Archive by category News

Brass Tax: some residents will see a decrease in property taxes this year

Brass Tax: some residents will see a decrease in property taxes this year

The Chelsea City Council unanimously set the property tax rates for residential and commercial properties on Monday night, instituting an increased 27.5 percent owner-occupant exemption that will lead to a reduction in taxes for most single-family homeowners.

“(These tax rates) will result in a reduction in the average tax bill for owner-occupied single family homes, and a modest tax increase to other owner-occupied parcels,” wrote City Manager Tom Ambrosino.

The new residential tax rate is $14.17 per $1,000 of value, and the commercial tax rate is $29.75 per $1,000 of value. Both tax rates are still pending state Department of Revenue approvals – which could result in minor adjustments, if any adjustments.

With that, the average owner-occupied single family home will see a decrease in their bill from $2,723 last year to $2,654 this year. There are 843 single-family homes in Chelsea.

Condos will see an increase from $1,893 to $2,100, while two-families will see a very small increase compared to previous years – going from $3,657 to $3,781 on the average bill.

Three-family homes will also see a much smaller increase than in previous years, going up 3.8 percent over last year ($4,927 to $5,114).

The largest tax bill increase came on the condo properties, which will rise 11 percent over last year. Condos also are the most prevalent properties in the city, with 1,839 properties units.

The Council does have the option to increase the owner-occupant exemption to 35 percent, but instead continued to keep with the incremental increase towards that higher number. Last year, after first having the ability to go from 20 percent to 35 percent, the Council chose the conservative approach, ratifying a 25 percent exemption.

This year, they chose the 27.5 percent exemption.

“By selecting the 27.5 percent residential exemption amount, the City Council will have the opportunity to spread the benefit of the 35 percent exemption limit over several additional fiscal years,” Ambrosino wrote.

The Council did not debate the matter much, but voted 11-0 the tax rates and other related measures.

Read More

Brass Tax: some residents will see a decrease in property taxes this year

Brass Tax: some residents will see a decrease in property taxes this year

The Chelsea City Council unanimously set the property tax rates for residential and commercial properties on Monday night, instituting an increased 27.5 percent owner-occupant exemption that will lead to a reduction in taxes for most single-family homeowners.

“(These tax rates) will result in a reduction in the average tax bill for owner-occupied single family homes, and a modest tax increase to other owner-occupied parcels,” wrote City Manager Tom Ambrosino.

The new residential tax rate is $14.17 per $1,000 of value, and the commercial tax rate is $29.75 per $1,000 of value. Both tax rates are still pending state Department of Revenue approvals – which could result in minor adjustments, if any adjustments.

With that, the average owner-occupied single family home will see a decrease in their bill from $2,723 last year to $2,654 this year. There are 843 single-family homes in Chelsea.

Condos will see an increase from $1,893 to $2,100, while two-families will see a very small increase compared to previous years – going from $3,657 to $3,781 on the average bill.

Three-family homes will also see a much smaller increase than in previous years, going up 3.8 percent over last year ($4,927 to $5,114).

The largest tax bill increase came on the condo properties, which will rise 11 percent over last year. Condos also are the most prevalent properties in the city, with 1,839 properties units.

The Council does have the option to increase the owner-occupant exemption to 35 percent, but instead continued to keep with the incremental increase towards that higher number. Last year, after first having the ability to go from 20 percent to 35 percent, the Council chose the conservative approach, ratifying a 25 percent exemption.

This year, they chose the 27.5 percent exemption.

“By selecting the 27.5 percent residential exemption amount, the City Council will have the opportunity to spread the benefit of the 35 percent exemption limit over several additional fiscal years,” Ambrosino wrote.

The Council did not debate the matter much, but voted 11-0 the tax rates and other related measures.

