Funding Newton’s Post-Retirement Benefits – The “OPEB” Issue: Topic Meeting

Please join us on Wed, April 8, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm at NewTV, 23 Needham St., Newton

Brown-bag lunches welcome

Employees of the City of Newton earn both current (salary) and deferred compensation. Newton’s employees receive their deferred compensation – pensions, post-retirement healthcare, and similar benefits – once certain age service thresholds are met and the employee retires.

While Newton is required to set money aside to cover future employee pension liabilities, there are currently no such requirements for Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) such as healthcare. As a result, OPEB are paid against current year budgets as needed, and future needs show up as an unfunded liability on the City’s balance sheet.

This month’s topic meeting will explain the OPEB issue, provide an understanding of what risks the OPEB problem poses for the City’s financial health, and discuss strategies that other municipalities have used to address such future funding needs.

Our speakers will be:

  • Tony Logalbo – Finance Director, Town of Concord
    • An explanation of the OPEB problem and Newton’s current situation
    • Discussion of other municipalities’ strategies
  • Maureen LemieuxCFO, City of Newton
    • Discussion of Newton’s plans to fund OPEB in the near- and long-term

Each speaker will have the opportunity to speak for 15 minutes, followed by open discussion among all attendees.

LWVN Meeting on Austin Street Project

On January 14th, LWVN welcomed Scott Oran to present the current proposal for the Austin Street parcel (currently where the parking lot is now.)  Click on the link for notes on the Q & A session after the presentation.  There were still many unanswered questions (listed at the end of the notes) which have been submitted to the Austin Street Partners.  As soon as we had answers, we will post them.

Special thanks to the West Suburban YMCA for the use of their meeting space for the event.

January Topic Meeting-Austin Street

Next Steps for the Austin Street Proposal: Topic Meeting

Please join us
January 14, 2015: 7:00pm – 8:30pm
West Suburban YMCA, 276 Church St., Newton 02458
Open to the public, but space is limited

The plans to create new housing and commercial space at the Austin Street parking lot in Newtonville have their origins in the City’s Comprehensive Planning process from the mid-2000’s.  The Mayor, City staff, Board of Aldermen, and several citizen groups all advised on or passed ordinances on the project.  However, the project has been paused for citizen input since the selection of a development partner last spring.

Austin Street partners will present an update on the project based on input from the community and further discussions from the City.  They are ready to share these with the public.

[Read more…]

Funding Newton’s Educational Technology: Topic Meeting

Please join us
Wed, Dec 10, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
NewTV, 23 Needham St., Newton

Brown-bag lunches welcome

Technology and computers play a greater and greater role in Newton’s classrooms, just as they do in professional and everyday life.  Newton’s schools have faced challenges providing and paying for these tools, and the parent community has historically been called upon to raise funds to make up the difference.

Does this policy create inherent disparity in the quality of technology and teaching across Newton’s schools?  What plans does the School Department have to address purchases of hardware, of software, and for ensuring that faculty members are appropriately trained?  What do other municipalities do to ensure that these needs are met? [Read more…]

Affordable Housing: Topic Meeting

Bring your brown-bag lunch, or NEW! join us by teleconference!
Wed, Nov 12, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
NewTV, 23 Needham St., Newton

NOTE: For this meeting, we will be attempting to offer the ability to join via teleconference as well.  Please contact us if you like to try joining and need details!

The term “Affordable Housing” is used frequently, and all are aware of increasing price of housing in the City.  But most of us have questions.  Join to us to hear Eve Tapper and James Freas of Newton’s Planning Department answer questions such as:

  • What does the term really mean?
  • What is the actual state of housing in the City?
  • How do we compare with other communities and where we want to be?
  • What can City Government and others do to ensure that there is an adequate supply of affordable housing options?

[Read more…]

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