I would like to invite you, your family, and your friends to come to downtown Melrose tomorrow morning for just a few minutes to give our returning soldiers a warm welcome home.
As you may have already heard, the 182nd Infantry Regiment, which is based in Melrose, will be returning to the city tomorrow morning, Wednesday, March 28. We don’t know exactly when they will arrive, but we expect them between 7:00 and 7:30 a.m. The troops will reunite with their families at Memorial Hall. Veterans Services Officer Ryan McLane invites everyone to come downtown around 6:45 a.m. to line the street with well wishers. Please join me tomorrow morning to welcome our heroes home and thank them for their service.
Arthur King sent in a comment last week asking about our Free Cash situation:
I heard there will be some FREE CASH in the budget and assume that it will be used to help reduce taxes and not allocated to some city department.
Thank you for your question, Arthur!
What we call Certified Free Cash is the amount that revenues exceed spending at the end of the fiscal year. It’s like the balance in your checking account after you have paid all the bills.
This is one-time money, so it is my opinion that the best strategy is to invest it into the infrastructure of the city. In the ten years that I have been mayor, we have worked hard to maintain and improve the infrastructure of Melrose—roads, sidewalks, the water and sewer system, fire hydrants and firefighting apparatus, trees and parks—so that it does not leave a liability for future generations. Unlike the state, which is allowing roads and bridges to fall into disrepair, we are maintaining our property and investing in improvements. This makes the City of Melrose a more pleasant place to live now and keeps us from having to borrow money for future repairs, putting the city in a better fiscal position for the long term.
City Hall is usually quiet on weekends, but this past Saturday, March 17, the Aldermanic Chamber was filled with activity as the Melrose High School Permanent Scholarship Fund Committee held their annual mail-a-thon, with the help of 48 Melrose High students who got up early on a Saturday to address, stuff, and stamp envelopes.
When you get that letter from the Permanent Scholarship Fund, consider this: Many of the committee members who donate their time don’t have children at Melrose High School. Some have young children, some have older children who graduated long ago. Yet they all feel strongly enough about the importance of this scholarship program to dedicate their time and effort—and give up a Saturday morning—to ensure that Melrose High School students will get some extra help from their hometown when they go to college.
I particularly like the Permanent Scholarship Fund because it encourages these connections between generations: The students who came to help on Saturday, the parents of children who will someday go to Melrose High, and the parents of children who graduated long ago. Every scholarship is designated as being from an earlier class, an organization, or an individual, and the tradition is that when a student receives the scholarship, he or she writes a thank-you note to the sponsor—another way to maintain community ties across space and time.
The wonderful weather on Monday and Tuesday of this week was a reminder that spring is on the way, and our Department of Public Works is here to help you get ready to take care of your lawn and garden the natural way. The City Yard will be open on Saturday, March 17, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. for a special lawn and recycling event. You will be able to buy a rain barrel for $75, to cut down on your water bill, or a compost bin for $40, so you can recycle yard waste and fertilize your lawn and garden.
You will also be able to drop off CRTs, TVs, monitors, items with mercury in them, light bulbs, metal good, tires, dried latex paint, and white goods (refrigerators, stoves, washers, dryers, freezers, and dishwashers).
We are planning a special recycling event every Saturday so you will be able to drop off these items more often. In addition, we will be recycling Styrofoam in April, shredding paper in May, and accepting used books in June. Here’s the full schedule:
April 21: Styrofoam
May 19: Paper shredding
June 16: Used books
July 21: Clothes and shoes donation day
September 15: Lawn items and rigid plastics
October 27: Household Hazardous Waste Day
November 17: Plastic bags
December 1: Catch-all recycle day.
If you have the opportunity to watch Tuesday night’s School Committee meeting, be sure to check it out. The presentations by the department heads, Melrose High School principal Dan Richards, and Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School principal Tom Brow were the most articulate visions for our schools that I have seen in recent years.