Read More

Bishop Ready to Head Back to City Council for Prattville

Bishop Ready to Head Back to City Council for Prattville

By Seth Daniel

Councillor-elect Bob Bishop said it feels good to return to City Hall to represent Prattville on the Council. He will be taking office in January, but has been attending meetings to get up to speed on matters.

Councillor-elect Bob Bishop said it feels good to return to City Hall to represent Prattville on the Council. He will be taking office in January, but has been attending meetings to get up to speed on matters.

The halls of City Hall haven’t changed tremendously since former City Clerk and former Alderman Bob Bishop retired, but things have changed a bit and now Bishop will rejoin the team as a member of the City Council.

On Nov. 7, Bishop one a heavily contested race Prattville’s District 1 over Planning Board member Todd Taylor, gaining the right to represent the district on the Council come January.

“I worked very hard and had a lot of support,” he said after attending Monday’s Council meeting. “Many of my voters came out and I’m grateful for that. My opponent worked very hard too and is a good man. I can’t say one bad thing about him.”

Bishop was an Alderman in the old form of government prior to the receivership era, and also served as City Clerk for 25 years, retiring as the Purchasing Agent in 2010.

“It feels really good to be back up here,” he said. “I was first elected when I was 27 and that was some time ago. I have a good idea of what I’m doing and what I need to do to represent District 1.

Bishop said the district has changed, and that’s something he saw when he went out frequently during the campaign. Many of his long-time voters are gone, he said, and many new people have moved in. He said he did his best to meet as many as he could.

In doing that, he said he learned the biggest concern in the district is rats.

“I have to say the number one concern out there is rats – that’s all across District 1,” he said. “That will be at the top of my list. We’re going to really see what the City offers to help with this and then see if we can’t do more.”

He also said a concern is the dangerous crossing at Revere Beach Parkway, as well as the traffic pattern and configuration at the Parkway and Washington Avenue.

Another thing he wants to do is to find out ways to help the City’s code inspectors – whom he believes are overwhelmed.

Read More

What to Do about the Logan Noise Study? Some Ready to Bargain, Some Ready to Fight

What to Do about the Logan Noise Study? Some Ready to Bargain, Some Ready to Fight

By Seth Daniel

Councillor Dan Cortell questioned the creators of the noise study on Monday night. Cortell represents Admiral’s Hill, which has a terrible time with jet noise. He and other councillors are debating next steps after seeing the favorable study

Councillor Dan Cortell questioned the creators of the noise study on Monday night. Cortell represents Admiral’s Hill, which has a terrible time with jet noise. He and other councillors are debating next steps after seeing the favorable study.

The City Council publicly unveiled the recent Airplane Noise Study done by Boston University at a Committee on Conference meeting Monday night, Nov. 13, and the consensus is that there are two different paths – fight in court or use the favorable study as leverage.

The noise study was performed by the Center for Research on Environmental and Social Stressors in Housing Across the Life Course (CRESSH), which is a division of the BU School of Public Health. Those involved in the study included Jonathan Levy, Claire Schollaert and Madeleine Scammell (a Chelsea resident).

That report showed that flights over Chelsea have nearly doubled between 2011 and 2015, and that certain health effects associated with airplane noise are very high in Chelsea.

On Monday, Councillors and City Manager Tom Ambrosino met with the study creators and the public to talk about next steps.

Ambrosino explained that the City has had an agreement with MassPort to have a $600,000 annual payment to mitigate the airport uses and airport operations in Chelsea. That agreement ran out in 2015, but he said MassPort has “begrudgingly” continued to pay – but may not renew the deal.

He has asked that they pay $700,000 annually and that they contribute a one-time $3 million payment to create a waterfront park.

Many in the audience, including Ambrosino and GreenRoots Director Roseanne Bongiovanni, are of the opinion that the study should be used as leverage to bring MassPort to the table to agree on mitigation.

“It took us two years just to get a meeting with them about the airport, and then another 18 months to say they would consider doing something,” said Bongiovanni.

