How Many Millionaires Can Belmont Hold? Not As Much as Lexington

Belmont is known as the “Town of Homes.”

Well, you can add “and some Millionaires” to that motto.

Thanks to the good people at the Boston Business Journal (“The Massachusetts towns and cities with the most million-dollar earners (BBJ DataCenter)” Dec. 16, 2014) who spent a few minutes poking about in the state’s Department of Revenue database, we now know some interesting (to some) information on the “one-percenters” who occupy the 4.7 square miles known as Belmont.

The grand total of those residents who filed tax returns in 2011 (the latest data available) seven-figure income tax returns in Belmont is 178, up five percent from 2010 with 169. The average income of the 178? Just over $2.6 million.

That figure is well above the state average of 51 millionaires per community.

In a population of a little more than 25,000, that comes out to one millionaire for every 142 resident.

Think of it this way: At a fully-attended Town Meeting, only two of those sitting in the Belmont High School auditorium would be millionaires.

On an area basis, that would be 39 millionaires per square mile although it would be expected that the northwest section of Belmont would have more seven-figure income residents.

But before you come to believe the town is crawling with high rollers, you need only look at Belmont’s neighbors to see who have the big bucks. Lexington has 291 millionaires (1 in 110 residents), Cambridge 391 and Winchester (which Belmont is compared with in terms of town budget and school spending) has 230 or about 1 in 90 residents. Arlington has 49 mega earners (1 in 892) and Watertown has 20.

Then there is Weston where 1 in 25 residents (467 are millionaires) are makin’ the big bucks; the average seven-figure filer made $5.1 million.

New Year’s Eve: MBTA (Very Late) Schedule, First Night and the Library Closing Early

It’s New Year’s Eve and Belmont residents are preparing for the celebration by stocking up for house parties, heading to Boston for performances and fireworks or just staying home.

Here’s some information you can use before heading out (or in) tonight.

First Night Boston 2015 takes place all day in Boston with artistic events and fun stuff for kids and adults. The Grand Procession along Boylston Street will begin at 5:30 p.m., the Family Fireworks will be held on the Common at 7 p.m. with the grand fireworks at midnight over Boston Harbor.


The best way into the city is via public transportation; the MBTA has extended schedules through the day and night:

• Buses and trackless trolleys to Waverley Square (73) and Belmont Center (74 and 75) will operate a regular weekday schedule

• If you are picking up the subway at Alewife or Harvard Square, the Red Line will operate a modified weekday schedule with additional trains operating at rush-hour levels of service throughout the evening from 3 p.m. until approximately 2 a.m.

• The Fitchburg/South Acton Line of Commuter Rail will operate a modified weekday schedule with additional service provided, including 12:10 a.m. and 2 a.m. trains back to Belmont and Waverley while the scheduled 12:10 a.m. train will be delayed until 1 a.m.

Don’t wait to get your books and DVDs; the Belmont Public Library will be closing at 5 p.m. today.

Town offices will remain open until 4 p.m.

For those seeking adult beverages to welcome in 2015, the Craft Beer Cellar is closing early at 8 p.m. And don’t wait too long to get your sparkling wine or champagne at Vintages in Belmont Center or The Spirited Gourmet in Cushing Square.

Depleted Belmont Boys’ Basketball Falls to Billerica, 66-60, for First Loss

Despite 35 points and double digits rebounds from senior center Adam Kleckner and a late run led by fellow senior Ben Lazenby, the Belmont High School Boys Basketball could not recover from a “lousy” first quarter and suffered its first defeat of the season to undefeated Billerica High, 66-60, at Wenner Field House on Monday afternoon, Dec. 29.

While a combination of weak team shooting and ragged defensive execution were glaring inefficiencies on the court, two prime reasons for the loss by the Marauders was sitting on the bench. All-star junior shooting guard Matt Kerans had his left hand heavily wrapped in a bandage (obtained in the team’s impressive, come-from-behind victory over hosts Cathedral in Boston on Saturday) and co-6th man junior Cole Bartels sidelined with a viral illness.

