Spring definitely has arrived, with Somerville Open Studios this weekend and PorchFest next weekend signaling that Budget Season is just around the corner. As Chair of the Finance Committee, I've been busy working with the City's Budget Director to figure out the calendar for all those nights of budget review.

We're close to finalizing a schedule, but expect the Mayor's proposed FY25 budget to drop just before Memorial Day, with the Mayor's presentation and the School budget presented to us the following week.

There will be a public hearing on the proposed budget about a week after its release. I like to give the public a chance to digest the budget before asking them to weigh in on it, while at the same time I believe it's helpful to hear from the public before we do departmental budget hearings.

The first two weeks of June will be packed with departmental budget hearings, followed by Cut Night on Tuesday, June 18, and a special meeting to take up a vote on the revised FY25 budget on Thursday, June 20. This vote is happening separate from the council's second June regular meeting on June 27, in order to give the City's Auditing Department sufficient time to enter the FY25 budget into the financial software ahead of the beginning of the new fiscal year the following Monday.

Here are some other things happening around Somerville:

FY25 School Budget Update

FY25 Budget What to Expect

The City Council is getting a fairly heavy dose of emails concerning the FY25 School budget. This is due to the fact the Administration and the School Committee are engaged in negotiations over the amount the School budget will be increased in FY25. The good news is that unlike in other communities, it's a question of how much the School budget will be increased by this year, rather than cuts. But still, it's important because the final round of money from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund runs out on September 30, and so we need to move the remaining positions in our schools stood up by ESSER funds onto the General Fund, our annual operating budget. More

Meeting Out-of-School Time demand

Afterschool Registration

Working families need a bridge from the end of the school day to the end of the workday, finding afterschool care can be a major stressor. Enter the Community Schools afterschool program, a vital resource for many Somerville Public Schools families. Unfortunately, space is limited in Community Schools programs, and demand for these spots can far exceed supply at some of our elementary schools. This results in uncertainty for waitlisted families and panic for families who miss out. More

Lateral Hires

Assembly Square fire station screenshot

At the April 25 City Council regular meeting, there was a presentation and extensive discussion of the Administration's planned use of lateral hires to fill new positions in our Fire Department to staff the forthcoming Assembly Square fire station. This presentation originally was scheduled for the March 28 regular meeting, but the council tabled the item to allow for more time to review the communication from the Administration. Then two weeks ago, the council took up the issue, with Ward 1 Councilor Matt McLaughlin giving a presentation on the history of firefighter hiring before we heard from firefighters about their opposition to lateral hires and expressed our own opposition going this route. More

Water & Sewer bill true-up update

$41k water & sewer bill

Our city has been in the regional news quite a bit lately with the raft of high water bills and some truly shockingly massive bills. Some of us on the City Council have been talking about this issue since 2022, and I wrote about this back in February, before the latest round of bills went out. Despite improved communication about this from the City, there's still a lot of confusion about these bills. More

Slice of the City

Slice of the City

The old ward-based ResiStat meetings turned into City Hall Community Meetings coming out of the pandemic. This spring the City is trying a new approach, with a poster session or science fair approach to conveying information from City staff at Civic Day this past Saturday. The opportunity to talk to your elected officials is happening at less-formal events called "Slice of the City" being held in the coming weeks in every ward in Somerville. First up is Ward 4 on Thursday from 5 to 7 in the Healey Schoolyard. I'll be there, so come have a slice of pizza and talk about our city. Here is the full schedule.

Somerville Open Studios

Somerville Open Studios

Saturday and Sunday mark the return of Open Studios to Somerville. This event is wonderful celebration of the artists who call our city home to their studios. With our arts scene imperiled by market forces, it's more important than ever to appreciate what we have here in Somerville.

And it's also a great way to see some amazing art. I have art hanging on my walls that I first discovered through Open Studios, so this is the perfect opportunity to see what your artist neighbors are creating. Join me at Open Studios Saturday (May 4) or Sunday (May 5) from noon to 6 PM, with over 350 artists participating this year.

Hazardous waste dropoff is back!

Saturday, May 4, is the May date of the monthly hazardous waste dropoff at the Department of Public Works (DPW) Yard at 1 Franey Road. These events happen the first Saturday of each month and allow residents to drop off items that can't be placed in the trash. You can see the full details and look at a waste collection calendar here.

Multi-member body opportunities
The City of Somerville's multiple-member bodies (boards, committees, and commissions) are a great way to be an active part of our city and contribute to the community. The Administration currently is seeking members for the following multi-member bodies:

Did You Know...
Catalytic converter theft is sadly common in Somerville, and can result in a major inconvenience and high replacement cost for victims. While hybrids and vehicles like trucks with higher clearances are popular targets for thieves, you can help reduce your risk of having your catalytic converter stolen by:

  1. Always parking in well-lit areas
  2. If you can, parking with the exhaust side near a curb or wall
  3. Painting your catalytic converter with auto paint and/or etching your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) onto it
  4. If your vehicle is a popular target for thieves, purchasing and installing a theft deterrent device like the CatStrap or CatClamp.

Donate to fund this work

2024 Jake for Somerville ActBlue donation form

Office Hours
Thank you to everyone who came out to Ward 5 joint office hours on Saturday morning with Ward 5 Councilor Naima Sait, Ward 5 School Committee representative Laura Pitone, State Rep, Erika Uyterhoeven, and State Sen. Pat Jehlen.

Ward 5 joint office hours

Stay tuned for news about May office hours. In the meantime, if you'd prefer to meet individually, you can find a date and time to meet with me that works for you via my Calendly.

The week ahead
Here's what I'll be attending this week, if you're interested in joining me:


Jake Wilson


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