Ambrosino said he is a great supporter of the mitigation and park concept – as it would serve the most people – and the report could help make that happen.

“I am a great supporter of the waterfront park,” he said. “That is a piece of mitigation that generates benefits to the most residents of Chelsea and not just a small that will get soundproofing. It won’t be Piers Park in East Boston. That’s a $20 million park, but a $3 million park with the City kicking in $1 million to make it a $4 million park is something that could create a very wonderful waterfront park for everyone.”

Meanwhile, Councillor Roy Avellaneda said he was of the opinion that it might be best to look at using the study to fight MassPort in court.

“We’re going to get to a point where we have to make a decision about this on behalf of our residents,” he said. “We can squeeze them for $700,000 and a park like the City Manager wants to do, or we do a real noise study with proper equipment and prepare to say we have proof that our community is impacted and possibly prepare to embark on a lawsuit against MassPort and the FAA…My preference will be to do a proper sound study and fight. I can’t go to residents and say that I got them a park and they are still suffering from the noise.”

Read More

Chelsea Salvation Army Kicks Off Kettles at Market Basket

Chelsea Salvation Army Kicks Off Kettles at Market Basket

By Seth Daniel

Jane Gianatasio – a life-long Chelsea resident – has been a Salvation Army bellringer for 10 years, helping the local Salvation Army to raise money each holiday season. On Tuesday, she helped a contingent of bellringers to kick off the holiday season at the Market Basket. “My Kettle is always full,” she said.

Jane Gianatasio – a life-long Chelsea resident – has been a Salvation Army bellringer for 10 years, helping the local Salvation Army to raise money each holiday season. On Tuesday,
she helped a contingent of bellringers to kick off the holiday season at the Market Basket.“My Kettle is always full,” she said.

When the holiday season hits, Chelsea’s Jane Gianatasio can be found in one obvious place – ringing a bell for the Salvation Army Kettle Drive.

For the past 10 years, the life-long Chelsea resident has been a bell-ringer for the organization, helping to raise money in their biggest fundraiser of the year.

One of the key places, she said, is the Market Basket, where bellringers are stationed at both doors.

“I do this for the kids,” she said. “I do it so they can have food and Christmas toys. That’s why I’ve been doing it so long. My kettle is always full. Even when my husband comes to pick me up at night, he sometimes sits here for a bit while I take a break, and even he can make $15 in a short period of time. I truly enjoy this time of year.”

The Salvation Army on Chestnut Street kicked off its efforts last weekend, but officially kicked them off with a small ceremony at Market Basket on Tuesday morning.

“The Kettle drive is very important because this is how we make money for our programming and 83 cents of every dollar we raise goes back to the community,” said Capt. Isael Gonzalez. “It is one of our biggest fundraisers of the year. We have 450 families signed up already for Christmas toys and we have 300 families signed up for Thanksgiving.”

Capt. Gonzalez said the goal this year is to raise $90,000 through Dec. 23 with the Kettles.

City Manager Tom Ambrosino joined the kick-off and put in his own donation to start things off.

Ambrosino said he fully supports the Salvation Army efforts and hoped that Chelsea residents would be generous this holiday season.

Capt. Gonzalez said they are still looking for volunteers to be bell ringers, and encouraged local organizations to volunteer for some time during the holidays.

Read More

Chelsea Fire Takes Delivery of Two New Apparatus

Chelsea Fire Takes Delivery of Two New Apparatus

The Chelsea Fire Department recently received two new pieces of fire apparatus, and at the moment both are being outfitted a preparing to be put into service.

The Chelsea Fire Department (CFD) has taken delivery of two new fire vehicles this week. Both are currently being outfitted and will be put into service later this month.

The Chelsea Fire Department (CFD) has taken delivery of two new fire vehicles this week. Both are currently being outfitted and will be put into service later this month.

