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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I use this?

Simply click on the department, division, or office whose FAQ you are trying to view.

 

Cemeteries

Can shrubs be removed from a family member's grave?

To help coordinate the maintenance of a family member's grave, please submit a request in writing to the Cemeteries Divison granting division personnel to maintain the site. Please include the lot number and address correspondence to:

 

Oak Grove Cemetery

C/O Tom Eaton, Director

765 Prospect St.

Fall River, MA  02720
 

City Auditor

What is MUNIS and what does the acronym stand for?
MUNIS stands for Municipal Uniform Information System. MUNIS is widely used by municipalities throughout the country for data processing. The City of Fall River currently uses MUNIS to pay and maintain accounts payable, personnel and payroll processing, the City’s general ledger and the Collector’s functions.
 

 

City Clerk

Can vital records be purchased through the mail?
Vital records (birth, marriage or death certificates) can be purchased by mail.

 

Simply send a written request indicating name(s) and date of the event. Mail request to City Clerk, One Government Center, Fall River, MA 02722. The fee for each copy is $15.00. All requests must be accompanied by a $5.00 processing fee. Make check or money order payable to the City of Fall River. Please call 508-324-2220 with any questions.

 

How do I apply for a marriage license?
To apply for a marriage license, residents must follow these instructions:

1. Both parties must be at least 18 years of age.
2. Must be together to apply for license.
3. Photo identification is required
4. $40.00 application fee.
5. Mandatory three day waiting period between the date intentions are filed and the date the license can be issued.
6. Marriage license is valid for sixty days.
7. License valid only in the state of Massachusetts.

 

 

Collector

What is a tax taking?
A tax taking is when a lien is recorded at the Registry of Deeds. The lien will not be released unless the taxes are paid in full. Payment plans are available through the TreasurerÙs Office.  If a payment plan has not been established or the lien has not been paid in full, the TreasurerÙs office will advance with foreclosure proceedings.

 

Community Development Agency (CDA)

How can I apply for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding?


Each year CDA makes available a Request For Funding (RFF) application.  Currently funded agencies and those agencies seeking program funding for the first time are encouraged to apply.  Applications are due each January for the July 1st to June 30th fiscal year funding period.  To obtain an application, call CDA at 508-679-0131, send an e-mail to infcoor@fallriverma.org or stop by our office at city hall located on the 4th floor Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.     

How does CDA determine which programs or projects get funded? 


  • RFF’s are reviewed and evaluated according to the following criteria:
  • Program or project previously funded meeting eligibility and performance standards
  • Program or project conforms to HUD approved Consolidated Plan strategies and priorities
  • Proposed project or program meets one or more of the National Objectives
  • Proposed project or program is included within the listing of eligible activities in the program statute
  • Applying agency/organization’s past track record for carrying out proposed program/project, including capacity to meet all goals, overall financial stability, timely expenditure of funds, monitoring   and audit findings
  • Readiness to proceed with proposed program/project and to complete it within the program year
  • Request For Funding is filled out completely, accurately and coherently


What types of activities are eligible for CDBG funds?

It’s important to keep in mind that the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) is a federal grant to the City of Fall River from the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). As such, funds can only be used for specific, eligible purposes.  Funds are primarily used to enable the development of a viable community by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment.  Funds may also be used to expand economic opportunities (principally for low- and moderate-income persons). A limited amount funding may be used to support social development programs.

Does the amount of CDBG funds awarded to the City vary from year to year?

Yes.  For example, in FY 2006 the City received CDBG funds in the amount of $3,406,130.


In FY 2008 the city was awarded $2,968,470 in CDBG funding.  Congress debates and determines CDBG funding on a year-to-year basis.  The amount of funding Fall River receives is based mainly on the City’s census and demographical information.  We are hopeful for increases in CDBG funding in coming years so that we may expand on the successes of this vital program.

How can I find out more about CDBG programs?


