Setti Warren, Newton Override

Newton 2016 State of the City Address

Dear Resident,
Tonight, I was honored to present my annual State of the City Address. In my remarks tonight, I highlighted several accomplishments and new initiatives. Below are a few highlights, as well as the full text of my remarks. I hope that you will take a few moments to read them. Thank you.
Our Strong Financial Position
We have been able to maintain our triple A bond rating with Moody’s Investor Services throughout the past 6 years; this year, for the first time, we also asked Standard and Poor’s to rate the City. As many of you know, we were pleased to announce a few weeks ago that Standard and Poor’s also assigned a triple A rating to the City, citing, and I quote “Strong management, with ‘good’ financial policies and practices under our Financial Management Assessment methodology and strong budgetary performance, with balanced operating results in the general fund.”
What this all comes down to, why this is so important, is that these components of our Long Term Financial Stability Strategy enable us to make the critical investments we need in the most fundamental areas, such as education, public safety and infrastructure, to make Newton a stronger, more livable, sustainable, 21st Century city.
DataStat Newton
Last year, we institutionalized our data-driven decision making by launching the “DataStat Newton” program. The program tracks everything from recycling rates and number of potholes filled, to auto-pedestrian accidents and changes in public safety response times, all on a monthly basis.
Last year, we institutionalized our data-driven decision making by launching the “DataStat Newton” program. The program tracks everything from recycling rates and number of potholes filled, to auto-pedestrian accidents and changes in public safety response times, all on a monthly basis.
More than 50 miles of roadway have been resurfaced since my administration began. Since the passage of the tax override in 2013, 50% more roadway is paved each year than in 2010. During the 2015 construction season, we paved 13.5 miles of roadway, the most in a single year since 2010. And, on our roads, the traffic signalization strategy in our Capital Improvement Plan will enable us to address our city’s 17 most congested and unsafe intersections by upgrading our traffic signal and intersection technology.  That includes updated signals at previously dangerous intersections of Craft and Linwood, Beacon and Grant, and Winchester and Nahanton, all of which have been completed.
Cleanliness in our villages and parks is a critical part of the great quality of life in Newton as well as the local economy and we are using a data driven approach to make improvements in this area. The data tracking the frequency of trash barrel overflow led us to the conclusion that we needed a 21st Century solution.
I’m pleased to announce we have reached an agreement with BigBelly to add 172 of their solar-compacting trash and recycling barrels throughout village centers and parks this spring. These solar powered barrels, which include waste and recycling processing, will have a positive impact on the environment, on our bottom line, and help enhance the quality of life throughout the City.
Economic Growth For All 
I have written and developed a research based data driven municipal policy to increase economic mobility from birth to adulthood and retirement age. The policy also promotes the innovation economy that is so important to the future of our region. It is based on work from the Brookings Institution and the Boston College Center on retirement research. I’ve entitled the policy framework “Economic Growth for All.”
Below are a few initiatives that fall within this framework.
Pilot Self-Sufficiency Program for Children and Families
Last year, under my direction and with funding from the state, we launched a pilot program with Crittenton Women’s Union, an organization that has been nationally recognized for its work helping families become self-sustaining. The plan includes mentoring for 10 women living in Newton public housing, who will receive wraparound services, such as training in financial literacy, career counseling, assistance with planning for daycare, transportation support, and parenting skills counseling. We will learn from our pilot so that we can scale up this innovative approach beyond Newton Public Housing for more children and families in years to come.
MassChallenge and Newton Innovation Center
Last fall, we announced our partnership with MassChallenge to create a new innovation center in the former Newton Corner Library building. With this, we have the potential to revitalize a neighborhood, as well as open up access to the innovation economy for residents of all backgrounds. To do this, we are working on programming with MassChallenge, along with the Newton Free Library, that includes hosting interns from the Mayor’s summer high school internship program; holding sessions for students, entrepreneurs and all residents on business practices; and more.
Housing and Transportation Strategy
We are also using the policy to guide both our transportation and housing strategies and the development of our innovation districts. Housing, transportation, appropriate comprehensive social services, and jobs including those in the growth sector of the innovation economy are all critically interlinked in order to promote a pathway to the middle class and beyond for all of our residents.
To view the Economic Growth for All” policy framework, click here.
Expanding Solar Opportunities for Residents 
We want to level the playing field and make solar power more widely available to Newton residents. Under our community solar share plan, anyone in the City who qualifies for fuel assistance would also qualify to receive solar power from our municipal projects. Other residents, including homeowners and renters, would also be eligible to participate. We are currently in the process of working out the details of this exciting, innovative program-one that we believe is the first of its kind in the Nation. I look forward to sharing more information as we make progress in the coming months.
To view the full text of my remarks, pleaseclick here
Setti D. Warren
City of Newton, MA
Setti Warren, Newton Override
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