"BROCKTON IS A TOUGH, RESILIENT CITY, JUST LIKE OUR GREAT HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION ROCKY MARCIANO, WE’VE BEEN KNOCKED DOWN A COUPLE OF TIMES, BUT, LIKE THE CHAMP, WE ALWAYS GET BACK UP. THAT’S WHO WE ARE. BROCKTON IS COMING BACK, MAKE NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT. BUT WE CAN ONLY MAKE THIS COMEBACK TOGETHER. AS MY FRIEND, PASTOR ORLANDO HARRIS SAYS, 'WE ARE BETTER TOGETHER!'
IT IS TIME TO STOP SEEING BROCKTON AS 'OLD BROCKTON' AND 'NEW BROCKTON.' WE WILL NEVER ACHIEVE GREATNESS DIVIDED. DIVERSITY IS OUR STRENGTH. FORGET ABOUT OLD BROCKTON. FORGET ABOUT NEW BROCKTON. IT IS TIME FOR “ONE BROCKTON." ONE TEAM, ONE FIGHT, ONE BROCKTON. THAT’S MY DREAM AND MY VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF THIS CITY.
ONE TEAM…….ONE FIGHT…….ONE BROCKTON."
Mayor Bill Carpenter
LIST OF ISSUES AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS
The most important asset that our city government has, is the people who work for it.
When I first ran for mayor four years ago, I promised to open the doors of city hall to everyone and that is exactly what we have done.
Our record speaks for itself excluding police and fire civil service hires of 106 new city employees hired by our administration, nearly half, 46% are from our city’s minority communities.
Since taking office, I have made 101 appointments to city boards and commissions, of those, more than half, 56% were minorities.
Since day 1 of this administration, we have worked to fulfill our promise to make city government more diverse, and reflective of the community it serves. To that goal, we re-instated the city’s diversity commission.
We have hired the first african american female department head in the city’s history. We also appointed the first minority/ majority class of new police officers, ever. I am equally proud to say that darren duarte, my chief of staff, is the first person of color to serve in that role in our city’s history.
Our brockton public schools continue to excel, offering opportunities to every child who lives in this city.
Over the past 3 years, we have seen brockton high school become a level 1 school, joining our 2 level 1 middle schools.
Recently, the dept of elementary & secondary education announced that brockton high school has cut its dropout rate in half over the past 5 years, from 15.7% to 7.6%, as we continue to invest in alternative pathways like our new edison academy, an afternoon & evening program where we have graduated over 200 students in our first 3 years.
Recently, we partnered with sprint to help close the digital divide by distributing 500 free wireless devices to brockton high school students.
62 brockton high school students were inducted in to the national honor society this year while 307 students were awarded john & abigail adams scholarsips.
In year 2 of our new sewerage agreement with stonehill college, 5 more graduating brockton students will receive $30,000 scholarships to stonehill. Sewerage for scholarships. Who says we don’t think outside of the box?
And just a few months ago, in a true public-private partnership with the 3m company & boston scientific, we re-opened a new, state of the art, planetarium at brockton high school.
I believe that brockton is the best urban public school system in the state
Creating jobs and spurring investment in brockton has been a primary focus of this administration since the day we took office.
We have built a team of economic development professionals, led by our director of planning & economic development rob may, our main street manager Gary Leonard and Robert Jenkins, the executive director of the brockton redevelopment authority.
We’ve continued to develop strategic partnerships with the metro south chamber of commerce, the Brockton 21st century corporation, the Brockton Area Workforce investment board, Brockton Area Transit & old colony planning council while also tapping in to the resources of our educational partners: Bridgewater State University, Stonehill College, UMass Boston, Massasoit Community College in addition to our high school and regional vo-tech schools.
And we’re excited about the development of a private-sector driven “Brockton partnership” modeled after succesful initiatives in lawrence and lowell. These are proven models that have taken these cities from the brink, to flourishing gateway cities.
This past year, we’ve worked extensively with all of the city’s stakeholders in developing the blueprint for Brockton, a city wide comprehensive plan that will create a 30 year blueprint for the city’s business districts and neighborhoods.
This past year, the City Council has approved several pieces of important legislation that lay the groundwork for the revitalization of our downtown: The Downtown Action Strategy and the Urban Revitalization Plan, that gives us the ability to cause the development of catalytic projects, projects that spur other projects. The housing development program incentive plan, that provides state tax incentives to private developers to build market rate housing, only in gateway cities. And the district improvement financing plan, allowing incremental property tax growth within the downtown to be reinvested within the downtown, growth pays for growth.
We are uniquely positioned for transit oriented, mixed use development in our downtown that combines a vibrant business district with market rate and workforce housing, with the incentives and programs now in place to “make the numbers work” for private investors. “retail follows rooftops”, if we bring residents with disposable income downtown, the businesses will follow.