Send an e-mail to infcoor@fallriverma.org or call our office at 508-679-0131 Monday through Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
 

 

CDA - Home Program - Home Owner

What is Homeowner Rehabilitation under the HOME Program?
It is financial assistance provided to a homeowner occupant (not investor) to make repairs to their property.

 

What are the qualifications to obtain a Homeowner Rehabilitation loan?
1. The participant must be an income-qualified household, must occupy the property as the principal residence at time of application, and must own the property with an approved form of ownership.
2. The property must be a 1-4 family, manufactured or mobile home, or condominium, and it must be located in Fall River.
3. Any lead paint must be abated, and the property must be brought up to code.

 

What are the rent and income limits in HOME-assisted units?
The rent limits are the same as the Section 8 rents set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). These HUD issued rents include utilities and are based on the number of bedrooms in each unit. There is a formula to calculate rent if the utilities are to be paid by the tenant.

There are income guidelines based on household size, for the homeowner and any tenants living in HOME-assisted units.

The rent and income guidelines are updated by HUD annually.

 

How long is the term of the loan?
The term of the loan may run concurrent with the affordability period up to 20 years, and is dependent upon the amount of HOME funds borrowed and the ability of the borrower to pay it back.

 

What are the interest rates?
The interest rate is 3% for all HOME loans.

 

What are the on-going responsibilities during the affordability period and/or the loan term?
The homeowner’s insurance is verified annually during the term of the loan.

There are periodic inspections to make sure the property is kept up to code for the duration of the affordability period.

If applicable, the landlord must provide our agency with tenant certification of their rents and their incomes (including proof of income) every year on the anniversary of the completion of the project for the duration of the affordability period.

 

Are there any pre-payment penalties?
The affordability period remains with the property until the expiration date; it cannot be discharged with the mortgage at time of sale or transfer of the property.

 

What types of repairs are eligible under the HOME Program?
Eligible repairs include bringing the property up to code, essential improvements, handicap renovations, and energy efficiency improvements. Lead paint abatement is necessary. Anything of a non-luxury nature is eligible.

 

Do you give out grants?
We do not grant funds as such, but some of our loans qualify to be deferred to a point of forgiveness given that the restrictions have been adhered to during the affordability period, as well as other requirements of the program. Loan will revert to a grant.

 

Does a commercial building qualify?
No, not if it is strictly for commercial use.

 

Does a mixed-use building qualify (part residential/part-commercial)?
Yes, but any commercial portion would be pro-rated.

Example: A 3-tenement with a store-front on 1st floor—both 2nd and 3rd floor apartments can be rehabilitated with HOME funds, but not the store on the 1st floor. If the roof was being replaced or vinyl siding was being installed, owner would pay one-third of the cost at time of loan closing.

 

Can I use my own contractor?
Yes, but the contractor must be licensed for the type of work to be performed, insured, and registered with the state.

We also require a bidding process—we like to have at least 2 bids, but prefer 3. Normally the lowest responsible bidder is chosen, but if the owner selects a higher bidding contractor, the owner must pay the difference between the bids at time of loan closing. All bids come directly to our office sealed, to be opened at a pre-determined date and time.

 

Is there an application fee?
No.

 

Who inspects the work to make sure it’s being done properly and everything is brought up to code?
We have a rehabilitation specialist in our office. He/She performs the preliminary inspection, and writes up the in-house specifications and cost estimates. The contractors’ bids are based on the in-house specifications. The rehabilitation specialist also performs all inspections during the course of the project and makes certain that all work is up to code and falls within the specifications. He/She is available to answer questions of both the contractor and the homeowner.

 

What are the FHA Mortgage Limits?

The estimated value of the property (after rehabilitation if applicable) cannot exceed 95% of the median purchase price for the area. As of 1/1/07 in Fall River the FHA Mortgage Limits are as follows, one-family = $316,350.00, two-family = $359,397.00, three-family = $434,391.00, and
four-family = $539,835.00.

 

CDA - Home Program - Home Buyer

What is the Homebuyer Program?

