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Councilor Flynn Files Five Hearing Orders 

Focused on Quality of Life, Property Tax Assistance, Public Health, Traffic Safety, and Civil Rights

BOSTON – At this week’s Boston City Council meeting, Councilor Flynn has filed five hearing orders on issues related to quality of life, property tax assistance, public health, traffic safety, and civil rights issues. The hearing orders include:

Hearing to discuss the proliferation of electronic billboards: There has been an increase of electronic billboards in the city over the years, but studies have linked electronic billboards to distracted driving and increased crash rates, and found a negative correlation between property values and electronic billboards. Electronic billboards’ energy consumption is contrary to the City’s energy reduction goals, and oftentimes do not fit in with the historic character of our neighborhoods. The hearing order aims to discuss how the city can strengthen existing restrictions on the usage of electronic billboards. The hearing is co-sponsored by Councilor Kenzie Bok.

Hearing to discuss property taxes and assistance programs for seniors & long term residents facing difficulties During COVID-19: Property taxes are a heavy financial burden for many families, particularly seniors on fixed incomes, who may have brought their homes years ago before housing prices and property values skyrocketed in the city. With the COVID-19 pandemic, many are facing additional financial difficulties, and may not be able to afford paying their property taxes. As many seniors and long time residents are facing financial hardship because of COVID-19, the City of Boston should also consider financial assistance programs for those who may be unable to pay their property taxes, including potentially doubling the exemption for seniors over a certain age while considering their income and evaluation.

Hearing on establishing a First Responders and Frontline Workers COVID-19 Health Registry: With the long-term health impacts currently unknown to both health professionals and the general public alike, Councilor Flynn conveyed that a health registry would allow for city public health officials to track the data and monitor long term effects of COVID-19 for our first responders and frontline workers, as well as providing appropriate resources for those affected by the virus.

Hearing to discuss the creation of a South Boston Traffic Master Plan: With South Boston being at the center of Boston’s development boom, transportation and traffic are critical issues that greatly impact both long-time and new South Boston residents alike. The hearing order calls for discussion on the establishment of a traffic master plan for South Boston to assess the neighborhood’s short-term and long-term transportation needs and capacity, so that the city and residents can better understand the potential impact of upcoming developments on traffic and congestion for the neighborhood. This hearing is co-sponsored by Councilor Michael Flaherty.

Hearing to discuss ways for the City to prevent and investigate incidents of hate crimes and discrimination: When someone experiences a racist or discriminatory incident, it can be difficult for them to find the avenue to report the incident or seek an investigation, and the victim of a hate crime or a racist incident might also be too fearful to come forward and report to authorities such as the police. In the city, we have different departments that interact with constituents who experienced discriminatory incidents, including the Human Rights Commission. It’s important for the city to have a way for residents to report hate crime and discriminatory incidents, and have measures in place for the City to formally investigate and review these incidents, as well as providing resources to victims and anti-discrimination education to the public. This hearing is co-sponsored by Councilors Andrea Campbell and Lydia Edwards.

“The hearing orders that I’m filing this week reflect some of the critical issues that impact our residents,” said Councilor Flynn. “From the proliferation of electronic billboards and assisting our seniors and residents who are facing financial difficulties, to ensuring the future health of frontline workers and first responders, providing better traffic planning, and taking steps to prevent and investigate hate crimes, I believe that these are all critical issues that should be addressed. I look forward to these discussions at the Council in the months ahead.”

For more information, please contact Councilor Flynn’s office at 617-635-3203 or Ed.Flynn@Boston.gov.

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About the Author

Maureen Dahill

Maureen Dahill is the editor of Caught in Southie and a lifelong resident of South Boston sometimes mistaken for a yuppie. Co-host of Caught Up, storyteller, lover of red wine and binge watching TV series. Mrs. Peter G. Follow her @MaureenCaught.