Never Give Up: New Harris Field Press Box A Statement In Perseverance

Photo: Belmont will soon have a press box at Harris Field: (from left) Jim Williams, Bill Webster, Bob McLaughlin, Rick Jones, Mark Paolillo and Sami Baghdady.

At Monday’s Board of Selectmen’s meeting, Dec. 12, Bob McLaughlin told the old chestnut of Winston Churchill speaking to graduates at a college commencement after WWII.

“He told them “Never, never, never, never, never, never, never give up,” said McLaughlin.

And when it came to getting a new press box at Belmont High’s Harris Field paid for, “Bill Webster is our Winston Churchill.”

Since 2001, Webster – a long time member of the Belmont Permanent Building Advisory Committee – has led the effort through some difficult times to where he and his team of volunteers gave a ceremonial “big” check of $75,000 to the Selectmen for the construction this spring of the long-sought-after amenity.

For a decade and a half, since 2001, a group of Belmont Boosters and interested residents attempted first to receive from the courts an exemption to the American with Disabilities Act – they never did – from building an expensive elevator to the top of the stands adjacent to the Skating Rink.


Then there was the challenge of raising the $150,000 needed to build the mechanism. Last year, an attempt at securing Community Preservation Act funds was turned down.

“It’s been a long, long road,” said McLaughlin. “But this year, the stars aligned.”

The town via Town Administrator David Kale, the support of the Capital Budget Committee and other left over athletic field funds provided $75,000 which would be released if the volunteers could match that amount.

McLaughlin praised Rick Jones – who was already instrumental in renovating the White Field House and the High School fitness center – who led the fundraising campaign which was supported by Belmont Savings Bank, the Brendan Grant Foundation, the Boosters and “lots and lots of great people” who contributed.

“This generous gift will allow us to move forward with this structure,” said Selectmen Chair Mark Paolillo.

$45M Substation Sale In A Bind As Town Assess Eversource’s Tax Motives

Photo: The new electrical substation, not yet Eversources

The largest financial transaction in the Town of Belmont’s history is on tenterhooks as a last-minute dispute over a powerful regional utility’s attempt to limit its exposure to municipal taxes has town officials demanding changes to the already signed sales agreement.

With only four days left to complete the deal, the Belmont Light Board (made up of the Board of Selectmen) and the chair of the town’s Board of Assessors are seeking changes to or the elimination of a single paragraph in the sale of the town’s new substation and two land easements which would nearly zero-out the firm’s exposure to paying non-property taxes by binding Belmont to the utilities’ interpretation of those costs.

“We are at an impasse,” said Light Board Chair Mark Paolillo at the Board’s Monday afternoon meeting at Town Hall, Dec. 12.

“We as the town fathers would be failing to do our job to approve this agreement as it is right now,” said board member Sami Baghdady.

What’s not in dispute is the $45 million Eversource will pay Belmont for the newly-constructed 10,000 square-foot electrical substations off Brighton Street on Flanders Road on the Cambridge line and new 115 kV transmission lines using easements along the MBTA Commuter Rail tracks and on town property. The new substation was approved by a unanimous vote of Special Town Meeting in Feb. 2012.

Formerly known as Northeast Utilities, the Hartford- and Boston-based Eversource is a regional electrical and gas utility with more than 3.6 million customers in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. It merged with NSTAR in 2012.

Belmont Town Treasurer Floyd Carman said the payment, which last week he called the largest financial transaction the town has committed to, will be used to pay off $28 million in short-term bonds which financed the construction.

Carman said the remaining $17 million would be set aside to pay the cost of decommissioning Belmont Light’s three former substations located at the Chenery Middle School, off Hittinger Street and at the old Light Department Headquarters adjacent the Police Station on Concord Avenue and other improvements.

Under a joint development agreement, Belmont’s electrical utility Belmont Light and Eversource agreed to close the deal and transfer the assets two weeks after final testings concluded which occurred on Dec. 2. The Light Board – which is the governing body of Belmont Light – and Eversource then worked to reach an agreement before Dec. 16.

It was during the reading of the purchase and sale agreement that Baghdady, a transactional attorney, spotted a line in the document concerning the assessment of non-property personal services, which is the value of the contractional work on the project.

“I could tell that [Eversource] appeared to be attempting to minimize their taxes to the town,” said Baghdady.

While the Light Board signed the sales agreement at an Emergency Meeting on Friday, Dec. 9, it did so with the caveat that more information on the fallout of Eversource’s motive to add the language to the deal. The board then asked the town’s Board of Assessors’ Chair Robert Reardon to lend his expertise to the matter.

