Mayor Ballantyne Delivers on Ambitious Agenda in First 100 Days: Somerville Progress for All 100-Day Agenda Report Released
- $2 million to support addressing the wage gap for women
- $2.25 million for relief to pandemic-impacted businesses
- Breakthrough agreements reached with large landlords to prevent evictions
- New housing voucher and flex fund programs to help keep residents in their homes
- Climate change goals raised from Carbon Neutral by 2030 to Carbon Negative
- Innovative rodent control technology deployed in city neighborhoods
- City sets path to lead on municipal environmental planning with urban Pollinator Action Plan
“I’m just getting started. This plan marks the first, swift steps toward putting into action what I’ve been hearing from constituents over the years and now.” ―Mayor Katjana Ballantyne
Not long after being sworn in as Mayor of Somerville on January 3, Mayor Katjana Ballantyne did more than speak about her vision for inclusive, transparent, and equitable local government. The former nonprofit CEO, business executive, and four-term City Councilor also announced an ambitious 100-day work plan: the 100 Day Somerville ‘Progress for All’ Agenda. Today she delivered a progress report on all 29 items in the plan at somervillema.gov/100days (and below).
The progress it documents ranges from advancing efforts to take on long-term major challenges like climate change and systemic racism to equity-focused advances on affordable housing and workforce opportunities to brass tacks city service improvements including new innovative rodent control and stepped-up flooding control planning. True to form, there’s even a bonus that wasn’t on the list: the Mayor collaborated with the Somerville Public Schools to start work on the creation of a long-awaited teen center for Somerville youth. A temporary center will be established while planning for a permanent location offering multiple services gets underway.
“I’m just getting started. This plan marks the first, swift steps toward putting into action what I’ve been hearing from constituents over the years and now,” said Mayor Katjana Ballantyne. “During my campaign, I was listening when I knocked on thousands of doors, met with group after group, and formed a 70-person Issues Working Group to help identify priorities during my campaign. What I heard is that Somerville is driven by progressive values, and my aim is to transform those progressive values into tangible progress for all.”
“This 100-day agenda provided the compass for our administration as we settled in, got organized, and got to work,” added Ballantyne. “I can’t praise and thank the staff, City Council, and community enough for rallying to support this effort and advancing so much impactful, meaningful progress in so little time. But we are not looking backward: the next 630 days start tomorrow and we will be equally hard at work serving our community in the days to come.”
Highlights of the 100 Days include
- Developing an accelerated work plan to target a net-zero carbon-negative Somerville by 2050, with urgency and equity at the forefront.
- Reserving $2 million in ARPA funds to close the wage gap for women and especially women of color. Potential initiatives focus on workforce development, entrepreneurship training, language access, salary negotiation, pay transparency, and educational advancement.
- Establishing breakthrough agreements with large landlords to prevent evictions, which have so far helped keep the number of evictions filed in Somerville among the lowest per capita statewide.
- Creating a new, flexible housing fund for tenants and homeowners excluded by state and federal programs
- Proposing a groundbreaking ARPA-funded housing voucher program to support the lowest income households. Under the proposed program, participants would pay no more than 30% of their income for rent and utilities.
- Launching flood-mitigation and CSO-prevention processes to guide unprecedented investment in our aging infrastructure that will address legacy flooding, improve water quality, and prepare the city for climate change
- Piloting innovative rodent control technology to support responsive, data-driven interventions.
- Directing more than $2.25 million in ARPA and other grant funds to pandemic business relief both for general impacts and to help support the permanent ADA accessible establishment of outdoor dining areas.
- Committing to create a leading-edge urban Pollinator Action Plan (we haven’t found another city with one) via a community-based process to foster the healthiest environment for pollinators – such as bees, moths, and butterflies.
- Advancing street safety and accessibility for all by initiating construction on projects that will install 2 miles of accessible sidewalks, 30 traffic-calming curb extensions, 13 raised crosswalks, three pedestrian refuge islands, and a half-mile of new protected bike lanes across the city.
- Moving to create an Office of Accountability, Transparency, and Access to increase the openness and transparency of Somerville local government.
- Moving forward ADA commitments by launching a rapid, three-pronged effort to accelerate and inform initiatives to increase accessibility and inclusion in Somerville for persons with disabilities.