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744WVN #544: Population older and wealthier

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  • waylandvoters1
    Mar 3, 2014
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      Dear Wayland Voter,

      Wayland’s population became older and wealthier between 2000 and 2010.

      Also in this newsletter:

      -- Contrary to expectations, town taxpayers will be responsible for any deficits run up by the wastewater commission for Fiscal 2014.

      -- Your help is needed on two surveys.

      -- A public information session is scheduled on an important financial Town Meeting article.


      WAYLAND DEMOGRAPHICS

      Wayland’s population became older and more wealthy in the ten years between 2000 and 2010, according to an updated study of Wayland’s demographics available from the Town Planner.

      The number of households grew 4% to 4,808 in 2010 from 4,625 in 2000. But population has shrunk by 0.8% or 106 persons, with the trend toward smaller households.

      More than 40% (or 1,782) of all homeowners pay more than 30% of their income toward housing costs, which include mortgage payments, property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, condo fees, and basic utilities. "This is a significant figure considering that the median income of Wayland is over $100,000," the report states. Those who pay more than 30% of income toward housing costs are considered “burdened” by housing costs.

      The burden is about the same for people renting. There were 518 renter households in Wayland in 2010.

      The report, prepared for the Planning Board, is a “draft” that looks at several aspects of the current population and population trends.

      Wealth Disparity

      The median household income was $129,805, a 28.5% growth from 2000. The median income is larger than those of Concord and Lincoln, but smaller than those of Sudbury and Weston.

      The projections for Wayland’s median income in 2017 continue the upward trend, with a median income of $139,370. Looking at income, 61.5% of households earned more than $100,000 in 2010, and that figure is expected to reach 69.4% in 2017, according to the report.

      40.9% of households in Wayland had income of more than $150,000, 29.6% had incomes between $75,000 and $149,999. Another 14.1% had income between $50,000 and $74,999.

      The modest-income population is larger in number and more modest in income than some might believe. There were 281 households with less than $25,000 income; these comprised 5.8% of the total. The remainder, 9.5% or 341 households, had income between $25,000 and $49,999.

      The number of families below the poverty level declined to 42 from 77 in 2000, with a relatively smaller percentage (0.9%) of families than in other Metrowest towns.

      In Wayland, “more than twice the number of persons ages 65 and over experience poverty than any other age group, at 4.0%.” Families headed by women were a higher proportion of families in poverty than married couple families.

      Wayland had 241 individuals below the poverty level in 2010, or 1.9% of all residents.

      Age Distribution

      The data showed declines of 25% and 30% respectively, for persons 25-34 years of age and 35-44. “This could indicate a lack of housing choice for the young professional population in Wayland and/or that young professionals choose to live elsewhere,” the report observed.

      Of note, since 2000 there was a 61% rise in residents age 85 or older. It is unclear how much is due to accommodations for the elderly such as Traditions and Sunrise.

      Between 2010 and 2017, the fastest growing cohort will be age 55 and older, which should increase by 23%, citing U.S. Census Bureau statistics. “This data supports a growing demand in the market for housing choices for seniors in Wayland.”

      By 2017, the population above 65 years is expected to comprise about 20% of the total population, or nearly 3,000 residents.

      Households

      Single-person households grew by 200, from 16.1% of the total in 2000 to 20.2% in 2010, while two-person households remained about the same percentage, 34% of all households.

      The number of families in Wayland has declined by 46 since 2000, and the average family size in Wayland declined from a median of 2.8 persons to 2.69 persons per family.

      -- Molly Upton

      WASTEWATER DEFICIT

      The Town is responsible for any deficit remaining at the end of June in the Wastewater Management District Commission’s (WWMDC) account, which was established as a self-supporting enterprise fund. When it was established in 1997, Town Meeting voters were assured there was no liability to the town from the account.

      At least as early as 2005, concerns were raised about wastewater capacity for the then-proposed Town Center development, and that others might wind up on the hook for costs even though they were incurred to enable the new development. See https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/waylandvotersnetwork/conversations/messages/114

      The Department of Revenue, after lengthy discussions with town representatives, said the enterprise fund has until the end of the fiscal year to be in the black; otherwise, the town is responsible. On that basis, the DOR certified the town’s recapitulation sheet, which allowed the town to issue tax bills in January.

      According to Commissioner Sam Potter, in his Feb. 24 meeting with selectmen, the DOR is allowing the commissioners to deficit spend for the time being, up to its approved budget (about $650,000) to keep the plant in operation while they catch up on billing. DOR’s approval means that the Town is on the hook with its full faith and credit. Potter expects DOR to be very strict in overseeing this matter and is concerned how the red ink could affect DOR certifying the recap sheet after the close of FY14.
      Selectman Ed Collins asked Potter to provide the Town with DOR’s approval in writing. Chairman Tony Boschetto repeated his request from prior meetings that the WWMDC submit a written business plan to the selectmen showing how the enterprise will meet its fiduciary obligations.

      The Commission did not send bills last year, and now users are receiving several quarterly bills in the span of a few months. Some are simply unable to pay, said Jonathan Buchman, owner of a Pelham Island Road business property that uses the system.

      In addition to the usage fees, there is a surcharge billed to non-municipal users. The surcharge gets replaced by a one-time betterment fee (which can be paid over time) to pay for the bond (over $7 million, including principal and interest) on the new wastewater treatment plant. The betterment fees need to be levied by Aug. 12, six months after the Commission declared the old plant officially closed.