The Homebuyer Program is financial assistance in the form of down payment and closing cost money provided to a first-time homebuyer who is income-eligible, must be creditworthy, and does not owe any outstanding property taxes or service fees to the City of Fall River. Rehabilitation may be included if necessary and financially feasible.

 

What are the qualifications to obtain a Homebuyer Assistance loan?

  1. The participant must be a first-time homebuyer and must complete a certified homebuyer’s course.
  2. The participant must be an income-qualified household, must occupy the property as the principal residence for a period of 5 years, and must purchase the property with an approved form of ownership.
  3. The property must be a 1-4 family, manufactured or mobile home, or condominium, and it must be located in Fall River.
  4. Any lead paint must be abated. If there is rehabilitation involved, the property has to be brought up to code.

 

Who is a first-time homebuyer?

A first-time homebuyer is an individual and his or her spouse who has not owned a home during the three-year period prior to purchase of a home with HOME/ADDI assistance.

 

What are the rent and income limits in HOME-assisted units?

If the HOME funds assist units other than the homebuyer’s unit, then rent and income limits apply to all HOME-assisted units.

The rent limits are the same as the Section 8 rents set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). These HUD issued rents include utilities and are based on the number of bedrooms in each unit. There is a formula to calculate rent if the utilities are to be paid by the tenant.

There are income guidelines, which are based on household size, for the homebuyer and any tenants living in HOME-assisted units.

HUD updates the rent and income guidelines annually.

 

Where can I complete a Homebuyers course?
You can obtain information on the courses available in this area at Catholic Social Services
(Carol Hernandez at 508-674-4681) or the Fall River Affordable Housing Corporation.
(Bob Landry at 508-677-2220).

 

How long is the term of the loan?

The term of the loan may run concurrent with the affordability period up to 20 years, and is dependent upon the amount of HOME funds borrowed and the ability of the borrower to pay it back. Homebuyer loans usually have a term of 5 years

 

What are the interest rates?

The interest rate is 3% for all HOME loans.

 

What are the on-going responsibilities during the affordability period and/or the loan term?

The homeowner’s insurance is verified annually during the term of the loan.

 

There are periodic inspections to make sure the property is kept up to code for the duration of the affordability period.

Borrower must sign a Certificate of Primary Residence annually for 5 years.

If applicable, the borrower must provide our agency with certification of their tenants’ rents and incomes (including proof of income) every year on the anniversary of the completion of the project for the duration of the affordability period.

 

Do you give out grants?

We do not grant funds as such. The homebuyer assistance portion of the loan is deferred for a 5-year period as long as the borrower complies with program restrictions during the affordability period. Loan will revert to a grant.

Lead paint abatement and handicap accessibility renovation loans up to $7,500.00 per unit are deferred until forgiveness as long as the borrower complies with program restrictions during the affordability period. Loan will revert to a grant.

 

Are there any pre-payment penalties?

There are recapture provisions: if a HOME-assisted property is sold within the affordability period, CDA has the right to recapture some, if not all, of the HOME assistance from the sale’s net proceeds, and may even be entitled to a portion of the proceeds. The affordability period remains with the property until the expiration date; it cannot be discharged with the mortgage at time of sale or transfer of the property.

 

Is there an application fee?

No, but the homebuyer needs to work with a primary lender who is familiar with the HOME Homebuyer Assistance Program.

 

Can HOME funds be used to acquire commercial property?

No, not if it is strictly for commercial use.

 

In the case of rehabilitation, what types of repairs are eligible under the HOME Program?

Eligible repairs include bringing the property up to code, essential improvements, handicap renovations, and energy efficiency improvements. Lead paint abatement is necessary. Anything of a non-luxury nature is eligible.

 

In the case of rehabilitation, who inspects the work to make sure it’s being done properly and everything is brought up to code?

