senior Center; repaired 18 water main breaks, 30 water service leaks and 8 sewer breaks; replaced 10 gate valves, 15 fire hydrants, and rebuilt a pressure-reducing valve; emptied and inspected one million gallon water tank; rebuilt 80 storm drain and 40 manhole structures; cleaned and inspected 250 catch basins; and replaced 250 feet of storm drain on Sturgis St.

Winthrop Public Schools trained teachers to teach remotely; supplied students with learning materials; provided food services to students; implemented a safety plan and a safety response team; created reopening plans; upgraded certain technologies such as Chromebooks; purchased new boilers; purchased PPE, sanitizing machines, hand sanitizers and safety signage; installed new playground; successfully returned teachers to the classroom; and hired additional staff.

The Inspectional Services Department issued 13 percent more permits than in 2019 and inspected all restaurants for COVID compliance.

The Fire Department hired four new members and responded to over 2,000 emergency calls.

The Police Department managed political demonstrations, helped launch the food bank, installed security in town buildings, completed harm reduction training to prevent overdoses, welcomed a volunteer to assist with C.L.E.A.R. program, became a mentor site for recovery assistance, served over 70 individuals through C.L.E.A.R., replaced the old whaler with a patrol boat, began retrofitting marina lights, and integrated new management software.

The Parks and Recreation Department hosted a summer park program, summer day program, after-school program, pumpkin painting, pictures with Santa and traveling basketball.

The Town Clerk’s Office realized two successful elections.

The Treasurer’s Office continued to mail out bills, processed tax payments, completed the tax title process, and launched the resident parking sticker program.

The Winthrop Public Library offered many remote services, including outdoor pickup and dropoff of materials, and expanded online offerings.

The Veterans Department provided seamless service to veterans in town.

Larsen Rink modernized its air systems and improved operating conditions, worked to improve accessibility, and did not exceed its budget despite a year of economic struggle.

The Winthrop Ferry implemented COVID-19 policies, retrofitted the ferry, saw increasing numbers weekly, and served residents for five months with no outbreak.

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