Data Download with Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone

On October 5, 2017, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

By Joseph A. Curtatone

(The opinions and views expressed in the commentaries and letters to the Editor of The Somerville Times belong solely to the authors and do not reflect the views or opinions of The Somerville Times, its staff or publishers)

Taking a closer look at notable city data – and interesting numbers.

20 percent of the snow season budget: It’s already October, which means we’re starting to get the first hints of winter, but for DPW, winter is already here. To date, the department has encumbered 20 percent of the FY18 snow season budget for planned expenses like purchasing new vehicle parts, tires, snow plows, tools, and making repairs to the fleet so that they’re ready and able to clear the streets and sidewalks in a timely fashion once that first snowfall arrives.

While DPW is planning and preparing in advance, you should too. Sign up for the City’s mass alert system at www.somervillema.gov/alerts so we can contact you with notification of any snow emergencies this winter as well as parking and shoveling reminders. It’s always good to be prepared.

Approximately 2,700 pounds of Styrofoam: I often say that Somerville always shows up. This rings true for community meetings, rallies in support of our neighbors and values, presidential elections…and even Styrofoam recycling days. At last month’s event, approximately 2,700 pounds of Styrofoam were properly recycled, saving it from ending up in landfills or as litter on our streets or in our local waterways. The Styrofoam recycling program will return next spring so hang on to those holiday packing materials and stay tuned for the 2018 date.

24,110 linear feet of construction: If you took a drive, ride, or walk around Somerville during the summer months, I doubt you’d be surprised to learn that over the past few years City-maintained infrastructure projects have increased dramatically. We are on track to complete 24,110 linear of feet of construction this year, a sharp increase from the 11,295 linear feet completed in 2016 and 5,131 linear feet in 2015. These construction projects include streetscape work as well as water main replacements, water main cleaning and lining, and sewer and drain work.

We know that taking on more construction projects means placing a greater demand on our residents, and that’s not something we take lightly. However, these infrastructure improvements are critical to delivering on the community’s transportation, economic development, and housing goals. Moving forward, we’re looking at better ways to keep you informed about what’s going on, so I encourage you again to sign up for those City alerts (we use them for more than snow).

$100,000 Innovation Fund Loan: Fostering the growth of our local businesses has long been a priority for my administration. One of the many initiatives we use to support that goal is the Somerville Innovation Fund, a loan fund that aids companies with innovative products or business models that grow jobs and our economy. Recently the City’s economic development office awarded Somerville Brewing Company a $100,000 Innovation Fund Loan (funded entirely with federal funds) to assist with their expansion at Assembly Row, which is planned to open this fall. SBC employs a lot of residents already and with the expansion, they’ll be adding another 40 new jobs.

Business owners interested in learning more about the Innovation Fund loan program – or any of the other economic development business assistance initiatives – should contact our Economic Development Specialist Ben Sommer at BSommer@somervillema.gov.

Data-based decision making is at the core of how the City of Somerville develops policy and sets priorities. Every day we check the latest 311 stats, and throughout the week we meet for in-depth review of departmental data and city trends. The monthly Data Download column shares some of the data we’ve been reviewing recently, as well as interesting updates. To see more Somerville Data, visit the online Somerville Data Farm at http://www.somervillema.gov/datafarm/.

 

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