We’ve worked closely with the Baker/Polito adminstration, our state legislative delegation and state agencies including Mass Works , MassDOT & the executive office of housing & economic development to secure major state investments in city infrastucture that will support future economic development, leveraging public investment to attract private dollars. You can see those investments happening now.
By the end of the month, we will see the plymouth county district attorney’s office moving in to their new headquarters in the heart of the downtown, bringing 25 state troopers with them on a daily basis, not only renovating and occupying a long time vacant building but changing the perception of public safety downtown. This critical piece of the downtown puzzle was only made possible by a $2.1 million dollar appropriation by governor baker in the supplemental budget, that made it through the house and senate budget process due to the hard work of our state legislative delegation.
This spring will see us break ground on the reconstruction of centre st between main and montello streets downtown, along with the completion of the west elm street reconstruction and phase 2 of the belmont street project.
Recently, the Lt Governor came to Brockton to announce the largest investment to date, a $10 million dollar Mass Works grant to fund the construction of a new downtown parking garage on Petronelli Way. The second largest Mass Works grant in the entire state this year!
This is the transformative investment that will change the face of downtown Brockton.
The construction of this garage will unlock several vacant and empty parcels for redevelopment including 19 Main St and the Petronelli building, enable the development of 111 units of housing with trinity phase 2, and allow for further expansion by our 2 largest downtown employers, the Neighborhood Health Center and W.B. Mason. This north end of the downtown is ripe for redevelopment, if we only build the parking.
The garage construction includes the creation of a side street crossing Petronelli Way and Franklin Streets, that improves the traffic flow and returns petronelli way to 2 way traffic, a first step toward restoring 2 way traffic to Main Street.
Now let me go over the numbers for you. The construction cost of the proposed garage is $12.5 million dollars. It will be paid for by the $10 million dollar grant from the state, a $500,000 contribution from Trinity Financial and $2 million dollars from the city that would be financed by a bond. The city’s annual payment on the $2million dollar note will be no more than $160k per year.
Once completed, the garage will be turned over to the Brockton parking authority. We get a brand new parking garage at 20 cents on the dollar. But wait, it gets better.
Once the garage is built, Trinity immediately goes forward with the construction of phase 2. The additional property tax revenue generated by Trinity phase 2 alone will be $195,000 per year. $35,000 dollars more per year than our share of the cost. And that’s not even counting the parking revenue that will be generated to the parking authority.
Folks, at the end of the day, this new $12.5 million dollar garage comes at no cost to the taxpayers!!!
On april 3rd, we will file the $2 million dollar borrowing request with the city council. I urge the councilors to approve this borrowing so that this critical project, that pays for itself, can go forward…..the numbers work all day long.
Today, the single largest threat to the quality of life for brockton residents is the opiod addiction epidemic.
Just think for a minute about the challenges faced by cities like brockton today, homelessness, property crime, gun violence, street level drug dealing, and prostitution. What is the common denominator??? Drug addiction!
The personal costs in lives wasted, lives lost and the impacts on the families and loved ones of individuals struggling with addiction are hard to quantify but they are real.
There is some reason for hope. The monthly number of fire and police dept responses to overdose calls has trended down somewhat, from an average of 90 per month in 2015, dropping to an average of 71 per month during the second half of 2016.
For the first time in several years, the number of overdose deaths in brockton went down as well, in fact, nearly a 15% decrease from an all time high of 123 deaths in 2015, to 105 in 2016.
But just as we begin to feel that we may be turning the corner on this crisis, cheap, deadly fentanyl arrives and brings a whole new wave of fatalities.
We do know that the Champion Plan is saving lives. Earlier, you saw first hand, the incredible work being done by our champion plan partners and volunteers.
In our first year, over 400 admissions to treatment, all to individuals who walked in to the brockton police dept. Seeking help. The Champion Plan is changing the perceptions of both police officers, and those who are suffering.
Brockton is leading the way with our compassionate approach to this public health crisis, but make no mistake, we are just as committed to interrupting the supply of this poison to the streets of our city.
Every day we work to restore safe & clean neighborhoods to our city. Neighborhoods where families want to buy their own home and raise their children.
We are reclaiming ownership of our parks, playgrounds and green spaces. We re-opened a newly renovated James Edgar playground, resurrected an abandoned neighborhood playground on Mulberry St., replaced an old City Hall Plaza with an inner city park. This spring we will dedicate the new Charlie Tartaglia park, creating neighborhood greenspace on the site of a former brownfield and we are already underway on the renovation of Keith Park in Campello, that will include the refurbishing of the historic fountain. As we are already planning a half million dollar investment in Walker playground that is funded by a combination of State Park grant funds and CDBG federal grant money.
