City Council – 12/13/2011

DATE 12/13/2011
TIME 6:30 pm
LOCATION Council Chamber, Woburn City Hall, Common Street, Woburn, MA, United States

Meeting Agenda

Below is the pasted journal for ADA Compliancy. See attachment to download the full version.


DECEMBER 13, 2011 – 6:30 P.M.





Roll Call












Pursuant to Title III, Section 12 and Section 15 of the Charter of the City of Woburn, His Honor the Mayor has called a Special Meeting of the City Council for the purpose of tax classification, to act on financial matters, and for any other matter related thereto legally before the City Council.







On the Order for a supplemental appropriation in the sum of $204,000.00 to Veteran’s Cash Aid

Account, committee report was received “ought to pass.” Motion made and 2nd that the COMMITTEE REPORT be ADOPTED, all in favor, 9-0.

Presented to the Mayor: December 15, 2011              s/Scott D. Galvin December 15, 2011



On the Order to accept Clause 56 of G.L. c.59 §5, the National Guard or Military Reservists Tax

Relief Order, committee report was received “ought to pass.” Motion made and 2nd that the COMMITTEE REPORT be ADOPTED, all in favor, 9-0.

Presented to the Mayor: December 15, 2011              s/Scott D. Galvin December 15, 2011





On the Order to amend Title 2, Article XXVIII, Section 2-180 of the 1989 Woburn Municipal Code, as amended, relative to salary line for Administrative Assistant, committee report was received “ought to pass.” Motion made and 2nd to suspend the rules for the purposes of hearing from His Honor the Mayor, all in favor, 9-0. Mayor Galvin stated that he has not changed the description of the position, that the incumbent will fall under a current ordinance at this salary, that the incumbent is currently acting as Secretary/Receptionist and will now be Administrative Assistant to the Mayor, that he has one staff member in his office, that there is significantly less salary outlay for the office than in the past, that this is a specific position of Administrative Assistant to the Mayor under the ordinances, that these are not union positions, that there are two positions allowed in the office and he filled one, that the incumbent is moving to a higher position and the salary is being increased, that this is not a new position as it already exists in the ordinances, that the incumbent will move to this new position, and that the incumbent’s duties have evolved into a position more evolved than anyone expected. Alderman Haggerty stated that he raised concerns in committee that this proposal represents a salary increase of 16.5%, that he suggests a tax increase in the salary line which is more in line with unions and community, that many positions allowed under the ordinances for unfilled, and that using this logic can justify many increases on other departments as well. Alderman DiTucci stated that she voted in favor of the proposal last night but has considered the matter further, that the incumbent in the position is capable and deserves the salary increase, that the incumbent is more than an Administrative Assistance but less than an Assistant to the Mayor, that perhaps a new position of Executive Assistant to the Mayor can be established at the salary requested by the Mayor, that to do otherwise will tie the salary to the person rather than to the position, that this leaves to future Mayors the discretion to hire the Administrative Assistant or the Executive Assistant at the salaries, that the matter can be sent back to committee to determine a more appropriate job title, and that it was not clear that this was moving the incumbent to a new position. Alderman Drapeau stated that the incumbent is not getting an increase in salary for the same position but moving to a new position at a higher salary, and he is comfortable with giving her a new role with a new responsibility and a salary commensurate with that position. Alderman Anderson stated that under the ordinances the salary for Secretary/Receptionist is $40,174.00 that the incumbent’s role is more than a secretary, and that the Mayor is entitled to hire two people but has only hired one. Alderman Gately stated that this is a consolidation of jobs, and that the Mayor is saving over $40,000.00 in salaries over prior administrations. Alderman Gaffney stated that he is concerned that the increase is too high, and that perhaps performance based incentives can be established which could be used to justify the increase. Alderman Mercer-Bruen stated that she supports the increase, and that the incumbent has being doing two jobs for two years. Alderman Raymond stated that a performance review cannot be done for one position, and that there must be a wider review of positions. Motion made and 2nd to return to the regular order of business, all in favor, 9-0. Motion made and 2nd that the Ordinance be Adopted, as amended, with the salary set at the sum of $51,408.00, ROLL CALL: Anderson – No, DiTucci – No, Drapeau – No, Gaffney – No, Gately – No, Haggerty – Yes, Mercer-Bruen – No, Raymond – No, Denaro – No, Motion Fails. Motion made and 2nd to allow Alderman Gaffney to reconsider his vote on the salary of $51,408.00, all in favor, 9-0. Motion made and 2nd that the Ordinance be Adopted, as amended, with the salary set at the sum of $51,408.00, ROLL CALL: Anderson – No, DiTucci – No, Drapeau – No, Gaffney – Yes, Gately – No, Haggerty – Yes, Mercer-Bruen – No, Raymond – No, Denaro – No, Motion Fails. Motion made and 2nd that the final vote be amended to be effective January 1, 2012 due to the provisions of M.G.L. Ch. 44, §33A, all in favor, 9-0. Motion made and 2nd that the COMMITTEE REPORT be ADOPTED, AS

AMENDED, with the effective date January 1, 2012, 6 in favor, 3 opposed (Gaffney, Haggerty, Denaro opposed).