Reardon, whose day job is the director of the Cambridge Assessing Department, concluded the current language would bind Belmont’s assessors to that went against its best interest and ran counter to state assessing law which allows municipalities to not just tax real property but the value of the personal services, in Belmont’s case when engineers installed the transformers, switchgear, and protective equipment.

In Reardon’s opinion under the existing agreement, Eversource could point to the sales document to prevent Belmont’s assessors from taxing the services rendered.

In his view, the annual assessed payment from the utility to the town would be reduced from approximately $350,000 to $3,500, saving the utility $346,500 annually to Belmont’s deficit.

“I trying to protect the town,” said Reardon as he declared his opposition to the deal.

Belmont Light’s counsel Walter Foskett said Eversource could be reluctant to make changes to a signed sales document, but Paolillo noted that Eversourse “showed their hand” on including and defending the particular paragraph to the agreement.

“Why care about the language if you are not going to use it … for a tax break,” he said.

In the view of Reardon and the Light Board, taking out the disputed language doesn’t prevent Eversource from appealing the judgment of Belmont’s assessors to the appellate court.

“This is important enough to meet again,” said Paolillo.

Sold in Belmont: Only Million Dollar Homes Need Apply This Week

Photo: The only single family home to sell last week and, as always, at a premium.

A weekly recap of residential properties sold in the past seven days in the “Town of Homes.”


58 Summitt Rd., Townhouse (2005). Sold: $1,140,000. Listed at $1,275,000. Living area: 2,880 sq.-ft. 9 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 3.5 baths. On the market: 92 days.


19 Fieldmont Rd., Tudor (1925). Sold: $1,195,000. Listed at $2,300,000. Living area: 3,952 sq.-ft. 10 rooms, 4 bedrooms, 4.5 baths. On the market: 173 days.


54 Selwyn Rd., Center entrance Colonial (1925). Sold: $1,250,000. Listed at $1,035,000. Living area: 2,763 sq.-ft. 8 rooms, 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. On the market: 68 days.


47 Homer Rd., Center entrance Colonial (1940). Sold: $1,650,000. Listed at $1,699,900. Living area: 3,080 sq.-ft. 8 rooms, 5 bedrooms, 3.5 baths. On the market: 68 days.


80-82 Lewis Rd., Two family (1924). Sold: $1,089,500. Listed at $995,000. Living area: 3,100 sq.-ft. 15 rooms, 7 bedrooms, 3 baths. On the market: 82 days.

Town Election ’17: Dash Readies Run for Selectmen

Photo: Adam Dash.

If all indications are correct – and so far there’s no evidence to the contrary – it appears Adam Dash will soon have to choose from one of his collection of dapper fedoras to “toss into the ring” as the Goden Street resident readies to declare his candidacy for the Board of Selectmen in the April 2017 town election.

“I am excited about the race and look forward to discussing the issues facing our wonderful Town of Homes,” Dash wrote in an email response to quires from the Belmontonian.

Dash said while he and his supporter have gone so far as to form a campaign committee (that document can be found on the Belmont Town Clerk’s website) called Elect Adam Dash, “we are still in the early, preparatory stages” of a possible challenge to the seat currently held by Sami Baghdady.

While it was “premature” to say that he is definitely running, Dash noted that residents “can check out our preliminary website for updates and information, and to make donations.”

While never elected to town-wide office, Dash is no stranger to Belmont government or political campaigns. A member of the financial watchdog Warrant Committee since 2009, Dash’s profile rose to prominence in 2015 as the public face of the “Yes for Belmont” campaign, successfully arguing the need for a $4.5 million multi-year override.

Sports: Boys’ Hockey Looks To Skate Into Playoffs With Senior Leadership


By Will Findlay

Four points.

The Belmont High Boys’ Ice Hockey team was “that close” to making the post season last February.

The end-of-season margin for error for than first year Marauders’ Head Coach Fred Allard was slim, and ultimately the team failed to meet their goal of reaching the state tournament.

But Allard wasn’t worried. No one was. In fact, he was delighted with his team’s resilience and major improvements made during the season. Who wouldn’t be, with the Marauders finishing with seven wins, their most in five years.

When talking about the growth of his squad in his first season as head coach, Allard was pleased: “For my first year, I believe we took significant steps forward in establishing ourselves as a true competitor in [the] Middlesex League”.

The Marauders look to continue their upward swing starting this Friday at the Skip Viglirolo Rink as they take on traditional powerhouse Matignon.

I wanted our team to face top competition in our non-league games, so that is why [private Catholic schools like] Matignon and Catholic memorial [are on the] schedule this season.” said Allard, a Matignon graduate and member of two state title teams.

