Proposed Expansion of Discounts and Tax Relief Measures

My administration has sent the Board of Aldermen a series of discounts and tax relief measures for moderate to low income residents and senior citizens. It should be noted that these are separate from the proposed override, and passage of these proposals is not contingent on approval of the override. However, I believe it is important, given the override proposal before the community, that these measures are brought forward and passed. I believe that is the responsible thing to do. They include:

Expanding Eligibility for Solid Waste Fee Discount

Seniors 65+ with an income $65,870 or less for singles, $75,280 for married couples, would be eligible for a 50% discount for trash. This is a proposed increase from the previous threshold of $35,000 for single residents and $40,000 for married couples.

Figures are based on 2014 Federal HUD moderate income figures for this region.

Expanding Eligibility for Solid Waste Fee Waiver

Any resident with an income $35,000 or less for singles, $40,000 for married couples, who owns and occupies a home, would be eligible for a 100% discount on the trash fee. This is a proposed increase from the previous threshold of $22,000 for single residents and $25,000 for married couples.

Figures are based on 2014 Federal HUD moderate income figures for this region.

Increasing Exemption for Property Tax Work Program (PTWP)

The City is proposing the exemption amount of the Senior Work-off abatement be increased from $750 to $1,000 per year. This is the maximum allowed under Massachusetts General Law. Melrose property owners, age 60+ or disabled who meet annual income limitations may qualify for this program, whereby resident volunteers hours working in a city department in exchange for a credit on property tax.

Uncapping Number of Seniors for Property Tax Work Program (PTWP)

The City is removing the cap on the number of seniors who may participate in the Senior Tax Work-off abatement on an annual basis.

Senior Tax Exemption

The City is proposing increasing the Senior Tax Exemption from $700 per year to $1,000 per year for seniors who qualify. This is the maximum allowed under Massachusetts General Law.

Proposed Use of Override Funds

Override 2015: Where Your Investment Would Go

A ballot question regarding a $2.25 million override for the City of Melrose is currently before the Board of Aldermen. The first question for all citizens should be: Where is the money going for this proposed override? The answer is here.

Public Safety

  • Two Police Officers: This will strengthen and enhance community policing efforts throughout the City and lower overtime costs due to injuries, military deployment, and other factors. ($150,000)

Melrose Public Schools

After a several month budgetary process by the Melrose School Committee, as well as a Growth Budget presented by our Superintendent of Schools that was publicly reviewed and endorsed by the School Committee, the following positions were identified as priority positions that could not be funded with current resources.

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Korean War Memorial to Be Dedicated Sunday

Korean War Monument

The six men from Melrose who perished during the Korean War will be honored permanently on Sunday as the City of Melrose dedicates a beautiful black granite monument featuring their names and likenesses.

The monument will serve as a place for remembrance and reflection for all who served and sacrificed in the war known commonly as “The Forgotten War.”

The dedication will feature guest speaker and Korean War veteran Joe Sullivan, the Moulaison family, students from Operation Remember, traditional military honors, and music honoring Memorial Day.

Monument Symbolism

A good veteran’s monument will remember and it will educate. This monument does both by including the names and pictures of the fallen and paying tribute to the more than 1,000 Melrosians who served during the Korean War era.

The 54 paving stones found in front of the monument represent the 54,000 U.S. service members killed during the Korean War conflict. The layout of the paving stones and the juniper plants found between them pay homage to the National Korean War Memorial in Washington DC.

The six plantings behind the monument represent the six Melrosians who were killed in action.

The nine bushes planted around the monument represent the nine men from Melrose who perished during the conflict at home and abroad.

The benches represent not only the years of the Korean War but also a response to comments at the spring Veterans’ Town Hall meeting that this monument should have a place for reflection.

The “Freedom Is Not Free” expression found at the bottom of the stone also comes directly from the National Korean War Monument, a place where students and veterans from Operation Remember placed a wreath of remembrance on behalf of the City of Melrose.

This dedication is truly a community effort.

  • Operation Remember, a group of Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School students, researched, raised funds, and will help dedicate the memorial. Residents assisted in this effort by supporting the Melrose Veterans Open, the Chili Chowder Fest, several Liberty Bell Fundraisers, the annual MVMMS raffle calendar, and various private donations from veterans and supporters around the city
  • The Melrose Veterans Advisory Board and the Melrose Veterans Memory Project volunteered time, money and love to ensure the accuracy of the information on the stone, the picture quality, and the meaning behind the memorial
  • John Gately, who has personal connections to Korean War veterans, donated the inscription and engraving costs
  • The Melrose DPW worked tirelessly to put the elements of the memorial in place and enhance and beautify the area surrounding the monument
  • The City of Melrose raised the additional funds necessary to complete the project
  • Rock of Ages completed the monument work
  • John Gregorio, a local contractor, found and donated the pavers that lead up to the monument

And countless more! A tremendous effort with a beautiful result.

Melrose Hosts Sean Collier Memorial Basketball Tournament

Sean Collier Tournament

Melrose hosted the 2015 Boston Strong First Responder Basketball Tournament, a two-day basketball tournament to benefit the Sean Collier Memorial Fund through The Jimmy Fund, at Melrose High School this past weekend. We were very proud to host this tournament, and I hope that this will continue throughout the years.

