What’s New: City Beat

Somerville Board of AldermenPhoto by Adrianne Mathiowetz.

City Council Approves FY20 Budget 

The City Council signed off on the FY20 budget at the end of June. The greatest chunk of funding—30 percent in the proposed FY20 budget summary, which equals over $76 million—was allotted to the school department, while 18 percent went toward public safety. The budget also devoted $771,670 to improving “bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure” as part of the city’s Vision Zero efforts, according to a tweet from City Councilor Ben Ewen-Campen.

Missing from the FY20 budget plan, though, were the names of city employees next to their position and salary as in years prior, the Somerville Journal reports. Adapted from previous years to protect the privacy of city workers, the lack of names made it difficult to “track vacancies,” Councilor J.T. Scott said, according to the Journal. The names of city employees and their positions were later made available to the City Council on a private server. 

Community Land Trust Coming to Somerville

Members of the Somerville Community Land Trust (CLT) hosted a kickoff event this June to share information about the newly incorporated group and get more community members involved, the Somerville Journal reports. The city CLT is a nonprofit, community-run organization that can acquire property and accept donations with the goal of maintaining housing affordability through renting units on the property at sustainable rates. Instead of having “low-moderate” income individuals and families forced out of their homes by rising rents, CLTs are meant to allow residents to benefit as their property gains value. “Community land trusts don’t just create permanent affordable housing and give people a place to live, they support those people while they’re living in community land trust property,” Somerville CLT member David Gibbs told the Journal.

New Airbnb Rental Restrictions Passed

The city passed stricter regulations on short-term rentals including Airbnb this spring, banning people from renting entire “adjacent units” as opposed to single rooms within a home. City Councilor Ben Ewen-Campen called the ordinance “a critical tool for protecting our existing rental stock” in a tweet. The ordinance will take effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

Davis Square
Police Arrest Suspected Bank Robber

Daniel Rosado, the suspect who allegedly shot at police officers during a bank robbery in Davis Square on May 1, was arrested three weeks after the event, the Somerville Patch reports. Police officers closed local roads and public transportation shortly after the shooting, urging residents to remain indoors while searching for the suspect with helicopters and the aid of the FBI.  Rosado is being charged with “one count of armed bank robbery, one count of brandishing and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence, and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm,” according to the Patch.

This story originally appeared in the Technology & Transportation issue of Scout Somerville, which is available for free at more than 200 locations throughout the city or by subscription.

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