Chris Kelly, Allard’s former teammate at Matignon, is the current head of a historically strong Warriors squad. “so of course I want the ‘W’ in this one,” said Allard.

“That being said, this will be an uphill battle for us as they are talented.”

With the loss of starting right winger Stevie Rizzuto due to a shoulder/arm injury suffered on the first day of practice, Friday’s game may prove even more challenging for the Marauders.

“Stevie has been out since the first day,” said Allard “so he has not been on any of our preseason lines. We do look forward to his return as he is poised for a strong season.” Rizzuto finished with 12 points last season and looks to improve further this season.

Junior goaltender Kevin Dacey will likely get the nod from Allard opening night, Friday Dec. 8 as he and his assistant captain, brother Connor, look to start the 2016-17 campaign off right. Kevin posted an impressive .920 save percentage last year to go along with a 6-6 record and a 2.66 goals against average. Connor makes his presence felt on offense, chipping in 12 points last season for the Marauders, and he has the opportunity to lead his team this year as an assistant captain.

Senior co-captain Cam Jefferson looks to continue his success in Middlesex League play after having a phenomenal off-season playing in various tournaments statewide. He and Adam Cronin, the other co-captain, look to lead the Marauders to the state tournament for the first time in the Allard era of Belmont hockey. Other senior leaders include Kevin Martin, Michael Pergamo, Austin Cole, along with Curtis Marusiak and Kevin Quirk, two of Belmont’s most formidable physical players each tallied 30+ hits last season.

With the season opener looming, Allard expressed that his biggest goal for the upcoming season was to make the state tournament.

“It is something I want the boys to be a part of. Of all the sports. I don’t [think] anything comes close to the Massachusetts [High School] Boys state hockey tournament, so I want the team to have that experience.” he said.

“The entire program has worked exceptionally hard to prepare for [this] season. [The team] lost some great leaders but returned a lot of guys that have worked harder than ever in the off-season.”

Allard is confident in his team’s preparation for his second coaching campaign, and is hopeful that this dedication in the summer and fall will translate into a tournament berth in February. Allard’s squad has worked hard to write a new chapter in Belmont High’s rich hockey history, and the new chapter begins this Friday at “the Skip.”

Traffic Factor in Commuter Train/SUV Accident That Left Woman Seriously Hurt

Photo: (credit: Anna Meiler/CBSBoston)

Belmont’s increasingly congested streets appear to have played a factor leading to an early morning collision between an SUV and an MBTA commuter train at the intersection of Brighton Street and Blanchard Road that left a women critically injured at 8 a.m., Friday, Dec. 9.

While MBTA Transit Police Superintendent Richard Sullivan said at a press conference “we don’t want anyone to jump to conclusions” why the black late model SUV was partially on the tracks, eyewitnesses reported in several media outlets the vehicle was stuck in heavy traffic and could not move when the crossing horns and lights were activated as the inbound train from Fitchburg to Boston’s North Station approached.

Despite the claims of witnesses, Sullivan said “preliminary investigation says that it was not a traffic jam” at the time of the collision. 


(Anna Meiler/CBSBoston)

Sullivan said a 58-year-old female was operating the vehicle with her 10-year-old son and two brothers, 11 and 6, as passengers.

Unable to move off the tracks, the woman opened the car doors and removed her son and the 10-year-old from the car when the vehicle was struck in the right rear section. The car was violently spun around hitting the woman who sustained her serious injuries.

The six-year-old who was still in the SUV when it was struck was uninjured as were the 11 and 10-year-olds.

Sullivan said the woman was rushed to emergency care to Beth Israel Hospital. The three boys were also taken to the hospital as a precaution.

Belmont Police and Fire reached the accident scene minutes after the incident. Brighton and Blanchard were closed for approximately three hours after the crash.

Morning and afternoon traffic through Belmont has become increasingly congested as commuters bypass the Fresh Pond/Route 2 interchange and elect to cut through Belmont heading to and from the western suburbs.

Hands ’round the Pond: Belmont Stands Up for Safety and Civility


In the spirit of being a welcoming community, while acknowledging the recent increase in hate crimes across the state and nation, residents of Belmont and surrounding communities are invited to join “Stand-Up for Safety – Hands Around the Pond” on Saturday, Dec. 17, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. on the Concord Avenue side of Clay Pit Pond in Belmont.

The highlight of the event will be a “hands around the pond,” a powerful visual statement of residents standing shoulder-to-shoulder and linking hands around the pond.

