Thursday's night City Council regular meeting was a return to more typical meeting lengths, with a 2-hour, 38-minute meeting following some weirdly brief meetings in the first two months of this term. We had a number of resolutions from councilors, with members of the community sponsored to speak, as part of a 187-item agenda.

March 14 City Council regular meeting

Parking Minimums
As a body we discussed a resolution by Councilors Ewen-Campen and Burnley starting the conversation about removing parking minimums. We heard from Dir. Brad Rawson of the City's Mobility Division, who expressed support for this initiative and mentioned an interesting idea of taking these regulations out of the zoning ordinance and putting them in their own section of the Code of Ordinances. I'm intrigued by the idea of being able to regulate parking retrospectively rather than prospectively, as doing this through zoning only really regulates this when development happens.

I'm supportive of removing parking minimums in general, and I'm really looking forward to tackling the question of resident parking permit eligibility for developments who eschew off-street parking. We don't want to see developers simply punt parking onto our already-crowded streets, so we need to figure out how to prevent that. One big thing we'll need to do is make sure the conversation stays on topic about future off-street parking and doesn't veer into The On-Street Parking Wars. I think firewalling on-street parking from bearing the burnt of zero-parking or parking-lite developments is the way to keep this about the actual question of whether it's a good use of private land to store cars.

Edgerly Resolution
Following the news last Friday that the work to reunite the Winter Hill Community Innovation School Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten classes with the rest of the school under one roof at the Edgerly might need to be delayed from this summer due to legal thresholds of improvements triggering accessibility requirements, I put in a resolution asking for details. I've received a large volume of emails, calls, and texts from WHCIS families extremely upset about this latest body blow. With so many questions being asked, I felt it was important to call for a transparent and communicative approach to this decision.

I sponsored WHCIS parent Inês Santos to speak, and she talked about the announcement that led to the resolution, as well as the inequality that she sees between her school and other schools in the city. I'm gravely concerned about the short- and long-term impacts on the WHCIS community, especially with kindergarten placements happening and so much uncertainty hanging over Pre-K and K at the Winter Hill. Let's hope we get a clear picture of the situation in the coming weeks, hopefully starting at the Monday, March 25 meeting of the School Building Facilities and Maintenance Special Committee.

Water & Sewer outsourcing contracts
This past June we went deep on the financial impact of outsourcing on the FY24 water and sewer rates. I said at the time I would be extremely displeased if we found ourselves right back there having that discussion again this Budget Season. So with the City about to award the next contract for system maintenance and gate repair in our water and sewer network, this seems like the time to get an update on this. We'll be having that discussion in Finance, I expect at our April 9 meeting.

FY25 Shared Budget Priorities process
I shared a communication with the council in my capacity as the Chair of the Finance Committee, explaining in depth how the process of identifying and expressing the council's shared budget priorities for FY25 will work. I'm hopeful of working out some of the kinks from previous years, and I feel good about a collaborative process with colleagues to address areas where the process has been suboptimal the previous two years. I'm looking forward to seeing how this all comes together at our Committee of the Whole meeting in the City Council Chamber on Tuesday, March 26, at 7 PM.

Middle grades futsal championship games
Finally, I took the opportunity to invite the public to come watch the boys and girls championship games on Saturday for the middle grades intramural futsal program. This is one of my absolute favorite things that we do in Somerville, and I really hope that we get a good crowd in the East Somerville Community School gym for the girls final at 10 AM and the boys final at 11 AM. I'll be coaching the Healey girls in the first game, and I'm really looking forward to the experience.

Jake Wilson


Somerville City Councilor-At-Large (he/him/él)