“[Kerans] is one of the best players around so clearly we are a different team without him,” said Belmont Head Coach Adam Pritchard. Kearns has been a consistent points producer with the ability to drive to the basket or hit from distance while Bartels has become the most reliable three-point scorer when he’s on the floor.

In addition, Belmont was up against Billerica, undefeated and projected to challenge for the Merrimack Valley League title.

While he bemoaned the lack of offense punch, Pritchard pointed to the continued breakdown of the team’s defensive schemes by a quick, athletic Indians’ team as Billerica was adept at scoring from a number of offensive plays whether it was off the dribble/drive, off the screen or one-on-one under the basket.

“[Defense] is a team thing,” said Pritchard. If an opponent “gets by one of us or we don’t box out, then we’re a poor team,” said Pritchard.

Those defensive liabilities came to the fore in the game’s first eight minutes as the Indians rocketed to a 10-3 lead midway through the quarter. Led by senior guard Brad Fisher and 6-foot, 6-inch junior center Josh Bradanese, who battled Kleckner both inside and beyond the arc, each Indian starter scored including three three-point baskets, to take a 19-10 lead with Kleckner scoring eight points (going along with rebounds and a power block on Bradanese) with only senior guard/forward Seth Altman (2 points) scoring in the quarter.

Belmont finally found its footing in the second and behind Lazenby (13 points) who hit a three and Kleckner’s defensive stance (with another block and a steal along with nine points in the quarter) cut the lead to four points (26-22) on a junior Joe Shaughnessy layup.

But Billerica took advantage of the porous Marauder defense to end the half on an 11-2 streak to go into the half up 37-24.

Lazenby took charge in the third quarter with seven points and setting up Kleckner and senior forward Justin Wagner (4 points) but the lead stayed in double figures.

Despite 14 points in the fourth (in which his dominate play caused Bradanese to foul out), Kleckner could not bring the team back from the earlier deficit.

“We want to play teams like Billerica because they are good so we can get better,” said Pritchard.

Sweet Peach Deal Turns Sour as Eatery’s Future Up In The Air

In the reversal of what was called “a done deal,” the Sweet Peach Diner will not be changing ownership just yet. 

At an administrative action this morning, Tuesday, Dec. 30, the Belmont Board of Selectmen approved a “Common Victualler’s” license – which allows a business to operate – for the eatery located at 628 Trapelo Rd. 

But the license is not going to Dennis Dyer, the owner of New York Diner in Watertown as well as other retail and commercial businesses. Back in November, the Belmont Board of Selectmen approved the change of ownership of the Waverley Square diner to Dyer.

When asked the circumstances for the license returning to the past owner, Ellen Carter – who is no longer involved in the day-to-day operation of the restaurant – Town Administrator David Kale only said issuing the license will allow the business to stay open, inferring a sale to some other entity is being considered.

Known for its breakfasts and southern-inspired menu, the diner opened in 2012 in the building that once housed Andro’s Diner, a popular Greek eatery that failed that year after five decades in business. 

Return for updates on this story.

Town Administrator Kale To Receive Second Three-Year Contract

Receiving four-and-a-half (out of five) stars on the review and ranking website Yelp says a lot about how people think of a business or service.

You can add Belmont’s Town Administrator David Kale to that high-standard list as the official who manages the day-to-day operations of the town’s departments received an enthusiastic annual evaluation from the Belmont Board of Selectmen its Tuesday, Dec. 30 meeting.

“It was all very positive,” said Board Chair Andy Rojas.

During the meeting, the board announced Kale will receive a second three-year contract through July 2017 to stay in the position he’s held since August 2012.

“We are finishing the wording” in the contract, said the Cambridge-resident, who will receive a two percent cost-of-living adjustment to his current salary retroactive to July 1.