First, the new Ladder 2, which replaces a 1999 aerial that runs from the Mill Hill Station on Broadway, was purchased by the City as part of the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). This new truck is currently being customized with equipment and going through the training process, and will be in service by the end of November.

The addition of this new ladder truck gives the department a viable spare aerial device that can be placed in service when a front line ladder is down for service or repairs, which is a great safety net for the city.

Second, the new Rescue 1 will replace the current Squad 5 and a step van that was utilized as a Special Operations vehicle.

This Rescue was acquired through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program that was applied for by Fire Chief Len Albanese.

This $600,000 Rescue was obtained at only a 10 percent co-share by the City. This truck will be equipped with Special Operations equipment, most of which has been provided to the City through the Metro Boston Urban Area Strategic Initiative (UASI) program.  As part of the regional preparedness, Chelsea specializes in Technical Search for structural collapse.

When needed for Regional Response, this new Rescue can quickly get a large amount of equipment and to the scene of an incident.  This truck will be customized next, once the Ladder is completed. Then the department will conduct additional training and the project will be completed by the end of the year if not sooner.

The department hopes to be able to eventually staff this Rescue with the expansion of the additional eight firefighters obtained through SAFER Grant.

For now, it will be in service – unmanned and taken when needed, the same way the current Squad 5 has been used.

“My goal with the SAFER grant that provided eight additional firefighters and the acquisition of the Rescue was to get more boots on the ground in the field and eventually get the Rescue staffed,” said Chief Albanese. “The city manager and the council have made a commitment to support funding for these projects. Time will tell if we are able to bring this goal to fruition within our budget. There are several factors that will affect that possibility.”

Read More

No Debate Necessary:Strip Club Application Dismissed by ZBA, New Owner Might Look to Other Things

No Debate Necessary:Strip Club Application Dismissed by ZBA, New Owner Might Look to Other Things

By Leah Dearborn and Seth Daniel

In what has been one surprise after another with the Phantom Ventures suit-and-tie strip club proposal, Tuesday night’s events perhaps took the cake – with a new owner of the club now coming into play and the proponents withdrawing their three-year-old proposal at the last minute.

That came, however, after the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) denied the application due to lack of standing.

It was a surprisingly quiet meeting on Tuesday night, despite all the behind the scenes excitement, with representatives of Phantom Ventures failing to make an appearance. The controversial application concerned a Special Permit to establish a nude cabaret and sports bar at 200 Beacham St. – the former site of the King Arthur’s Strip Club.

After addressing the room several times to ask whether a representative of Phantom Ventures was present, Chairman John DePriest announced that the board had received an email earlier in the afternoon requesting withdrawal of the application.

DePriest said the board also received an affidavit from the owner of the property, Demetrios Vardakostas, stating they had been unaware the proposal for the site was submitted. The affidavit clarified that the applicants are no longer tenants of the address at Beacham Street, and that they had been evicted in Chelsea Court last month for non-payment of rent and taxes.

Citing a lack of proper authority to come before the board in the first place, members of the ZBA dismissed the case without further debate from the public.

Another twist in the affair came in that the building was sold late last week, with Everett’s Greg Antonellli now being the new owner.

Antonelli, who owns GTA Landscaping Co., hasn’t revealed what his plans are for the site, but the real estate arm of his business has been buying up a lot of property in the industrial areas of Everett – some of them just on the other side of the Produce Center.

Some in the City said Antonelli may be willing to work with the Phantom proponents to re-apply at his new property, while others said he is considering a different use altogether.

Antonelli said it is too early to discuss any plans for the property, as he has just taken ownership.

City Manager Tom Ambrosino said he hopes the new owner will consider something different than the nude dancing use.

“I’m pleased that the Zoning Board of Appeals rejected the application,” he said. “Hopefully, the new owner will propose a better use for that site.”

City Councillor Dan Cortell has organized major opposition several times regarding the Phantom application, and he said he was pleasantly surprised by the outcome Tuesday – which was somewhat unexpected.

