The spring and early summer tend to be dominated by the budget process, so with the new fiscal year's budget approve and that now behind us, attention should be turning back to policy for the second half of the year. One of my favorite policy discussions is around how we use our land in a city where land is a precious and expensive commodity.

Gilman Square Homan's Site

It's been 18 months since the full Green Line Extension opened, bringing five new rapid transit stations to our city. We need to be pursuing transit-oriented development around these Green Line stations and also around Davis Square and Porter Square, and I want to see us do this with urgency.

That means embracing density by upzoning the land around transit stations in order to make the best possible use of it. But we don't want to just unleash the forces of displacement without first putting in some safeguards to protect existing local small businesses. I believe there's a creative way to this, and I'm looking forward to digging into this in the Land Use Committee this fall. 

On June 5, I attended a workshop entitled Unlocking Housing Production at City Hall. Numerous City staff members and folks from the state were there to talk to developers and some industry experts on some fascinating approaches and government programs that we might look to tap into as a city to make middle class, workforce housing happen here in Somerville. I submitted a council order on June 13 to have a discussion with City staff in the Land Use Committee about some of those approaches we discussed at the workshop, and I'm excited to see where this goes.

Here are some other things happening around Somerville:

FY25 Budget recap
FY25 Budget Allocation of Increase

The Administration's proposed Fiscal Year 2025 budget was published on May 28 and presented by the Mayor two days later, officially kicking off Budget Season in Somerville. Over the next three weeks, the City Council's Finance Committee performed our duty of reviewing the the proposed budget with a series of departmental budget hearings. This culminated in Cut Night on June 18, where ultimately two cuts and two resolutions of funding reallocation were recommended for approval by the Finance Committee meeting as a Committee of the Whole with all 11 councilors present. Ultimately, at a special meeting on June 20, one of the two cuts -- the one targeting the Chief Administrative Officer position -- was undone by a final vote to accept a revised FY25 budget that restored the CAO position, and the City had an adopted $360 million budget for the new fiscal year that began on July 1. More

FY25 Water & Sewer rates
FY25 Sewer Rate Projections

At a June 25 special meeting, the City Council approved no increases to Water & Sewer volumetric rates for Fiscal Year 2025. Retained Earnings (past profits run by the Water and Sewer enterprise funds) and Free Cash were used to balance the two enterprise fund budgets for FY25, but these were stopgap measures just to make it through FY25. We'll have to wait to find out the ramifications for the City in terms of future Water & Sewer rate increases and potential delays or cancellations of some of the flooding mitigation projects in the pipeline. But how did we get here? More

ArtBeat 2024

ArtBeat 2024

Saturday, July 13 will mark the return of ArtBeat to Davis Square and this year's theme is WILD. This annual festival features local visual artists and makers, musical performances, family activities, and food. A $3 suggested donation will get you this year's version of the ArtBeat dog tag. You can get all the details and a full schedule of the event here.

Note: Elm Street and Holland Street will be closed to vehicle traffic in Davis Square for the event, so please plan your travel accordingly.

Disability Pride Month flag raising
At our June 27 meeting, the City Council resolved to declare this month Disability Pride Month. There's a Disability Pride flag-raising ceremony in front of City Hall on Thursday, July 11 at 5 PM to commemorate this occasion. Please join us!

Disability Pride Flag

Our Commission for Persons with Disabilities is doing amazing work, so make sure to check out all the events they're holding in July.

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...
Unless it is unsafe to stop, it is a violation of Mass General Law for a motor vehicle to proceed through a crosswalk when a pedestrian is a) in the crosswalk within 10 feet of the vehicle's lane; or b) standing on the tactile pad on the curb adjacent to the vehicle's lane.

Midnight Cowboy I'm Walking Here Meme

So if you're stopped at a mid-block crosswalk or turning through a crosswalk at a light during a pedestrian walk phase, you must wait until the pedestrian is at least 10 feet past your lane before proceeding. As a rule of thumb, most lanes are around 10 feet wide.

July 12 Cocktails & Karaoke Fundraiser
I'm hosting a fundraiser on Friday, July 12 to help pay for things like this webhost who sends out these newsletters, as well as other subscriptions for things like Google Workspace, Zoom Pro, and Calendly. I'm also taking on a summer intern this year and I have some very exciting projects lined up, like community surveys and a research project around vacant properties in the city.

Cocktails & Karaoke Fundraiser July 2024

I'll be behind the bar mixing cocktails (and mocktails!) and there will be a karaoke setup for anyone who wants to get up and sing. So come out and enjoy what should be a great summer evening! (Rain date: Saturday, July 13)

Can't make the fundraiser? You can donate here:

2024 Jake for Somerville ActBlue donation form

Office Hours
My July office hours will take place on Monday, July 8, from 6 to 8 PM at the new Gilman Pop-Up Park at 350 Medford Street. I'll be joined by State Rep. Erika Uyterhoeven and State Sen. Pat Jehlen. Come talk to us about the state or city budgets, or anything else on your minds!

July 2024 Office Hours

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. Please note that I'm planning on taking time for a vacation with my family from July 21 to August 4 and will be unavailable those two weeks.

The week ahead
In addition to Monday's joint office hours and Friday's campaign fundraiser, here's what I'll be attending this week, if you're interested in joining me:

  • Tuesday, July 9: Land Use Committee meeting @ 6:30 PM (Zoom)
  • Wednesday, July 10: Tufts Street Reconstruction Community Open House @ 5:30 - 7:30 (Glen Park - 150 Glen St)
  • Wednesday, July 10: Somerville Homeless Coalition neighborhood meeting (Somerville Community Baptist Church - 31 College Ave)
  • Thursday, July 11: Winter Hill Civic Advisory Committee meeting @ 5:30 PM (Zoom)
  • Thursday, July 11: City Council regular meeting @ 7 PM (Zoom & City Council Chamber - 93 Highland Ave)


Jake Wilson


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