January 22, 2019 - At the Massachusetts Municipal Association’s Annual Meeting this past weekend, the Town was awarded 3rd place in the small community category for its 2017 Annual Report, which can be found below. Judging criteria for this statewide contest include: attractiveness of the report cover and layout, material arrangement, presentation of statistics and data, summary of the year’s achievements, evidence of local planning for the future, and the report’s practical utility. Based on our records, the last time the Town received this award was in 1970.
Earlier today, the Town received notice that we have been awarded the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award by the Government Finance Officers Association for our FY19 Budget document. This award reflects the Town’s commitment to creating a budget document that is comprehensive, strategic, and accessible, and in line with national best practices. Attaining this designation has been a priority goal for the past several years, as we strive to enhance the information we provide to residents about the budget and the services we provide. Just 26 local governmental entities from Massachusetts won this award last year, only 1 of which was a town with a population of less than 10,000 residents.
Congratulations and special thanks to Special Projects Manager, Jackie Bresnahan, for her tremendous efforts in taking the lead on both of these important documents! Her dedication and diligence in working to improve these documents each year to the point where they now meet these standards has been exceptional. I also want to recognize the efforts of all of our Department Heads as well as the staff in the Finance Office and Town Administrator’s Office in particular for their work in assembling these documents – it has been a true team effort!
- The 2017 Annual Report can be found at the following link on the Town website: http://www.wenhamma.gov/WENHAM%202017%20TR-WEB%20COPY.pdf
- The FY19 Budget Document can be found here: http://www.wenhamma.gov/GFOA%20Budget%20Document%20FY%202019.pdf
The Committee also plans to apply for funding for trail improvements at the Iron Rail property under the Mass Trails grant program before the February 1, 2019 deadline and will submit a CPA application to cover the 20% local match requirement of this program. Specifically, the Committee is seeking to install an elevated boardwalk that would bridge a ~400 ft section of the trail out to Dodges Island that is frequently impassable due to flooding. This project plans to expand opportunities for wildlife observation, photography, walking and horseback riding, and intends to allow wheelchair users access to these areas as well. It will also include the installation of trailhead signs and maps. This new boardwalk would connect the trail network at the Iron Rail and could enable future connections to be made to Chebacco Woods and other nearby conservation areas. The proposed project has the support of the Essex County Trails Association and will be reviewed at the next Iron Rail Commission meeting. I expect the Committee will coordinate with the Boy Scouts as well. The project is preliminarily estimated to cost about $80k and the local match can include Town staff/volunteer time, so their CPA application is expected to request a total of less than $15k.
Both projects are consistent with the goals and related action items identified in the new Open Space and Recreation Plan, and would represent significant progress in implementing the Plan in Year 1.
December 4, 2018 - The Town held a well-attended public meeting last Thursday to provide residents with an overview of this proposed project and to get feedback from residents about the conceptual design. MassDOT and Town officials are looking to make improvements to the Route 1A downtown corridor at Cherry Street, Old Country Road, Monument Street, Arbor Street, and Friend Court, including a redesign of the existing roadway by installing more/better signage, designated turning lanes at key locations, and traffic signals at up to two (2) of these intersections. This project will also include improvements to the existing sidewalks, the installation of new sidewalks, and the redesign/relocation of existing pedestrian crosswalks.
Although state transportation planning officials have produced a technical report looking at various potential configurations, the Town is in the very early stages of design work and will now look to engage our engineering team in the coming months so we can begin on 25% design. Residents are encouraged to send their feedback to me by next Monday, December 10 by sending hard copy correspondence to Town Hall or emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Town also plans to provide additional opportunities for residents to continue to give their input as we move through each phase of the design process. Significant background materials are provided on the Town’s website at www.wenhamma.gov/mainstreettraffic. This page will be updated on a regular basis going forward when the Town has new information available to share out.