Collaboration has been central to Mayor Linda M. Balzotti’s administration. As Brockton’s first female Mayor, she has prioritized public safety, education, and economic development in the city and worked together with local stakeholders as well as state and federal agencies and representatives to advocate for Brockton residents and these priorities.
Elected for the first time in November 2009, Balzotti is serving her second term as Mayor. Within days of first being sworn into office, a rash of gun violence occurred, resulting in four homicides in January 2010. Mayor Balzotti worked closely with the Brockton Police Department, Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office, and State Police to increase patrols and reallocate resources to develop a zero-tolerance approach to public safety in the city. Since taking office, four raids conducted in Brockton have resulted in more than 60 arrests of people involved in the illegal gun and drug trades.
Continuing this commitment to public safety, 13 police officers have been hired. Nine fire fighters have also joined the department, the first new department hires made since 2007.
During her first term, Balzotti worked tirelessly to dissolve Building a Better Brockton, the city’s designee to oversee Community Development Block Grant funds, and re-establish the Brockton Redevelopment Authority. The BBB was marred in controversy, putting funding in jeopardy. Mayor Balzotti’s efforts saved the city from losing $1 million in state funding which would have gone to another community had she not stepped in to champion the city’s cause at the state level. Eighteen months later, the BRA has a new Executive Director and is moving forward with programs and initiatives to help strengthen neighborhoods.
Since taking office, Balzotti has aggressively pursued grant funding opportunities for Brockton. In the last two years, more than $19 million in grants have been secured for public safety initiatives, youth programs, economic development efforts, and infrastructure improvements.
Working closely with the state delegation and the administration of Governor Deval Patrick, Mayor Balzotti secured $140,000 in funding to support planning and economic development initiatives -- the cornerstones of her vision for the revitalization of downtown Brockton. To date, three Brockton redevelopment proposals have received Historic Tax Credits from the state totaling $1.5 million, a first for the city.
In 2010, Brockton was also the first municipality in the Commonwealth to be named a pilot community for the state’s Brownfields Support Team Initiative. The project, led by a group of local and state agencies, will identify Brownfield sites in the city for potential remediation and reuse.
Mayor Balzotti, in her first two budget submissions, maintained essential city services. Public safety personnel were hired and the three branches of the Brockton Public Library remained opened on an abbreviated schedule. In 2010, an additional $3 million in funding was provided to the Brockton Public Schools to help alleviate the budget deficit created by rising fixed costs and reduced federal and state aid.
As Mayor, Balzotti also serves as Chairman of the Brockton School Committee. She works closely with school department staff to ensure Brockton children receive a first-class education. In 2011, Marciano Stadium at Brockton High School underwent a $1.2 million renovation, and eight Brockton Public School buildings are undergoing renovations as part of the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s Green Repair Program. Brockton was the second largest recipient of funding through this program, receiving $35.6 million, 80 percent of the total cost of the project. The City of Brockton is responsible for $7.1 million.
In addition to her work with the school committee, Balzotti has maintained and expanded city programs for youth including the Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program and Brockton After Dark. In the summer of 2010, the Balzotti administration started a Midnight Basketball League for young men. More than 80 young people have taken part in the program during each of the two years it has been offered.
Brockton has also been named one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People four times, twice during Balzotti’s administration.
Recognizing the importance of keeping the public informed, Balzotti led the effort to redesign the city web site to provide information to residents and visitors more effectively. She also increased the city’s social media presence. Mayor Balzotti implemented monthly constituent office hours to open up the Mayor’s Office to city residents, and has worked to keep City Councilors up-to-date on issues and events.
Prior to her election as Mayor in 2009, Balzotti served as a City Councilor for 12 years.
In 2010, Governor Deval Patrick appointed her to the Massachusetts Work Force Investment Board. That same year, Mayor Balzotti presented with four other mayors at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government’s Institute of Politics on Helping Urban Areas Thrive. She also participated in The Mayor’s Institute on City Design hosted by the Penn Institute for Urban Research at the University of Pennsylvania.
A life-long Brocktonian, Mayor Balzotti holds a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University and is a proud graduate of Brockton High School.