Duing 2014, we began the restoration of the D.W.Field golf course, a beautiful track that had been allowed to deteriorate over a number of years. 3 years later, brockton is home to one of the finest municipal golf courses in the state. We have made year round investments in the course including the rebuilding of a fully functioning irrigation system, dramatically improved playing conditions from tee to green, reintroduced tournaments and leagues, and upgraded both the pro shop and food service operations.
This year’s projects currently underway include the restoration of 9 bunkers on 5 holes out on the course to a new player lounge in the clubhouse.
Our efforts to reduce our carbon footprint and become a green, sustainable city have been recognized by the state as we have just been officially designated by the dept of energy resources as a green community, culminating a year long, team effort by several city departments with technical assistance from the old colony planning council. Earning that designation will bring brockton over a half million dollars of in green community grant money this year, to fund energy efficiency projects. We are looking forward to the official announcement here in brockton by state officials in the coming weeks.
Green community status will make Brockton eligible for reimbursement of 30% of the costs of replacing every street light in the city with led lighting this year. 2 years of audit, design and procurement will come to fruition this summer, when we begin replacing the city’s streetlights with led lighting.
The new led lights will not only shine 50% brighter but will use less than half the electricity of the old lights.
The led lighting project is a major investment by the city to improve pedestrian & bicyclist safety, reduce crime and conserve energy, reducing the city’s electricity costs, all major initiatives of this administration.
We anticipate that the city will be able to recoup more than half the estimated $3.3 million dollar cost of the led lights, thru the green communities grant and national grid incentives. That means that these led lights will pay for themselves in 3 years or less through energy savings, with lighting that comes with a 10 year warranty.
This also means that we have become eligible for over a million dollars of state grant money this year, directly as a result of our designation as a green community.
During the first three years of our administration, automating the functions of city government in order to become more accessible, more efficient and more accountable has been a top priority.
We have just recently gone live with a new online bill pay capability that allows residents to pay their real estate taxes, excise taxes and water & sewer bills all on line. This easy to use system enables residents to pay these bills conveniently, and for just one penny more than the cost of a postage stamp.
As you might remember, prior to our arrival, there were many shortcomings in the city’s ability to issue accurate water bills with residents frequently questioning the water usage reported on their bill.
The city will roll out the aqua hawk alerting customer portal, a service that allows our water & sewer customers the ability to monitor their own water consumption in real time, receive timely leak alerts and even customize alert settings, simply by logging on to the dpw web page.
We’ve dramatically reduced the amount of payroll and purchase order paperwork by implementing go docs, and installed a fully automated self serve system at the city fuel pumps.
Accountability is now improved with a recorded customer service telephone system in city hall, while our dpw has adopted gps technology for our outside contractors, and soon, we will begin installing gps in to city vehicles.
"See, click, fix" grows in popularity daily! Accessed either on line or thru a smart phone app, allows residents to report problems to a variety of city agencies 24/7, with no visit or phone call to city hall necessary, City departments report back to constiuents via email, when their report is received and when their problem is resolved.
Our annual budget shortfalls remind us how critical it is for the city to constantly seek to develop additional revenue streams.
The tax title property auction program, launched during our first year in 2014, has been an ongoing success. Surplus properties, acquired by the city from unpaid tax foreclosures, are auctioned by a real estate custodian at no cost to the city. These are long term, vacant & abandoned properties that have been non – producing assets for years.
To date, the city has received $2.3 million dollars in additional revenue, with our next auction scheduled for april 27th. These properties not only go back on the tax rolls generating future revenue, but at a significantly higher assessed value after the new owner improves the property. We are stabilizing neighborhoods and expanding the tax base while generating much needed cash for the city.
Recently, with the support of the city council, for the first time we established a city wide grants coordinator, Paul Umano. Paul is now providing research and technical assistance to city departments & agencies, so that we can identify and more effectively apply for grants. A key strategy of the grants coordinator is to serve as a match-maker, if you will, between various public and private sector organizations to form collaborations for mutual grant opportunities, resulting in additional grant funding flowing in to the city.
Although the city desperately needs revenues, we also must insure that we are assisting our senior citizens, living on fixed incomes, to be able to stay in their own homes.
We will file legislation with the city council, that will increase two different property tax breaks for senior citizens while also making it easier for them to qualify, the 17 d exemption, currently $175 dollars will be increased to $250 dollars, while increasing the asset limit by 20%, allowing more seniors to qualify.
We will also make it much easier to qualify for the 41 c exemption, that if approved by the city council, will increase from $500 to $750 dollars. We will roll back the eligibilty age from 70 to 65, while increasing both the income and asset limits, so that more of our seniors can take advantage of this tax break.
