During its Jan. 19 meeting, the Winthrop Town Council viewed a presentation by Win2030 and received updates from town departments.
Council Pres. Phil Boncore opened the meeting with a moment of silence for resident Richard Dimes, who passed away on Jan. 13 at the age of 94. Dimes was a lifelong public servant in Winthrop, serving as both a selectman and Planning Board member.
The Metropolitan Area Planning Council delivered a presentation on a future vision for Winthrop. The presentation can be viewed on the WCAT YouTube channel.
“This is a big thing. I’ve been talking about it since I came to Winthrop,” said Town Manager Austin Faison. “I hope people take the time to [review] it. It’s something the community should be proud of.”
As of Jan. 13, Winthrop had seen 1,641 total cases of COVID-19, with 34 deceased and 162 in isolation. Winthrop continues to be a High Risk community, with a 6.2 percent positive rate. Indoor testing will be available by appointment only at the old middle school beginning Jan. 29. Winthrop, Chelsea and Revere have begun vaccinating first responders.
The Winthrop Public Schools are continuing with their hybrid learning model and all buildings have been equipped with rapid test kits. So far there has been no school-based or athletics spreading of the virus. Council Pres. Boncore praised students and athletes for following protocols.
At its last meeting, the Finance Committee discussed the FY21 budget. Councilor Jim Letterie reported that all the departments are “doing a great job” staying within their budgets. The committee is looking for ways to offset the cost of the town’s trash contract, which increased by $300,000 in just one year. It is also exploring a water and sewer study to “help us understand why our bills are higher than in other communities.” Finally, the committee is looking into reimbursement for the costs associated with the upcoming special elections for state representatives—around $40,000.
The Rules & Ordinances Committee made three recommendations: improve traffic flow on Terrace Ave., create a four-way stop at Grovers St. and Highland Ave., and add two parking spaces on Beach Rd. The changes were approved by council.
The council president presented a citation to Susan Maguire, who is resigning from the Winthrop Board of Health after a long and dedicated career. Pres. Boncore wished her all the best in her future endeavours.
Councilor Tracey Honan delivered a statement on behalf of herself and Councilors Peter Christopher and Stephen Ruggiero condemning the violence in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. (See separate article in this publication.)
The town is making progress on its solid waste management program and composting options. It received a grant from the Shared Streets program and will start installing parklets once locations are decided. The easily moveable structures will increase outdoor seating in the Center Business District.
There are immediate openings on the following committees: the Airport Hazards Committee; the Commission for Diversity, Inclusion and Community Relations; and the Winthrop Planning Board.