Kale’s evaluation was a tabulation of individual assessments by each selectmen, said Diane Crimmins, the town’s human resources director. The board appraised Kale’s expertise in professional tasks, public relations, organizational leadership, personnel management, leading the budget process and planning. Kale received a combined rating of 4.5 out of 5, said Crimmins.

The three selectmen praised Kale on improving morale in town personnel and working collaboratively with departments, and the school district, “which is critical is a small town like Belmont,” said Rojas.

Kale’s handling of the annual budget – which included creating a “one budget” process that requires a close working relationship between the town and the school committee and district – was sighted by the board.

“You’ve enhanced the public budget process,” said Selectman Mark Paolillo.

Kale, in turn, acknowledged the work of “a great group of department heads and employees” who “makes the work happen.”

“This is not done in a vacuum,” said Kale.

Get Your Tickets Now for the Marauders Trip to ‘The Garden’ on Jan. 10

It’s a trip of a basketball lifetime: Belmont High’s Boys’ Basketball will travel to the TD Bank Garden on Saturday, Jan. 10 to take on Somerville High as part of the 2015 Good Sports Invitational.

And you can join the Marauders as they play under more championship banners than any other arena in the country as fans will be treated to a professional-caliber game presentation, featuring music and instant replays on the Garden HDX scoreboard. Just imagine seeing 20-foot tall Adam Kleckner and Ben Lazenby hitting threes in high def.

The game will take place at 12:30 p.m. – the match is part of an eight game one-day tournament with some of the best high school teams from the Boston-area competing – which will allow enough time to get back home to see the New England Patriots’ playoff game that afternoon.

In addition, many fans will be taking the 10:27 a.m. MBTA commuter rail train from Belmont Center to the Garden. 

TICKETS are $14 ($15 at the door) and are being sold at Champions Sporting Goods, 53 Leonard St. and Rancatore’s Ice Cream, 36 Leonard St.

Under Wraps: Winterizing the Underwood Pool Construction Site

They are wrapping up the construction of the Underwood Pool; not as in “finishing the job” but literally wrapping the site in plastic tarp as the contractor, New England Builders and Contractors of Methuen, prepares for a winter of building the project.

New England Builders said at a public meeting in November it would work through the winter including pouring concrete for the foundation of the bath houses and the pools. Enclosing the work site will allow it to be heated preventing the sub grade and concrete from freezing.


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Belmont Boys’ Swimming Already Making a Splash this Season

A dedicated group of seniors joined by a crop of energetic underclassmen has the Belmont High School Boys’ Swimming team off to a confident start of the 2014-15 season.

After winning its first duel meets by significant margins against Arlington on Tuesday, Dec. 22 and Burlington a week earlier, Belmont Head Coach Bobby Reardon has high hopes for the squad as it has already equaled the number of wins it had in the past two years.

“It’s a great group of guys with a lot of swimming experience who have already stepped up. There is a lot of possibility because of their attitude and hard work,” said Reardon, who believes that this year’s team could send at a minimum of  five swimmers to the state championship (last year only three went) and an entire complement of three relay teams.

Reardon said the team currently tops 35 members which is the most the squad has had in years, coming off last season which saw the team’s home pool, the Higgenbottom at the Wenner Field House, being lost due to electrical and pump issues.

“The team has a very diverse background with some who have swum competitively for years and others who are essentially self-taught who have swum in legal events,” he said.

Leading the way this year will be the team’s senior captains: Jake Carr, Dan Quinn, Ryan Touzjian, Brian Smith and Tom Zembowicz. 

They are proven leaders and they each do some practical things for the team such as keep statistics and lead the team exercise. They are going above and beyond what is expected,” said Reardon.

Joining the team this season includes a group of athletes with significant swimming backgrounds including Anthony Bulat, Ian Traxler, Nate Green, Will Findley, Bruce Westgate and Max Turkowski. They join a crew of strong swimmers that include Owen Luo, Erik Uhlmann, Ben Ackerson, Langston Chen, Eli Bai, Tom Choy and Spencer Fan.