In terms of the city’s costs to provide water to our residents, there is good news!
The city has entered in to a tentative agreement to purchase the Aquaria de-sal water plant. We have been able to negotiate a purchase price of $78 million dollars, conservatively, buying the plant with 20 yr bond financing, that will save us about $1.5 million dollars per year from our current obligation to aquaria. In a stressed water budget, these savings will allow us to stabilize water rates and begin rebuilding our crumbling water main system. Brockton will be able to generate additional income by selling water to other communities.
This asset purchase agreement requires aquaria to complete several repair projects including upgrades to the pipeline, replacing the membranes and upgrading the raw water intake. It is far more favorable to the city to own the asset, building equity and controlling the city’s future water resource. We are obtaining the plant at a reduced price, that is even more favorable due to the required improvements by Aquaria.
We look forward to filing this purchase agreement with the water commission next week. Upon approval, it will then be filed for ratification with the city council.
This is a good deal that makes sense for the city.
We are creating jobs and we are attracting investment to brockton.
In January of 2014, when we took office, Brockton area unemployment stood at 9.1%. 3 years later, in january of 2017 our unemployment rate is down to 4.4%, less than half of where it stood three years ago.
We’ve identified food processing, health care and advanced manufacturing as growth industries for brockton in the next decade.
In March, the Massachusetts Office of Business Development announced an economic development incentive program investment tax credit for Evans Machine Company for the second expansion of their advanced manufacturing facility on North Manchester St.
While the upcoming year will see the redevelopment of the Lebaron Foundry site by the D.W. Clark Company, a $6 million dollar private investment that will convert a polluted, abandoned 5 ½ acre site in to an advanced manufacturing facility, bringing 50 jobs to the city and creating an additional 25 new jobs.
Soon after taking office in january of 2014, we pledged an aggressive, relentless pursuit of every drug dealer in this city. That pursuit continues harder than ever today.
In 2013, the Brockton police department served 38 search and entry warrants, drug raids. This past year, in 2016, Brockton police served 79 search warrants, more than double the number of raids than the year before we arrived.
Not only are these raids getting drugs off our streets, but they are also part of an overall strategy to get the illegal guns out of our city, because we know that today, illegal guns and drugs are tied together. We need regional and federal strategies to stop both gun and drug trafficking.
We must also continue to invest in the best technology available to support the police officers out on the front lines.
Just over a year ago, we deployed the latest gun shot detection technology over a 5 square mile area of the city. Shot spotter immediately alerts our police officers to the exact location of a shots fired incident, allowing our officers to respond while witnesses and evidence are still there.
In 2016, Brockton’s shotspotter system detected gunfire that directly led to the arrests of 7 individuals. In each case, either guns or drugs were located at the scene, and charges were filed ranging from attempted murder to armed assault.
2016 also saw the Brockton police department hire its first crime analyst. The crime analyst now provides a daily intelligence briefing that updates all of our officers with critical, up to date information such as persons of interest and hot spots identified by analyzing recent crime data.
Strategies first introduced by Chief Hayden and now implemented under the leadership of Chief Crowley are working.
We have created the mobile operations unit, our police motorcycles and re-instated bicycle patrol officers. Our motorcycle and bicycle patrols are pro-actively targeting street level, quality of life crimes.
We are continuosly engaged in multi level, multi jurisdictional investigations, partnering with county, state and federal law enforcement agencies, pooling resources and intelligence to identify targets of mutual interest.
We also continue to target “repeat violent offenders," because we know that a large percentage of violent crime is committed by a very small percentage of the population. Our gang and narcotics detectives, now with the support of the crime analyst, maintain a list of the most dangerous, repeat violent offenders.
Every time that we get one of these people off the street, the city is a safer place.
The numbers show that these investments and strategies are working. Occurrences of fire-arm related incidents are down 27% since 2013. Last year, there were only 2 homicides. The last time that brockton saw less than 2 homicides in a year, was 35 years ago.
While the numbers may fluctuate, there is no question that there is less gun violence in brockton, than there was 3 years ago.
While we are investing in technology, utilizing data and implementing effective crime fighting strategies, nothing is more important than “getting more boots on the ground”.
In March, I am pleased to announce the hiring of 15 new police officers. We have already begun the civil service hiring process, that will allow us to select four of these 15 new officers from special bilingual hiring lists.
We are committed to building a diversified community police force that more accurately represents the community that it serves.
When I was first sworn in as mayor, Brockton had 176 officers.
This summer, when our newest officers enter the police academy, it will bring our total staffing to 200 police officers…. That's the largest number of Brockton police officers that we have had on the job since 1987. And an increase of 24 additional police officers in just 3 years!