We have a rehabilitation specialist in our office. He/She performs the preliminary inspection, and writes up the in-house specifications and cost estimates. The contractors’ bids are based on the in-house specifications. The rehabilitation specialist also performs all inspections during the course of the project and makes certain that all work is up to code and falls within the specifications. He/She is available to answer questions of both the contractor and the homeowner.

 

What are the FHA Mortgage Limits?

The estimated value of the property (after rehabilitation if applicable) cannot exceed 95% of the median purchase price for the area. As of 7/16/08 in Fall River the FHA Mortgage Limits are as follows, one-family = $475,000, two-family = $608,100, three-family = $735,050, and four-family = $913,450.

 

CDA - Home Program - Investor Rehabilitation

Can an investor (an owner who doesn’t live on the property) obtain a loan under the HOME Program?
The HOME Program offers rehabilitation and acquisition loans to investors who are willing to provide decent, affordable housing to income-qualified households at rents set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). It can be a single-family property, multi-family property or rental condo, but there are environmental reviews, federal requirements (Davis-Bacon Act, labor standards) and limits as to how much government money can be invested.

 

What are the qualifications to obtain an Investor Rehabilitation loan?
1. The participant must own the property with an approved form of ownership.
2. Any lead paint must be abated, and the property must be brought up to code.

 

What are the rent and income limits?
The rent limits are the same as the Section 8 rents set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). These HUD issued rents include utilities and are based on the number of bedrooms in each unit. There is a formula to calculate rent if the utilities are to be paid by the tenant.

When investor rehabilitation is involved, if a property has 1-4 units, all tenants can be charged the High HOME rent. If there are more than 4 units, 20% of the units are to be Low HOME rent.

There are income guidelines for initial occupancy, based on household size, for the homeowner and any tenants living in HOME-assisted units.

The rent and income guidelines are updated by HUD annually.

 

How long is the term of the loan?
The term of the loan runs concurrent with the affordability period up to 30 years, and is dependent upon the amount of HOME funds borrowed and the ability of the borrower to pay it back.

 

What are the interest rates?
The interest rate is 3% for all HOME loans.

 

What are the on-going responsibilities during the affordability period and/or the loan term?
The homeowner’s insurance is verified annually during the term of the loan.

There are periodic inspections to make sure the property is kept up to code for the duration of the affordability period.

If applicable, the landlord must provide our agency with tenant certification of their rents and their incomes (including proof of income) every year on the anniversary of the completion of the project for the duration of the affordability period.

 

Are there any pre-payment penalties?
The affordability period remains with the property until the expiration date; it cannot be discharged with the mortgage at time of sale or transfer of the property.

 

What types of repairs are eligible under the HOME Program?
Eligible repairs include bringing the property up to code, essential improvements, handicap renovations, and energy efficiency improvements. Lead paint abatement is necessary. Anything of a non-luxury nature is eligible.

 

Do you give out grants?
We do not grant funds as such, but some of our loans qualify to be deferred to a point of forgiveness given that the restrictions have been adhered to during the affordability period, as well as other requirements of the program. Loan will revert to a grant.

 

Does a commercial building qualify?
No, not if it is strictly for commercial use.

 

Does a mixed-use building qualify (part residential/part-commercial)?
Yes, but any commercial portion would be pro-rated.

Example: A 3-tenement with a store-front on 1st floor—both 2nd and 3rd floor apartments can be rehabilitated with HOME funds, but not the store on the 1st floor. If the roof was being replaced or vinyl siding was being installed, owner would pay one-third of the cost at time of loan closing.

 

Can I use my own contractor?
Yes, but the contractor must be licensed for the type of work to be performed, insured, and registered with the state.

We also require a bidding process—we like to have at least 2 bids, but prefer 3. Normally the lowest responsible bidder is chosen, but if the owner selects a higher bidding contractor, the owner must pay the difference between the bids at time of loan closing. All bids come directly to our office sealed, to be opened at a pre-determined date and time.

 

Is there an application fee?
Yes, an application fee is required in good faith, but it is refundable upon closing of the loan.

