Mayor Ruthanne Fuller delivered her State of the City address in the City Council Chambers Tuesday evening.
“Tonight, I am pleased to report that the state of the city is strong,” she said. “That should not come as a surprise, but it is not something we should take for granted.”
The mayor thanked the City’s employees for their part in ensuring the success she talked about.
“The City of Newton is strong because of the people who choose to work here, and who follow Bill Belichick’s philosophy,” she said. “They do their jobs and, might I add, do them well—this includes mechanics and street repair crews, city clerks and historians, assessors and tellers, custodians and crossing guards, and so many more.”
Newton is a strong city, Fuller said, because of its work for students, seniors, safety, financial stability, and planning for the future.
Fuller announced that this September will mark the beginning the city’s first full-day kindergarten program. The school district is working to provide equitable education and emotional care for its 12,685 students, she said.
Switching gears to the opposite end of the population, Fuller spoke about the steps taken to help seniors continue their lives safely and happily in the City of Newton. She has worked to help seniors defer property taxes so that they can remain in the homes, and is looking to design a new community senior center, she said. The City is also close to launching a ride-share service for seniors, the mayor announced.
Fuller has worked with organizations, such as the Newton Housing Authority to diversify the affordable housing options in the city, she said, in order to make it accessible to people of all backgrounds and ages.
Planning for the future has been a hot topic in Newton over the past year, as people have publicly debated about the entrance of recreational marijuana shops, a T station overhaul, and the redesign of Washington Street. Fuller pointed out the strength Newton has in conscientiously planning for the future, including receiving input from community members.
Newton has expanded efforts to go green over the past year as well, primarily through putting a tax on plastic bags and passing Newton Power Choice, which ensures that 60 percent of the energy that the City uses comes from renewable resources. There should also be more solar panels installed in the city in the coming months, Fuller said.
“Our City’s strength rests on the good work done by our residents and staff to make life in our community full and varied, warm and engaging, welcoming and inclusive,” she said.
The City is home to cultural events and traditions—such as the lectures at the Newton Library, ice skating at the Cove, Paddy’s Road Race in West Newton—that give residents places to come together.
“It also shows that we are much more than our bricks and mortar, or our tree-lined streets,” Fuller said. “Our most important source of strength is our people. The Newton we love is not just a city of 88,000 individuals—it’s a community of neighbors.”
Featured Image by Keara Hanlon / For the Heights