January Newsletter from Lydia Edwards, City Councilor for District One (North End, Charlestown and East Boston):

I hope this message finds you settling nicely into the New Year and thriving despite frigid temperatures! It’s been over a year since I’ve had the privilege to represent you at the Boston City Council and I’m pleased to have kicked off 2019 with a robust community engagement and legislative agenda.

I started this year by tackling Boston’s housing affordability crisis. Councilor Kim Janey and I proposed a plan to increase affordable housing funds in the city by installing a high-end real estate transfer fee that could generate funds upwards of $175 million to $350 million a year for the City of Boston.

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This fee would set a tax of up to six percent on commercial and residential sales over $2 million and establish a “flipping” tax of up to 25 percent on properties that are sold twice within two years. It’s important to note that this would exempt residents and owner-occupants.

In addition to this proposal, I’ve called a hearing on inclusionary development with Councilors Flynn and Flaherty, am working to renew condominium conversion protections with Councilor Zakim, and the Mayor and I separately filed legislation to update the city’s linkage program. I’ve also partnered on several state legislative proposals and will be sharing more in the coming weeks. I look forward working with all stakeholders to advance housing solutions for our communities.

Out in the district, Boston’s first snowstorm provided an opportunity for our snow angels to help our elderly and disabled residents. Thank you again to our volunteers who went above and beyond to serve our neighbors in need! I made it a priority to visit one of our district’s public works yardto thank our essential city workers for their round-the-clock efforts to ensure our streets were plowed following an icy evening. Fingers crossed for a light winter..

I was happy to attend two important community meetings held in East Boston this month. Thank you to Senator Joseph Boncore and State Representative Adrian Madaro for their partnership in sponsoring a MassDOT public meeting to address the toll plaza demolition and Sumner Tunnel traffic reconstruction and reconfiguration. We’re looking forward to working with both MassDOT and the Massachusetts Port Authority in coming up with some solutions to alleviate the paralyzing traffic residents are experiencing. There was also a great discussion at the PLAN: East Boston open space meeting sponsored by the BPDA, and I’m thankful for the thoughtful particularization and input provided by all those who came.

Although the government shutdown may be over, the effects of a national issue have reverberated locally here across the district. Charlestown residents rallied and led when leadership was missing in Washington D.C to help clean around the Bunker Hill Monument, under the jurisdiction of the National Parks Service. I was proud to recognize those residents for their efforts as well as delivering lunch to TSA workers at Logan International Airport.

Upcoming of-interest community events include: a meeting regarding the brand-new North End Clean Streets Initiative, an effort spearheaded by this office in conjunction with State Representative Aaron Michlewitz, Ward 1 East Boston Progressive Democrats meet up, and a number of BPDA sponsored meetings on development projects across the district.

Topics in this month’s newsletter include:

  • Real estate transfer fees
  • Gender issues at Boston Fire Department
  • Marijuana licensing and regulation
  • North End Clean Streets Committee
  • 100th Anniversary of the Molasses Flood
  • A Guide to Winter in Boston
  • East Boston Public Works
  • East Boston Progressive Democrats
  • Bunker Hill Monument Clean Up

Read more about these topics and see upcoming community meetings in the full newsletter.

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