 

Who inspects the work to make sure it’s being done properly and everything is brought up to code?
We have a rehabilitation specialist in our office. He/She performs the preliminary inspection, and writes up the in-house specifications and cost estimates. The contractors’ bids are based on the in-house specifications. The rehabilitation specialist also performs all inspections during the course of the project and makes certain that all work is up to code and falls within the specifications. He/She is available to answer questions of both the contractor and the property owner.

 

Conservation

I am doing work on my property, how do I know if I need to file with the Conservation Commission?

If you have reason to believe that your property contains wetland resource areas, but you are not sure if those resource areas are subject to regulation, you are encouraged to contact our office for further guidance.  We will be happy to assist you.

 

I am doing work near a wetland resource area on my property, but not within the actual resource area itself – do I still need to contact the Conservation Commission?

Yes.  Certain resource areas have a one hundred foot protective Buffer Zone surrounding them, so in order to remain in compliance with the State regulations, you are encouraged to contact our office so that we can further assist you.

 

I am filing with the Conservation Commission and I need more information about the legal advertisement requirement.  Where could I find such information?

Certain filings require that a Notice of Public Hearing advertisement be placed in the Fall River Herald News.  The advertisement only needs to appear once, at least five (5) business days before the meeting.  Please contact our office so that we can provide you with the proper template to use, as it is updated regularly with the correct meeting date information.

 

I am filing with the Conservation Commission and I need more information about notifying the abutters.  Where could I find such information?

Certain filings require that the Applicant notify all of the abutters within one hundred feet of the property line (the property where the work is going to be conducted).  The Applicant does this via Certified Mail, and they are asked to bring the green receipts to the meeting at which their filing is heard.  Please contact our office so that we can provide you with the proper template to use, as it is updated regularly with the correct meeting date information.

 

How far in advance do I need to submit my filing in order to be scheduled on the upcoming meeting agenda?

Generally our office accepts filings for the upcoming meeting agenda up to eight (8) days before the meeting.  Certain exceptions apply.  Please contact our office for specific filing deadline information.

 

Grant Writer

Can the City Grant Writer write grants for nonprofit organizations?
No. However, the City Grant Writer will contribute to grant writing for collaborative grant applications involving nonprofits and city departments. For more information, please call (508) 324-2662.

Can the City's Grant Writer help me get grants to get out of the tough financial situation I am in?

No. The City Grant Writer exists to help City Departments develop grant applications. If you are an individual or family seeking financial assistance, it is recommended that you contact local nonprofit agencies to determine what help is available. If you wish to do your own search for grants, please take advantage of the resources listed in the Grant Writer's Helpful Link Library.

How would I go about funding my (after prom party, youth group, church function, drama club, etc.)?
Most small community groups and/or community efforts raise funds in diverse ways that have little to do with grants. The overwhelming majority of foundations, corporations and governmental entities who make grants, look to fund mission-driven nonprofit organizations for specific projects. Funding for local activities, community efforts, etc., often involves a fundraising campaign that is not to be confused with grant writing. Fundraising activities might include bake sales, car washes, can drives, etc. Please see "Grant Writer's Links: Fundraising" for links to organizations that may be able to provide additional information.

What kinds of grants are available from the City?
None. The City is not a grantmaking institution. Please see the links in the "Online Library" for information designed to help people and organizations seek grants.
 

 

Human Resources

In the event my employment with the City of Fall River terminates, and I lose my health coverage, what are my options for continuation of coverage?

In 1986 Congress passed the landmark Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) with health benefit provisions that allow employees who have lost their job voluntarily or involuntarily to continue coverage through COBRA up to a period of 18 months at group rates.

What process must individuals follow to elect COBRA coverage?

The Human Resources Division must send an election notice no later than 14 days after the plan administrator receives notice that a qualifying event has occurred.  The individual then has 60 days to decide whether to elect COBRA continuation coverage.  The person has 45 days after electing coverage to pay the initial premium.  The election notice will also have detailed information on what the cost of coverage is for the Health Plan you have selected.