      Raising Cash

      One immediate way to realize cash would be to auction off the 3,000 gallons of capacity reserved to the town ostensibly for use by whatever is built on the town’s municipal building site at the Town Center, said Commissioner Potter. As far back as 2006, some residents and town officials questioned the land parcel on the western edge of the former Raytheon property that Twenty Wayland had set aside for the “town” element of the Town Center. It was not centrally located as hoped for and was near areas prone to flooding and intersected wetlands, riverfront and floodplain lines. And although development of the site appears to many to be problematic, those 3,000 gallons might be needed by the town if the Town Building were converted to another use, such as residential.

      Town Planner Sarkis Sarkisian has been holding small informal sessions with selected citizens and officials floating ideas such as moving the Town Building offices to the Town Center, and having someone else convert the existing building to residences. Another proposal was that a senior center could be located on the second floor of the yet-to-be-built Phase 2 retail block at Town Center. Or, a senior residential facility could be at Town Center with the bottom floor a town senior center. One major issue with the last proposal is the limited wastewater capacity.

      Another idea floated at the focus group sessions is locating a new library not at Town Center but rather at the old highway garage near the middle school. The Recreation Commission has eyed that same location for a new all-purpose athletic field ever since planning began to build a new DPW facility elsewhere. Yet another idea was to put the senior center in a never-used building on the edge of Town Center that was intended as a day care center.

      None of these recent sessions were posted public meetings. The municipal parcel at Town Center is included in the Planning Board’s March 4 posted meeting agenda:
      http://www.wayland.ma.us/Pages/WaylandMA_MeetingsCal/S01CC90B4-01CC90BC.0/Agendaplanningbd030422014.pdf

      Next Steps

      The Wastewater Commission is looking for an executive director. It is not clear whether engaging a management company was considered as an option.

      In the meantime, the Commission agreed at its Feb. 26 meeting to hire Powers & Sullivan as a consultant to automate the billing, develop a better mechanism to determine how to charge users, calculate betterments on the cost of the plant, and recalculate bills from 2005 to Twenty Wayland. Some of the issues are the various agreements with Town Center developer Twenty Wayland on its share of the total and the varying total permitted by the Department of Environmental Protection.

      In belated response to an attorney’s public records request for extensive documentation held by the Commission, an outside firm will take the file cabinets off site and make copies at a cost of $2,200. The attorney requested the information last November on behalf of disgruntled plant users.

      The WWMDC will hold a public hearing on rates Wednesday, March 5, 7:30 p.m.

      WayCAM’s recording of the Feb. 26 WWMDC meeting:
      http://waycamtv.pegcentral.com/player.php?video=f01206a53111b4becfc8f4edb5911d98

      WayCAM’s recording of the Feb. 12 WWMDC meeting when a number of concerned plant customers attended and spoke with the commissioners:
      http://waycamtv.pegcentral.com/player.php?video=56dae4f0225c3235cbed8311a09787c4

      -- WVN Staff


      WAYCAM SURVEY

      WayCAM, Wayland’s local access cable channel, is considering live internet streaming of events such as Wayland High School graduation, sports, Town Meeting, other government meetings and theater events. Residents are asked to fill out this brief survey:
      https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1tlhYcx1uEiKKwk4ooZC37WuOAEKStcq-ehsrh77NhKI/viewform

      TOWN MEETING SURVEY

      To better predict the number of voting handsets required at Wayland’s April 2 Annual Town Meeting, the Electronic Voting Implementation Sub-committee has set up an anonymous online survey. Please answer the three questions at:

      https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NWKH5R9 https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NWKH5R9

      Your participation will help reduce cost and allow the ELVIS Committee to provide a more efficient and orderly town meeting.


      MARCH 11 OPEB INFO SESSION

      Financing health care for retired town employees (Other Post-Employment Benefits) became controversial when it was discovered that a good deal of money had been deposited in a fund without town knowledge or investment oversight. As a result, the special OPEB Advisory Committee was formed and an OPEB article is on the April Town Meeting warrant.

      The Committee will hold a public information session on Tuesday, March 11 from 7:30 to 9 p.m. in the Large Hearing Room of the Town Building. Members will explain the funding article in detail and answer questions. They’ll be joined by Assistant Town Administrator John Senchyshyn, Treasurer Paul Keating and a guest speaker, Brian Callow of the investment management firm Rockland Trust Co.

      WayCAM will broadcast the meeting live.

      For more information: sherry.jay@... mailto:sherry.jay@...

      CALENDAR:

      Monday, March 3 - Eight town boards have posted to meet. The Board of Health and the Housing Partnership have also posted to meet on Tuesday. The meetings calendar and posted agendas are available on the town website:
      http://www.wayland.ma.us/Pages/index http://www.wayland.ma.us/Pages/index

      Wednesday, March 5, 7:30 p.m. Wastewater public hearing. Rate hearing for users of the wastewater management district commission’s system. Pertinent documents, including proposed rates and a schedule of the betterment process, are posted here:
      http://www.wayland.ma.us/Pages/WaylandMA_BComm/Wastewater/FY2015-Rate-Hearing/

      Monday, March 10, 7 p.m., Large Hearing Room, FY15 School Budget hearing. Residents can request a copy of the budget booklet be mailed to their homes by calling 508-358-3763.
      http://www.wayland.k12.ma.us/administration/superintendent/district_budget

      VOTER INFORMATION

      The annual town election is set for April 1. The deadline to register to vote is March 12. For more election information, including polling locations, use of absentee ballots, see:
      http://www.wayland.ma.us/Pages/WaylandMA_Clerk/election

      SURVEY RESULTS
      The results of seeking public comments about a new town administrator are posted here:
      http://www.wayland.ma.us/Pages/WaylandMA_BComm/Adminselectcomm/results
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      You can read all previous WVN newsletters at:
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/waylandvotersnetwork/
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      Wayland Voters Network
      Michael Short, Editor