Where are the Bicyclists? Selectmen Ask
Volunteers sought for Bike Path Advisory group; Zipcar's coming; storm money finally comes.
Where are all the cyclists?
That's the question the Belmont Board of Selectmen asked themselves during its scheduled meeting Monday, Oct. 3, as the board held off naming members of the proposed Bike Path Planning Committee as only three residents volunteered to be members.
The committee was created in May to assist the town and board in recommending the direction and financing of the Belmont portion of the proposed bike trail that will run from Cambridge to Berlin in central Massachusetts.
Establishing an advisory group was suggested after a public meeting with Transportation Planner David Loutzenheiser from the Metropolitan Area Planning Council concerning several issues of the Belmont section of the Wayside Rail Trail bike path, the most contentious being the stretch between Belmont Center to the Brighton Street entrance of a newly-constructed bike path to Alewife Station in Cambridge.
Many Channing Road residents are adamantly opposed to constructing a path between their property and the commuter rail line while many path proponents support the proposed route in addition to creating a tunnel at Channing and Alexander Avenue.
"I was expecting more than three after the meeting," said Jones later
The board will continue advertising for volunteers. Anyone interested? Go to the town's volunteer interest website to apply.
Zipcar will zip behind Center's Fire House
The Selectmen finally got to sign the contract to bring Zipcar to Belmont. Two spaces will be reserved for the Cambridge-based short-time rental company for six months with a further six months if all goes well and then renewed on an annual basis, according to Town Administrator Tom Younger. Each space will be rented for $150 a month for a total contract of $3,600 annually.
Ralph Jones, the board's chairman, felt that the town's Energy Committee should be "rewarded" with some portion of the funds coming to the town for promoting energy savings that included pursuing Zipcar to enter the Belmont market.
Younger said that would be possible if a new line item is placed into the town's budget since the money will be placed into unappropriated revenue.
Let it snow!
Remember that big snowstorm on Jan. 12? You don't? The town does as it just received $117,000 in federal aid to help pay for the storm that occurred 10 months ago, Younger told the Selectmen.
In addition, Younger said he is waiting for an anticipated $122,000 in federal aid to help pay for Tropical Storm Irene.
"I will happily take their money when it comes," said Younger.
In addition, the town is waiting for approximately $135,000 in additional local aid from state tax revenue which Belmont Patch reported last week.
State funds regional dispatch center
The state has issued a $75,000 grant that will begin the implementation a regional public safety dispatch center that will end Belmont's independent dispatchers.
Belmont joins about 10 municipalities including Somerville, Revere, Malden and Medford who will utilize a single, centralized dispatch center for Police and Fire department calls "in the first real effort to save money with regionalization of services," said Younger.
While unable to provide a specific amount, Younger said "there should be savings by using a larger dispatch center."