How long does COBRA coverage last?

COBRA establishes required periods of coverage for continuation of health benefits. COBRA beneficiaries generally are eligible for group coverage during a maximum of 18 months for qualifying events due to employment termination or reduction of work hours.  Certain qualifying events, or a second qualifying event during the initial period of coverage, may permit a beneficiary to receive a maximum of 36 months of coverage.

 

Office of Immigration & Naturalization

Is the Mayor’s Office of Immigration and Naturalization Assistance a satellite immigration (USCIS) office?
No. This office is funded by the Community Development Block Grant as a community service to the immigrant population. Personal information exchanged in the office is kept confidential between the employees and the individual person. Information will only be shared with immigration at the person’s request. 

What do I need to renew or replace my Permanent Resident Card (green card)?
If you have a 10-year card or a card with no date of expiration you will need:

  • Your current Permanent Resident Card (or your Alien Number if your card was lost or stolen)
  • A money order in the amount of $370.00 made out to the US Department of Homeland Security
  • If you have a criminal record you must request court dispositions from the courthouse that handled your cases
  • Marriage Certificate (if applicable)

 

What do I need to apply for United States Citizenship?

If you have met the 3-year or 5-year residency requirement (depending on your particular circumstances) you will need:

  • Your current Permanent Resident Card (or your Alien Number if your card was lost or stolen)
  • A money order in the amount of $675.00 made out to the US Department of Homeland Security
  • Two passport-style pictures
  • If you have a criminal record you must request court dispositions from the courthouse that handled your cases
  • Marriage Certificate (if applicable)
  • Spouse’s Naturalization Certificate or Birth Certificate (if applicable)


How old do you have to be to take your naturalization exam in your native language?
In order to qualify to take your naturalization exam in your native language you must be at least 50 years of age and a legal resident of the United States for at least 20 years OR 55 years of age and a legal resident of the United States for at least 15 years.

If you are over the age of 65 and have been a legal resident for at least 20 years you can take the naturalization exam in your native language and there are only 20 questions you will need to study.

How long is it taking to become a US Citizen?
It is currently taking approximately 10 to 12 months to complete the entire process to become a naturalized citizen.

I am a US citizen and I would like to petition for a family member. How do I go about doing this?
The process to petition for a family member will vary depending upon the nature of the relationship and where your family member is currently residing. For more complete information, please contact our office at 508-324-2230.

I need documentation from my country of origin. How do I go about acquiring it?
Please contact the Consulate office for your country of origin.


* For any other questions or concerns, please feel free to contact our office at 508-324-2230.
 

 

Office of Management, Budget, and Accountability

What is the city’s Fiscal Year?
July 1 – June 30

By when does the Mayor have to submit the budget to the City Council?
According to Section 2-182 of the Revised Ordinances, the Mayor must submit the annual operating budget which is the statement of the amounts recommended for proposed expenditures of the city for the next fiscal year, no later than June 1.

 

Parks

How can I get directions to various park locations?
Please click here for a list of parks and playgrounds.

What facilities are available in various parks?

Please click here for a list of facilities and playing fields within each park.

Who do I contact to join/try out for various leagues?

The Park Department allows various league to utilize Park facilities however we do not have direct involvement with the actual sign up or running of individual leagues. We can however provide a list of the league presidents or contact so that you may obtain information on a particular league you may be interest in joining. 

Please click here to see a list of leagues.


How can I obtain a permit for Park use – Playing Fields, Events, etc?

Requests for seasonal permits must be made in writing & sent to the Park Board for approval. The request can be mailed to:
 
Fall River Park Department
450 Middle Street,
Fall River, MA  02724

The request must be sent in no earlier than January 1st, by the league president/organizer and must include the following information:

  • League name and contact person
  • Return address and telephone number of the contact person
  • Area/playing field requested
  • Dates and times
  • League rosters that include names and addresses of all participants in the league.