“We calculate that we’ll need about 1,000 people joining hands to reach around Clay Pit Pond,” said event co-chair Donna Ruvolo in a press release.

“It’s ambitious, but we have already heard from families, teachers, students, religious institutions and civic and youth organizations who are eager to be involved in this unprecedented event.”

“Our goal is to bring the community together to reaffirm our commitment to safety and civility,” said Ruvolo. 

“It is also our hope that residents who are feeling threatened or fearful know that we, as a community, will stand up to discrimination, harassment and bullying.”

In addition, residents will be able to review plans for the proposed Veterans’ Memorial at this location, and to acknowledge the service of local veterans who are currently championing the memorial project.

Due to the non-political and on-partisan nature of this event, participants are requested to refrain from carrying a sign or wearing clothing that is affiliated with an individual political candidate’s name or slogan. Participants are also encouraged to dress for the elements. 

Parking is available in the Belmont High School parking lot, and walking, biking and car-pooling are encouraged. This is a family friendly event suitable for all ages, but it is requested that all dogs except service dogs are kept at home.

This event is being coordinated by members of the Stand-Up Campaign, a non-political and non-partisan organization committed to kindness, decency and civil discourse.  The Stand-Up Campaign is a branch of Belmont Against Racism. Co-sponsors include the Belmont Human Rights Commission, The Belmont Veterans Memorial Committee and the Belmont Religious Council.

For more information, please contact

Town Election ’17: Carman Seeking Re-Election as Treasurer

Photo: Floyd Carman.

Belmont Town Teasurer and long-time resident Floyd Carman told the Belmontonian this week he will be running to retain his post as the town’s manager of its financial assets and liabilities and tax collector.

Now in his 12th year in the post, Carman is known for his ahearance to conservative financial principles which he says is one reason the town has maintained the gold standard Triple A rating from Moody’s, the bond credit rating firm, for most of a decade. 

Carman was first elected treasurer in 2005, winning a close race over Danelia Boccia. He has run unopposed since.

Born in Cambridge, Carman spent four decades with John Hancock, reaching the position of vice president before retiring in August 2005. The Brighton Street resident matriculated at Bentley College and received his MBA in Finance from Western New England College.

Community Path’s ‘Hot’ Topics at Wednesday’s Meeting

Photo: A previous public meeting of the Community Path Implementation committee.

“Hot topics” raised at three previous community meetings will return for a second go-around before residents as the Community Path Implementation Advisory Committee holds its fourth public meeting on the creation of a multi-use route through Belmont.

The meeting takes place on Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. at the Chenery Middle School, 90 School St.

The night will focus on discussing the major issues – such as privacy, on- and off-road path and alternative routes – with the committee’s engineering and landscaping consultants who are creating a feasibility study of the pathway.

The consultants, lead by Foxboro-based Pare Corp., will take data and information from the meeting and incorporate it into a matrix which will evaluate the various alternative routes.

“All views and comments made during the meeting will be reviewed and considered to the maximum extent possible,” said the committee in its agenda.

Historic Resources Survey Makes Public Debut on Thursday

Photo: Redtop, the historic house located at 90 Somerset St. It was once the home of William Dean Howells and family.

After two years of compiling and sorting data and information, the summary findings of the Belmont Historic Resources Survey will be presented in the Board of Selectmen’s Meeting Room, at 7 p.m. this Thursday, Dec. 8.

The town-wide survey of historic properties, conducted by Preservation Consultant Lisa Mausolf, was funded by a grant of $115,000 from the Community Preservation Committee in 2013.

“The Historic District Commission is excited that the historic survey project is nearing completion,” said Lauren Meier, co-chair of the Belmont Historic District Commission.

“It fills in a number of gaps in the documentation about Belmont’s historic resources and will be a valuable tool for the Commission going forward. We are grateful to the Community Preservation Committee and Town Meeting for making this possible,” said Meier.

The survey is an update of the 1984 book Belmont: The Architecture and Development of the Town of Homes, a comprehensive architectural and historic survey of Belmont created by the Boston University Preservation Studies Program. 

In 2013, the Belmont Historic District Commission embarked on revisiting the data, hiring Mausolf to update forms with new information and prepare new forms for resources that had been overlooked in the previous effort.   

The information collected can inform state and federal agencies when federally or state funded projects are planned that might adversely affect a significant cultural resource.  

On the local level, the new inventory can help communities identify significant resources and prioritize future preservation activities including listing properties on the National Register of Historic Places and establishing local historic districts or neighborhood conservation districts.  

The inventory also serves as a basis for the Belmont Historic District Commission to determine which of the town’s significant historic buildings should be subject to the Demolition Delay Bylaw.