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City Council Talks Republican Tax Plan, Affordable Housing

Cambridge City Hall is located near Central Square.
Cambridge City Hall is located near Central Square. By Margaret F. Ross
By Nicholas W. Sundberg, Crimson Staff Writer

The Cambridge City Council discussed possible changes to city funding as a result of the proposed Republican tax plan, future affordable housing initiatives, and the installation of several new bike-sharing stations.

At their Monday meeting, councillors asked the City Manager for clarification on a report detailing the steps Cambridge is taking to protect local programs in the event that Cambridge’s sanctuary city status leads to cuts in federal funding.

The report suggests creating a fund to protect sanctuary cities, which some were worried could be impacted by changes to the city budget.

“You have been wonderful in making up for tax cuts in other places,” Vice Mayor Marc C. McGovern said to City Manager Louis A. DePasquale, “But do we want to make a call out to the public in making some sort of legal defense fund for those facing deportation?”

“We’ll do what we need to do,” DePasquale said.

Councillors also addressed potential increases to the required percentage of affordable housing units in a new development after receiving a preliminary report from DePasquale on how such a change would be implemented. The percentage of affordable units per development is set to rise to 15 percent in 2018.

“We’re just first starting to talk about this,” DePasquale said. “When we have some more accurate and realistic numbers, and I think that’ll be soon, we’ll be happy to discuss that.”

Also at the meeting, the Council approved a $1 million development project by bike-sharing program Hubway to install 10 more stations once acceptable locations are identified. The councillors also discussed snow removal for bike infrastructure.

Monday’s meeting opened with a ceremony granting the Mayor’s Luminary Award to a number of Cantabrigians who have positively impacted the city this year.

Dozens of residents were recognized, including Cambridge Police Department officers for their recent charity drives and Cambridge’s firefighters for their actions in responding to last year’s 10-alarm fire. The ceremony also recognized individuals, from community spiritual leaders to educators.

The Luminary Awards recognize individuals who have had positive impact on the city, its institutions, or the people of Cambridge.

Mayor E. Denise Simmons, who started the awards, McGovern, and DePasquale said that the Luminaries' work for the city was made possible an engaged community. The trio also reaffirmed their care for the city.

“We do great work not because it’s our job, but because it’s our passion,” DePasquale said.

—Staff writer Nicholas W. Sundberg can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @NickWSundberg.

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