How can I present a concern I may have to the Board?


An individual may address the Park Board at their monthly meeting by sending in a letter requesting that they be placed on the meetings agenda. This letter should also include a summary of their concern and also a return address and telephone number so the individual may be contacted if the Board would like them to provide more information regarding the matter of concern.
 

 

Planning

Do variance plans have to be professionally drawn?
YES, as of June 28, 2000 the ZBA requires that all variance plans must be prepared by a licensed land surveyor. The plans must be stamped and signed by the surveyor.

Are there fees for recording decisions and Form A plans at the Registry of Deeds?
YES, the Registry of Deeds does charge for recordings. You must call the Bristol County Registry of Deeds for their fees.

Is there a waiting period after being granted a variance?
YES, decisions are filed with the City Clerk on or about 14 days after the meeting, at which time a 20-day appeal period begins. At the end of the appeal period the decision is signed.

How do I get my decision after the appeal period has passed?
You must come to the Planning Department on the 5th floor of Government Center and sign for it. You must also record the decision at the Registry of Deeds.

How do I know if I need a variance?
You must meet the zoning requirements for the area in which the property is located, including square footage, frontage and setbacks, and use. You must go to the Building Department and a Building Inspector will determine if a variance is needed.

How long must I wait to re-apply for a variance if I am denied?
You must wait two years before reapplying with the same request. If it is very similar to the variance which was denied you must apply for a re-hearing before the Planning Board and they will determine whether or not you may go back before the Zoning Board. If the Planning Board denies a re-hearing you must wait for the two years to pass before applying for the variance again. If your request is substantially different from the previous request you may reapply at any time.

How many plans do I need to submit for a variance? Form A Plans?
Variances require 4 plans and Form A’s require one mylar plan and 4 copies of the plan. This info is also listed in the Zoning Board of Appeals Application Instructions and Subdivision Rules and Regulations, which may be obtained from the Planning Department. There is no fee for application instructions. (PROVIDE A LINK TO THE INSTRUCTIONS)

Is the decision mailed to me or do I have to pick it up?
The decision is picked up and signed for at the Planning Department unless otherwise requested. The decision must be recorded at the Registry of Deeds. If a you are dividing property you must give the recorded book and page info to the Engineer preparing the Form A Plan.

Is there a limited number of variances accepted for each meeting?
YES, only 25 variance applications will be accepted each month (including late filings and tabled matters).

Must I own the property in order to apply for a variance?
NO, If you have a contractual interest in the property you may apply for a variance.


 

 

Traffic and Parking

Where can I get news regarding a Parking Ban?
In addition to checking the city’s website periodically for the most up-to-date information, news regarding a parking ban is available through the following media outlets:  

Local Cable:

FRED Channel 17
Channel 18
FRCTV Channel 95

Local Newspapers:

The Herald News
O Jornal

Local Radio Stations:

WSAR 1480 AM
WHTB 1400 AM
WJFD 97.3 FM

Television:

WBZTV Channel 4
WCVB Channel 5
WLNE Channel 6
WHDH Channel 7
WJAR Channel 10
WPRI Channel 12

Where do I park during a parking ban?

Parking is allowed on the north side of all city streets that run east and west or on the west side of all streets that run north and south.  In most cases, this means parking is allowed opposite the hydrant side of the street. Find out where you should park by viewing the street list or city map.

Can a parking ticket affect my insurance or driving record?

No, a parking ticket does not go against your driving record nor your insurance.

How many days do I have to pay a parking ticket? How many penalties does a parking ticket have?

A parking ticket has to be paid by the 21st day.

There are 2 penalties, the first is given on the 22nd day and the second penalty is on the 30th day. If a parking ticket is not paid in 52 days it will become $45.00

What type of payment can be used to pay parking tickets?

Cash, money order and personal checks.

How can I renew my handicapped plate or placard?

