Newton Leads 2040

 

Message from Mayor Setti D. Warren:

We live in a fantastic place and according to a 2014 survey from Wall Street 24/7 Newton is the #1 city in which to live in the United States. Our education system, public safety, city services and fiscal health are excellent, but we know that our city’s greatness goes beyond these factors. It is Newton’s values and commitment to opportunity for all that makes us unique.

From the first day I took office and was sworn in, we have worked together to make tough decisions to ensure the current generation of residents has the same opportunity many of us have had.

Thanks to our work with The Dukakis Center at Northeastern University, we have detailed data of our city’s demographics now as well as a projection over the next 25 years. We are using these data in all areas of government to drive our decision making, including Newton Leads 2040.

Newton Leads 2040 codifies the work we have done since 2010 and the work we need to do together to address the needs of residents through 2040. 
 

Newton Leads 2040 is a call to action for all in our community to partner with us and with one another to continue to make our education system, public safety, infrastructure, environment and city services the best they can be.  Newton Leads 2040 will also promote partnership and engagement of residents and civic leaders to ensure we have affordable housing, diverse housing, multimodal transportation, robust entrepreneurship and growth in the innovation economy that will meet the needs of our citizens over the next 25 years. In the coming months we will seek input from residents to complete Newton’s first data-driven housing and transportation strategies. These studies and action plans are already underway.

 

If we want Newton to continue to be one of the best places to live in the next 25 years, each of us must lead by example - reaching out to those with whom we agree and, just as importantly, to those with whom we differ. We must do the hard work of finding common ground and have the courage to make difficult decisions for our community as a whole. We must also have the courage to question old assumptions. We should not always apply a 20th century solution to a 21st century challenge.  Newton Leads 2040 promotes the idea that if each of us plays a leadership role, we can set Newton on the right course for the next 25 years together. 

To stay in touch and receive updates on Newton Leads 2040, please provide your contact information.

 


Where We Were And Where We Are Now

The City has partnered with the Board of Aldermen, other elected officials, community leaders, and residents to improve our services. 

Since taking office in 2010, Mayor Warren has used outcomes-based budgeting and data-driven decision making to ensure the highest quality of service is being delivered to the residents and businesses of Newton.

The DataStat Newton program, launched in April 2015, ensures the needs of our community are being met effectively and efficiently.

The following are some highlights of where we were in 2010 and where we are now.  This list is not all encompassing.  Additional areas will be reflected in this initiative monthly as we move forward.  We want to work with you on achievable goals for the future which will be added to this website over time.

Financial Sustainability

In 2010

In 2015

By year 2013, $40 million annual structural deficit predicted

Structural deficit eliminated and “zero-based" budget policy

 






In 2010

In 2015

Pension liabilities growing

Plan validated by a third party to fully fund pension obligations by 2029

No plan to address OPEB liabilities

Plan validated by a third party to fully fund OPEB liabilities by 2042

See Report Here

No designated reserves to draw upon in case of emergency

$18 million rainy day fund



           

 

 

Excellence In Education

In 2010

In 2015

Long-range capital work outlined

Major renovations at Day School, Carr School fully renovated, expanded Angier School on track to open in January 2016,  an expanded Zervas School on track to open fall 2017, an expanded Cabot on track to open in 2019, Aquinas property purchased, unified preschools to open in September 2016, Lincoln-Eliot to move to a renovated expanded Aquinas in 2021, Horace Mann to move to Carr School, and current Horace Mann site to serve as an intergenerational community center.

Current Building Projects                              

FY17-FY21 Capital Improvement Plan

Achievement gap for students of color needs to be addressed

Calculus Project program now supports under-represented students in high-level courses and high schools have honor societies for black students. Over past 5 years, achievement gaps in high school ELA, Math, Science MCAS have narrowed.

Need for students to keep up with latest developments with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) 

STEM program expands with development of STEAM initiative at Newton South and continuation of Innovation Lab at Newton North

500 computers for NPS students

4,000 computers for NPS students

Summer work experiences not organized for high school students

Mayor initiates city-sponsored summer program in 2013.  By 2015, year three of the program, 17 businesses host 26 high school interns for 6 weeks with curriculum about workplace readiness

Some children take part in summer reading activities

1,300 students participate in Mayor’s Summer Reading Challenge logging approximately 18,000 total hours of reading

Need to focus on student mental health

Social and emotional learning expanded at all levels with funding from a federal grant and other sources

Class sizes are area of concern

35 additional classroom spaces added, class size averages at all levels reduced, lowest class size averages in many years at elementary school level







Economic Growth And Entrepreneurship


In 2010

In 2015

Permitting process is complicated and cumbersome for businesses and residents

Small Business Center and Design Review Team streamline permitting process and offer advice and support

Lack of planning regionally to promote economic growth

Regional partnership established with City of Newton, Town of Needham, and Chamber of Commerce on N2 Corridor including Needham St/Wells Avenue. Partnership also formed with the Chamber of Commerce, Newton, Needham, Watertown & Waltham for Charles River Mill District.     

