Milton’s year in review: 2016

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2016: Milton’s Year in Review

A tumultuous year in town politics began with State Senator Brian Joyce’s announcement in February that he would not be running for re-election. This opened up a plethora of political jockeying that would ultimately mark the majority of 2016.

Presidential hopeful and US Senator Bernie Sanders visited Milton in February, drawing thousands to a rally at Milton High School.

In March, April, July and September, Milton’s Board of Selectmen wrote MassPort to make the case for the inequitable amount of air traffic coming over Milton. Currently, Milton receives about 40% of all arrivals into Boston Logan. Over 30 Milton residents attended the September MassPort Board meeting to attest to the negative impacts the increased use of Milton arrivals on many facets of life in the town.

In February, the Board of Selectmen opted not to renew the contract with Police Chief Richard Wells in the face of a groundswell of support for keeping him on. This led to a face-off between Mr. Wells and Katie Conlon in the race for selectman in April. The hard-fought campaign ended with the re-election of Ms. Conlon.

April also saw some new faces in important town offices such as new Town Moderator, Bob Hiss, and the additions of Margaret Eberhardt and Elaine Craghead to the school committee.

In June, the Milton PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) committee made recommendations to the town concerning a voluntary payment program for the large non-profits in town such as Milton Academy, Curry College, and Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital – Milton. As 42% of taxable land in town is in the hands of non-profits, this is an important program for town revenue. June was also marked by the Milton Wildcat rugby team capping an excellent season by making it to the Division 2 state finals in which they were topped by #1 seed, Lincoln Sudbury (on a 100 degree day).

As 42% of taxable land in town is in the hands of non-profits, this is an important program for town revenue.

New Storm Water Fees, charged to all Milton property owners including non-profits in order to fund the town’s drainage system emerged in the summer. Annual residential charges range from $36 to $92. Non-profits are also required to pay the applicable charges.

Eric Karjel was named Milton High School’s new athletic director in August. Mr. Karjel signed on after serving as Hopkington’s AD for 13 years.

In September, Milton experienced the most spirited state primary in years as the seat for State Representative opened up when State Representative Walter Timilty announced that we would seek the Senate vacancy opened by Brian Joyce’s announcement that he would not seek another term. Seven candidates sought the Democratic nomination while Mr. Timilty faced fellow Miltonian Nora Harrington, for the right to be the Democratic state senate candidate. After a spirited house campaign involving five Milton residents, Michael Zullas, Bill Driscoll, Kerby Roberson, Tony Farrington, and Denise Swenson, Bill Driscoll came out on top with a very strong showing in precincts 6 and 7. Mr. Timilty emerged as the victor for the Democrats for the State Senate seat.

In September, Milton experienced the most spirited state primary in years.

Autumn saw former selectmen Kathy Dunphy receiving the Manning Award from the East Milton Neighborhood Association for her long-time service to the town.

In October, newly adopted early voting began in Milton. Residents participated in droves, and Hillary Clinton took 66% of the vote in Milton. Milton residents also organized a petition in support of development of the Ice House property on Blue Hills Parkway.

The Board of Selectmen hired Milton resident, Michael Dennehy, as the town’s new administrator in November. He assumed the reins from outgoing administrator Annemarie Fagan.

In November Milton High School girls cross country team continued its all-star run by winning the All-State Division 2 team championship for the second year in a row.

December saw vocal opposition to a marijuana clinic proposed for Milton Village. The discussion will continue at the end of January. After years of wrangling, the Board of Selectmen approved a development proposed by Connelly Construction for the old Hendries Ice Cream plant.  The proposal would see a four-story building housing 36 condominium units, 3,800 square feet for retail and 88 parking spaces at the site.

What will 2017 bring for Milton?

A razed Hendries? A solution for the Ice House property? A fairer share of air traffic? People finally using the correct versions of “you’re” and “your” on social media?

What are Milton Neighbors’ hopes for 2017?

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