Bond Ratings, Budgets, Fees and Regulations
During the past couple of months, the City has been awarded triple A Bond Ratings by all three major municipal rating agencies, approved a 6.2% increase in combined water and sewer fees, begun discussions on a $444 million operating budget for the next fiscal year, considered increases in a number of fees and reviewed new regulations for dumpsters.
In March, City Manager Robert Healy informed the Council that the three major rating agencies giving Cambridge a Triple A rating for the 10th consecutive year. The Manager’s letter (www.cambridgema.gov/cityclerk/cmLetter.cfm?item_id=14071) highlights information from the rating agency reports. A benefit of receiving these ratings is that the interest the City will pay on a $47.4 million General Obligation bond issue to finance a number of capital projects will be 3.58%, a third of a point lower than the rate paid by comparable communities.
The Council approved a 6.2% increase in combined water and sewer rates in late March that went into effect on April 1. The major cause of the increase is the 7.9% rise in sewer rates largely resulting from assessment increases set by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA). Water rates will rise by 2.7% largely due to reductions in consumption. The Water Department budget includes a reduction of $250,000 in spending from the current year.
In April, the Council received a $444 million budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2009. The budget proposes a 2% increase from the current year. Employee costs, assessments and debt service are the major factors in the increase while the Manager has required departments to reduce costs whenever possible. The budget includes a permanent reduction of three staff positions. This budget assumes a reduction of $8.7 million in state aid. It is possible that further reductions will be necessary if the House and Senate reduce local aid further. The budget increase will require an estimated 5.98% increase in the property tax levy as well as use of free cash. The full budget is available on the City’s Web site, www.cambridgema.gov
. The Council’s Finance Committee began hearings in late April.
Also in April, the Council received a recommendation (www.cambridgema.gov/CityOfCambridge_Content/documents/Fee%20Increases.pdf) from the City Manager to approve increases in many of the fees charged by City departments including the Clerk’s Office, Animal Commission, Public Works Department, Weights and Measures and Inspectional Services. Fee increases range from $3 to $50.
Property owners who use private dumpsters will be required to receive a license and submit information to the City if proposed amendments (www.cambridgema.gov/cityclerk/cmLetter.cfm?item_id=14237) to the Refuse and Litter ordinance are approved. The proposed ordinance, developed by the City’s Rodent Task Force, are designed to improve site cleanliness and control rodent issues related to commercial dumpsters.
The 2009 Government Affairs program is sponsored by Genzyme Corporation. For more information on GAC activities or to sign up to receive a weekly Government Affairs Update by e-mail, contact Director of Government Affairs Terrence Smith at email@example.com
or (617) 876-4213.
Save the Date
Please help support your local community by attending these upcoming fundraisers and celebrations held by CCC member organizations this spring.
• May 26—Science Club for Girls 15th Anniversary Celebration and Catalyst Award Ceremony
Broad Institute, 5:30 p.m.
Honoring Harvard College Dean Dr. Evelynn Hammonds and DOME Foundation President Dr. Larisa Schelkin
• May 27—American Red Cross of Massachusetts Bay Saving Lives Breakfast
Westin Copley Place Boston 7:30 a.m.
Raises crucial support for local Red Cross services and programs. Free, donations encouraged. Contact Amanda at firstname.lastname@example.org
or (617) 274-5242
• May 31—Community Music Center of Boston Reach Out: 99 Years of Music in the Neighborhoods to benefit scholarship fund, Media Arts Center, Roxbury Community College, 1234 Columbus Avenue, Roxbury, 4 to 6 p.m.
All-ages musical celebration with live performances bringing together music from around the world. Reservations at (617) 482-7494 or www.cmcb.org
• June 16—18th Annual James F. Farr Academy, Inc. Golf Tournament Indian Pond Country Club
Registration 7 to 7:45 a.m., Shotgun start at 8
$250 per golfer includes, cart, continental breakfast, golf, gift bag and awards luncheon.
• June 18—Cambridge License Advisory Board Taste of Cambridge to benefit Youth on Fire and Club Passim’s Culture for Kids Music Speaks Program, Charles Hotel Courtyards, 5:30 to 8 p.m.
A culinary tour of Cambridge
$50 online/$60 at the door/$75 VIP
• June 19—Door2Door Transportation by SCM/Somerville Chamber of Commerce Taste of Somerville
Holiday Inn Boston-Somerville, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. $25 in advance/$30 at the door
Sample the varied cuisine of the area’s best restaurants and enjoy the sounds of local bands to benefit Door2Door Transportation.
Nonprofits, send fall event information to Lisa S. Cohen at email@example.com
. If we receive enough submissions we’ll run this column again.
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