The State Police were the winning team, and congratulations to the Melrose Police Department, who made a very strong showing. We are very proud of their participation.

Wellness Clinic to Benefit Pediatric Cancer Charity on May 24

Lucy's Love Bus Wellness Clinic ver 4

Full Schedule of Events for Memorial Day Weekend

Flags - 1

This year’s Memorial Day parade honors our Korean War veterans, and the flags around the Main Street Honor Roll are there to mark the memory of those who served in the Korean War.

Here is the schedule for Saturday and Sunday:

Decoration of Veteran Graves and Flag Retirement Ceremony
Wyoming Cemetery
Saturday, May 23, 10 a.m.

Memorial Day Breakfast
Memorial Hall
Sunday, May 24, 10 a.m.

Korean War Monument Dedication
The Knoll, 350 Lynn Fells Parkway
Sunday, May 24, 11 a.m.

Memorial Day Parade
Main Street to Wyoming Cemetery
Sunday, May 24, 1:30 p.m.

Closing Ceremonies
Wyoming Cemetery
Sunday, May 24, 2:30 p.m.

Tennis Courts Clear of Snow and Debris!

Tennis Courts 1

The snow has melted and the cleanup of debris at the Lyons Tennis Courts will be complete today! Construction of the new courts is scheduled to begin the second week of June.

Here’s a look at the plan for the new courts (colors are not final):

After!

After!

Catch the MHS Pops Concert on May 22!

The Melrose High School Jazz and Concert Bands present their Spring POPS Concert at Memorial Hall on Friday, May 22, at 7:30 p.m. You and your family are cordially invited to attend. The Jazz Band will have several soloists with featured vocalist Alexis Csicsek. The featured soloist for Concert Band is graduating MHS senior Abraham Zimmerman.

“Pops” style means table seating, food, wait staff, and great music! This event is open to the public. Elementary and middle school students are FREE! General Admission is $5, table seats are $10. We hope you can join us for a wonderful evening of food, music, and community!

DCR to Hold Meeting on Fellsway Guardrail June 11

The Department of Conservation and Recreation will hold a public meeting on Thursday, June 11, from 6–7 p.m. at the Botume House Visitor Center, 4 Woodland Road, Stoneham, MA, regarding the installation of guardrails at Fellsway East and Ravine Road.

At this meeting, DCR will discuss plans to install a guardrail along approximately 80 feet of the Fellsway East northbound near Phillips Street and approximately 60 feet along the newly-configured section of Ravine Road eastbound. The meeting will include an opportunity for questions-and-answers.

If you have questions about the public meeting, please call 617-626-4974 or email DCR.Updates@state.ma.us.

If you have questions, concerns, or would like to be added to an email list to receive DCR project-specific or general announcements, email mass.parks@state.ma.us or call 617-626-4973.

Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request by emailing Agatha Summons-McGuire at agatha.summons@state.ma.us or by calling her at 617-626-1282. Please provide Ms. McGuire with a description of the accommodation you will need, including as much detail as you can, as well as information on how she can contact you if more information is needed. Please allow at least one week (7 days) advance notice to Ms. McGuire of a need for reasonable accommodations; last-minute requests will be accepted, but may be impossible to fill. To request materials in accessible formats (Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), please also contact Ms. McGuire.

Learn About Community Electricity Aggregation on May 21

Join Melrose Energy Efficiency Manager Martha Grover and representatives from Good Energy on Thursday, May 21st from 7:00 – 8:00 PM at the Milano Senior Center, 201 W. Foster Street, for a public information session on Community Electricity Aggregation (CEA).

The City of Melrose is developing an electricity aggregation program, which is a form of group purchasing in which the City arranges electricity supply on behalf of its citizens to generate cost savings for Melrose residents and businesses. The purpose of this meeting is to provide some basic information about CEA, where we are in the process, and to answer questions about the proposed program. We are also seeking community feedback about the Melrose Aggregation Plan, which will be forwarded to the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities for review. Links to the Plan and other related documents can be found here:

Please note that future public information sessions will be held as the program gets underway later this year. More information about the Melrose Community Electricity Aggregation program can also be found online at http://melrose-cea.com/

Contact Martha Grover at mgrover@cityofmelrose.org or 781-979-4195 with questions and program updates.

Melrose Police Seek Suspect in Break-Ins

Police Chief Michael L. Lyle reports that the Melrose Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying a suspect in a rash of break-ins and burglaries in the city recently.

Melrose has experienced 11 commercial break-ins since last Tuesday.

On Sunday, shortly after midnight, Melrose experienced a rapid string of eight break-ins in the Main Street area, which the Police Department believes to be related.

Melrose Police posted a series of surveillance videos on YouTube, and they are hoping that someone will recognize the suspect and call police.

The videos are from a dry cleaner at the corner of Essex and Main streets.

The suspect is a white male with a heavy set build, approximately 6 feet tall. He was wearing distinctive sneakers — possibly black “Jordan’s” with white soles

In the videos, the suspect appears to be talking with someone via a microphone in his sleeve, which matches the behavior of a suspect being sought in commercial break-ins in Medford and Boston.

Police believe the suspect my be driving a dark Dodge Intrepid sedan or similar vehicle.

If anyone recognizes the suspect or has any information on the break-ins, they are urged to call Melrose Police at 781-665-1212.

Below are some still images from the video.

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