“A lot of hard work went into this fight that included not just of our City Manager, City Solicitor and staff, Department of Planning and Development and Inspectional Services, but also our volunteer Zoning Board of Appeals, Planning Board, Economic Development Board and Licensing Commission as well as the literally hundreds of residents I called upon to support the fight all whom were looking out for the best for the city and its future,” he said. “Some football games end in a spectacular interception or last second score. Others end with a run out the clock ‘kneel down.’  Last night’s ZBA meeting ended with the latter. A win is a win and last night Chelsea put the notorious history that is King Arthur’s behind us. Chelsea is a better and more desirable city for it.”

Member Janice Tatarka said Phantom Ventures could still theoretically re-apply for the permit since the original application never went to a vote.

“They could come back,” said board member Janice Tatarka. “It’s possible.”

What is certain is that the controversial Phantom Ventures application – which resulted in numerous hearing and a Constitutional Court case in federal court – is currently dead. Phantom Ventures had re-submitted their application for Tuesday’s meeting after a Federal Court ruling declared the City’s adult entertainment ordinance unconstitutional earlier this year – a case that resulted from the ZBA denying Phantom’s original application in 2015.

Currently, the ZBA said any nude dancing application had to be fit under the ‘theatre’ use. Phantom Ventures had planned to apply on Tuesday under the ‘Theatre’ use provision – that is until it was learned they had no standing with the owner and the new owner.

Phantom’s ownership, which did not appear before the Board, had no comment on the matter immediately.

Read More

Robert Ockenden Named Chief Horologist at Chelsea Clock

Robert Ockenden Named Chief Horologist at Chelsea Clock

Massachusetts-based Chelsea Clock, one of America’s oldest and most distinguished makers of fine clocks, barometers, and tide instruments, is pleased to announce that Robert Ockenden, AWCI certified master clockmaker, has been named chief horologist for the company’s repair & restoration facility. Chelsea operates one of the largest branded clock repair facilities in the country.

 Previously serving as director of repair and restoration services,

Ockenden will now play a key role in the development and leadership of the company’s new in-house certification and training program, soon to become a requisite for all Chelsea repair technicians and master clockmakers. While details of the curriculum are still under refinement, the program will focus on imparting the knowledge and technical skills necessary for excellence across all Chelsea-branded clock repair and antique clock restoration services.

 “Chelsea is a venerable brand, with a rich, long history of manufacturing and repairing fine timepieces,” says JK Nicholas, CEO of Chelsea Clock. “We are very pleased to have someone with Bob’s horological expertise and extraordinary talents develop a state-of-the-art certification program that will help establish and maintain the highest levels of performance for all Chelsea repair services, now and for the future of the company.”

Ockenden is a nationally known, well-respected voice in the clock making industry. An AWCI-certified master clockmaker, he has been a frequent lecturer at both local and national AWCI conferences. Additionally, he has served in various capacities on the education, strategic planning, and certification committees of the AWCI and has been a consultant to the editorial staff of Horological Times. He is also a member of the British Horological Institute.

Founded in 1897 in Chelsea, Chelsea Clock is the oldest clock company in America and one of the most renowned and respected makers of fine timepieces. The chimes of the Chelsea Clock Ship’s Bell, originally designed and patented in 1898, have long alerted U.S. Navy sailors and worldwide mariners to the time during their “watch,” earning the company a distinguished reputation for producing authentic, high-quality, nautical timepieces.

Today, Chelsea Clock continues to produce a broad range of nautical and heirloom quality clocks, with styles ranging from the company’s renowned Ship’s Bell to classic reproductions and contemporary timepieces. The company’s wide range of fine products is available through marine merchants, specialty shops, jewelers and gift stores, as well as online at www.ChlelseaClock.com. For more information about Chelsea Clock, call 1-866-899-2805 or visit www.ChelseaClock.com.

Read More