Unused land adjacent to MBTA Riverside Station

Approvals in place and developer planning a multiuse development at the Riverside MBTA Station

Riverside Development Project

Underused and empty spaces along Rt. 9 and infrastructure improvements needed on Needham Street

Chestnut Hill Square and The Street open, Rt. 9 improvements made with I-Cubed money, MassWorks grant obtained to fix the Oak/Christina intersection at Needham Street, and work to start in 2018 on full construction of Needham Street








In 2010

In 2015

Restaurant business sector stable

Number of restaurants increased from 175 to 199; Food Safety Grading System launched to allow public to learn about food safety inspection results easily

Need for incubator space to grow small businesses and encourage innovation

MassChallenge and Cambridge Innovation Center, with community programming, established in Newton Corner




 

Economic Opportunity For All

 

On October 5, 2015, Mayor Setti Warren issued a comprehensive policy statement to improve offering economic opportunity for all residents.

 
Read more

 



Infrastructure

In 2010

In 2015

Capital plans made year by year

5-year capital planning process in place and Warren Administration created first-of-its-kind web-based tool in order to conduct a comprehensive assessment of all the City’s capital infrastructure; information is posted online

Losing money from water infiltration, (60.5% of Newton flow to the MWRA treatment facility is clean water.) Structural problems such as breaks and sagging. Water pressure deficiencies, (fireflow). 

New aggressive, comprehensive water, sewer and storm water capital plans.  As a result of these capital plans the City is already realizing more than a $2 million annual savings in our MWRA sewer assessment, improved fireflow throughout the City’s water system, and reductions in localized flooding areas.  

Increasing traffic congestion around the city

Traffic Signalization Plan in place which identified 17 of the most inefficient and unsafe intersections. 8 of those locations have been corrected or will be corrected with new signalization by mid-year 2016 - plans for future years outlined in the CIP 







In 2010

In 2015

Municipal buildings in need of repair

Renovated Fire Station 7 and new Fire Station 10 facilities open, each with new training components.  New Wires Division opens.  New Fire Station 3 and Fire Headquarters buildings in design phase.  

Major renovations at Day School, Carr School fully renovated, expanded Angier School on track to open in January 2016,  an expanded Zervas School on track to open fall 2017, an expanded Cabot on track to open in 2019, Aquinas property purchased, unified preschools to open in September 2016, Lincoln-Eliot to move to a renovated expanded Aquinas in 2021, Horace Mann to move to Carr School, and current Horace Mann site to serve as an intergenerational community center.

Current Building Projects                              

FY17-FY21 Capital Improvement Plan


















 














 


In 2010

In 2015

Planning for the future generally is reactive 

Demographic report and projections from the Dukakis Center at Northeastern drive housing, parking, and transportation strategies.

Roads in need of repairs

More than 50 miles of roadway resurfaced since 2010.  Since passage of tax override in 2013, 50% more roadway is paved each year than in 2010.





Vitality Of Our 13 Villages

In 2010          

In 2015

Little new affordable and diverse housing in the pipeline

Housing strategy and action plan being conducted by RKG Associates and Sasaki with goals to create at least 800 affordable units by 2021 and provide more diverse housing options.  The strategy will be presented in February 2016  

Reverse 911 System was eliminated in 2009 and public seeking more information on government operations and programs

Citizen hotline 311,Constant Contact emails, and DataStat publishing performance measurement information online

Traffic tieups, no bike lanes, city residents reliant primarily on automobiles for travel

Transportation strategy and action plan by Nelson Nygaard underway to provide the city with multi-modal transportation choices























Environmental Sustainability

In 2010

In 2015

Need to engage community to reduce energy usage

Energy Smart Newton Program underway – goal is to have businesses and residences reduce usage by 20% by the year 2020.  Solar opportunities are being offered for residences and businesses and community share opportunities are being explored.  City’s efforts to have homeowners receive free home energy assessments since 2010 has resulted in annual savings of $750,000. 

For more information please click here

Energy efficiency improvements being discussed

Six municipal buildings now have solar panels on their rooftops and these solar installations save $75,000 annually.  Due to energy efficiency improvements in 14 municipal buildings, $2.7 million is being saved each year. Solar array locations are being explored for City of Newton properties.  More than 8,000 LED street lights have been installed.  Oil to gas conversions have occurred in public buildings.

Next Steps

 

The City of Newton needs your involvement in Newton Leads 2040.  We ask you to join us in planning so the needs of residents and business owners can be met now and for the next 25 years.

 

To stay in touch, receive updates on Newton Leads 2040, and offer your insight on Newton traffic congestion, please take our survey:


 

 

 

 

We will be posting a summary of responses to this survey on this website.

 

 

 




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