In addition, Reardon praised “our core group” of swimmers –Jack Stewart, Bo Lan and Alex Sun – who came to each practice and meet despite the closure of the pool.

There are three divers this year: Sam Bozkurtian (first-year diving), Trevor Corning (second year) and Avery Pullman (first year) who will be coached by junior manager Cynthia Kelsey, Belmont’s record-setting girls’ diver who placed second and third in consecutive state championships.

In the Arlington meet, Zembowicz won the 200 individual medley, the 100 butterfly and was on the winning 200 medley relay. Newcomer Traxler took the distant events, the 200 and 500 free, while Touzjian won the free sprints, the 50 and 100.

While off to a great start, Reardon – who is assisted this season by Harry Delgado knows the rest of the season will bring greater tests to his team.

“Obviously we have a hard road ahead as we’ll meet much deeper programs,” said Reardon.

“But we’re going to surprise them; Belmont will be a team that they have to be on their toes to beat,” he said.


This Week: Funny Magic Show, an Old-Fashioned Mixer Tuesday With Sensibility Friday

• The Belmont Board of Selectmen will be meeting at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 30 at Town Hall for some executive sessions and end-of-the-year approvals.

• The Benton Library, Belmont’s independent- and volunteer-run library, will hold Story Time at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 30. Stories and crafts for children age 3 to 5. Parents or caregivers must attend. Siblings may attend with adults. Registration is not required. The Benton Library is located at the intersection of Oakley and Old Middlesex.

Ed Popielarczyk’s Comedy Magic Show, a wonderful program of kids, will be held on esday, Dec. 30 from 2 p.m to 2:30 p.m. in the Belmont Public Library’s Assembly Room

• An old-fashioned mixer is being held at the Beech Street Center on Tuesday, Dec. 30, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Start the New Year by meeting someone new. So show off your party clothes and enjoy good company, tasty desserts and a complementary 30-minute dance lesson with teacher Paul Hughes at 6 p.m.

The Academy Award-winning film, Sense and Sensibility, will be screened at the Beech Street Center on Friday, Jan. 2, at 1 p.m. This 1995 adaptation of the Jane Austen novel – which will be discussed at our book group on Jan. 9 at 11 a.m. – follows the Dashwood sisters, members of a wealthy English family, whose circumstances result in their sudden destitution, forcing them to seek financial security through marriage. The version stars Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Kate Winslet and Alan Rickman. 

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Sold in Belmont: Haircuts for List Prices on All Homes in Belmont

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

• 10 Wood Rd. “A mish-mash” Colonial “on steroids” (2006), Sold for: $997,000. Listed at $1,159,000. Living area: 3,661 sq.-ft. 10 rooms, 5 bedrooms, 3.5 baths. On the market: 95 days.

• 29-31 Flett Rd. Two-family (1939), Sold for: $600,000. Listed at $659,900. Living area: 2,112 sq.-ft. 11 rooms, 4 bedrooms, 2 baths. On the market: 101 days.

• 51 Berwick St. #1. Single-floor condominium (1908), Sold for: $370,000. Listed at $379,900. Living area: 1,199 sq.-ft. 6 rooms, 2 bedrooms, 1 baths. On the market: 67 days.

59 Stults Rd. Colonial (1926), Sold for: $960,000. Listed at $1,025,000. Living area: 2,743 sq.-ft. 10 rooms, 5 bedrooms, 3 baths. On the market: 101 days.

• 55 Elm St. #1Single-floor condominium (1925), Sold for: $600,000. Listed at $599,999. Living area: 1,317 sq.-ft. 6 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths. On the market: 92 days.

The year in Belmont real estate is ending with an adjustment downward as four of the five residential home sales defied their list price and sold for a discount – the only property that sold above the initial sale price did so by a single buck –with the houses owners and the salesperson believed would take in seven figures came back with a healthy haircut.