Presented to the Mayor: December 15, 2011              s/Scott D. Galvin December 15, 2011



On the matter relative to Tax Classification for the City of Woburn. PUBLIC HEARING OPENED. Attending were the Board of Assessors Robert E. Maguire, Jr., Chairman, Lori S. Medeiros and William F. Sullivan, Jr. as well as the Department Professional Staff Chief Appraiser Andrew Creen, Senior Appraiser John Connolly, System Manager John McDonough and Appraiser Joan Corey. Appearing was Andrew Creen, Chief Appraiser, Board of Assessors, and he offered a communication dated December 13, 2011 with a series of charts entitled Analysis of Levy Limit, Analysis of Levy Limit Increase, Fiscal 2012 New Growth, Valuation by Class of Property, Classification Options, City of Woburn Tax Rate History, Median Sales Price of Single Family Homes, and Analysis of Competitive Communities attached thereto entitled Fiscal Year 2012 Classification Hearing to the City Council as follows:


Dear President Denaro and Council Members:


The Board of Assessors is pleased to report that the valuation roll for fiscal 2012 has been finalized after a reappraisal of all taxable properties was conducted by this office.  The total assessed valuation for all real and personal property in the City effective January 1, 2011 is $5.619 billion.  This represents an increase from the prior fiscal year’s total of $5.573 billion.  This increase in taxable valuation is attributable to the ongoing audit of business personal property accounts and appreciation of multi-family properties for this fiscal year.


The City Council must now determine the relative tax burden to be borne by each class of property by selecting a “residential factor”.  To assist the Council in its deliberations, several charts have been prepared and are attached to this correspondence.  These charts illustrate relevant valuation and tax levy data and the impact of your vote this evening.


By selecting a residential factor of “1” a single tax rate of $15.33 results.  Choosing a factor less than “1” results in a portion of the tax levy shifting from residential properties to commercial, industrial and personal property taxpayers.  For example, adopting a residential factor of “.68” means that the residential class of property would pay 68% of the levy they would pay if there were no classification.  Under this scenario, the levy increases for the other classes of property by a factor of 175 percent.  The chart entitled “Classification Options” best illustrates the various scenarios available to you.


Woburn Board of Assessors, s/Robert E. Maguire, Jr., Chairman s/Lori S. Medeiros s/William F. Sullivan, Jr.


Motion made and 2nd that the documents be received and made part of the record, all in favor, 9-

0. Appearing was Chief Appraiser Andrew Creen and he stated that the 2012 levy limit is $89,873,366, the that prior levy limit $85,732,199 together with 2.5% increase of $2,143,305 and new growth of $1,997,862, that the information has been certified by the Department of Revenue, that the levy limit increase of $4,141,167 consists of the 2.5% increase $2,143,305 which is gradual over the years and new growth of $1,997,862 which varies over the years, that last year new growth was $2,002,000, that new growth this year consists of 8% residential, 19% commercial and industrial and 73% personal property, that the maximum shift of 175% results in a residential rate of $10.40 and a commercial/industrial rate of $26.83, that this is a 10¢ increase over the FY2011 rate of $10.30, that the factor would be 67.8325%, that single family home prices in Woburn are staying consistent with communities in the Boston Metro Area, that the average single family home value is $341,741 compared to FY2011 value of $341,627, that the average assessments will remain unchanged since last year, that the property is revalued every year, that the city has not been out to a particular property at a given time, that when property sells a questionnaire is sent to the new owner to obtain information concerning the house, that the city subscribes to the MLS listings and also uses this to determine values, that some properties have had occupancy during the recession such as hotels, and that property values are holding steady overall. PUBLIC COMMENTS: Mayor Scott Galvin stated that he recommends 175% shift s the city has adopted for many years, that the tax is determined during the budget process, that average single family tax bills have increased $95 in Burlington and $100 in Melrose, that the city reduced water and sewer rates by 5% last year and these rates have not been increased, and that the city’s levy is $3,700,000 below Proposition 2½ limits. Paul Meaney, Executive Director, Woburn Business Association, Ten Tower Office Park stated that this is the second year of the lowest tax increases for residential and commercial property in quite a while, that he cannot see why the City Council would not support this proposal, that the commercial vacancy rate is approximately 20% in the city, that the city must be fair to businesses as well, that the businesses in the community support community endeavors and employ Woburn people, and that the city must be conservative. Motion made and 2nd that the public hearing be closed, all in favor, 9-0. Alderman Drapeau stated that he must be consistent with previous votes where he believed that the budget could be reduced if there was no increase, and that if he did not vote for the budget he cannot vote for this tax increase. Alderman Gately stated that he voted against the meals tax increase and the budget, that there are many homes in the city under foreclosure, and that the economy has not come back as quickly as many people thought it would. Alderman Raymond stated that this process started in May 2011, that he expressed his reservations at that time, and that he voted against the budget and will do so tonight. Alderman Haggerty stated that he will support this proposal, and that the average increase of $35 for a single family home is better than in other communities. President Denaro stepped down from the chair and Alderman Drapeau assumed the chair. President Denaro stated that if the tax rate is not set then the city and the taxpayers are put at peril, and that the city has to set the tax rate. Alderman Anderson stated that the City Council had the opportunity to cut $340,000 from the budget the other night and did not, that this is a tight budget, that the city has made the choice not to cut employees or services where other communities have, that this is an increase in the taxes because of prior decisions, and that he will look closely at the next budget. . Motion made and 2nd that a TAX

CLASSIFICATION FACTOR OF 67.8325% be ADOPTED, ROLL CALL: Anderson – Yes, Denaro – Yes, DiTucci – No, Gaffney – Yes, Gately – No, Haggerty – Yes, Mercer-Bruen – Yes, Raymond – No, Drapeau – No, Motion Passes.

Presented to the Mayor: December 15, 2011              s/Scott D. Galvin December 15, 2011


Motion made and 2nd to ADJOURN, all in favor, 9-0. Meeting adjourned at 7:26 p.m.






William C. Campbell

City Clerk and Clerk of the City Council