Renewal applications are available on the Registry of Motor Vehicles website at http://www.mass.gov/rmv .  Or one can be picked up at the Traffic and Parking Division office on the 3rd floor of Government Center.


How do I request a handicapped parking space?
Contact the Traffic and Parking Division at 508-324-2578

 

Sanitation

Automated Trash and Single Stream Recycling Pilot Program

 

Do I need to put out carts every week?
No. The green trash cart will be picked up even if the blue recycling cart isn’t on the curb and vice versa.

 

What if one of my carts is damaged or stolen?
The cart will be maintained and replaced at no cost to the resident except for damage due to negligence or abuse. Proper storage is the responsibility of the resident.

 

I move?
The carts stay with the Fall River address.

 

What do I do with my old barrel?
You can use it for storage, garden use, or collection of yard waste.

 

What do I do with my recycling bin?
The city will collect the bins.

 

Veterans' Services

Am I a Veteran?
To be Eligible for veterans Benefits in Massachusetts an individual must be a “veteran” or a dependent of a “veteran” under M.G.L.c. 4, cl. 43rd as amended by the acts of 2005, ch.130.

 

Am I eligible for funeral benefits?
State and federal veterans' benefits are available to the dependents (spouse, children, parents) of eligible veterans. To check eligibility, please visit the state’s Veterans’ Services website or call the Veterans’ Services office at 508-324-2436 for an application.

 

How do I get a marker or request a flag to be place on my family member’s grave?
Grave markers or flags for deceased veterans are available and requests should be sent to the Veterans Agent, Manuel DaPonte, by e-mail or by calling the office at 508-324-2432.

 

Can I be buried at Arlington National Cemetery?
A detailed list of persons eligible to be buried at the Arlington National Cemetery is available on the cemetery’s website.

 

Can I get transportation to The Local VA Medical Center?
Yes. Transportation is available to the VA medical centers in Brockton, Providence and Boston as well as all other SPECIAL medical clinics and services that the veteran may need.

 

Call 508-324-2401 or 508-324-2402 twenty-four hours before the appointment. The Council on Aging will schedule your pick-up and will provide you with any necessary instructions.

 

Water Division

What should I do if I don't have water?

  • Check the building and any water maintenance work in the immediate area. 
  • If there is no obvious sign of work activity, contact Water Maintenance at 508-324-2720 or 508-324-2721.

 

What should I do if I think my bill is too high?

  • Check statement for actual (A) or estimated (E) readings. 
  • Estimated readings: Go into the basement and compare the reading on the bill to that on the water meter. If your water meter indicates a reading greater than that on the bill, the bill is probably correct, and you have used more than what you have been billed for.

 

If the meter reading is lower than the reading used to calculate your bill, please contact the Water Department Billing Office at 508-324-2330 for an adjustment. If the high reading is confirmed, check the water meter for a leak.

 

How do I read my water meter?
Most water meters have a large red hand, similar to the second hand of a watch.  This is called a “test dial”.  If this hand is moving even a little, you are using water.  If no water is being used, but the hand is moving, you probably have a leak.  The most likely place for the leak is a defective toilet valve. 

 

Most of the city’s water meters also have a series of dials with numbers on them.  These dials register the number of cubic feet (not gallons) that have passed through the meter. 

 

How do I calculate my water costs?

  • Subtract the amount on your previous water bill from the present meter reading.
  • Divide that result by 100. 
  • Multiply that number by the current water rate (now 1.92 per 100 cubic feet)

 

I'm worried about the possibility of lead in my tap water. What should I do?
Lead does not naturally occur in the city’s water supply. The water delivered to your tap is treated so that it does not dissolve lead. Usually, when lead is present in the water it is because of residential plumbing.  The water distribution system itself does not contain any lead pipes, however many older private water services are still made of lead.

 

To find out if your home has a lead water service, stop in at the Maintenance division at 1620 Bedford Street or call 508-324-2721.

Even though we treat the water as noted above, if your home has a lead water service, ALWAYS let the water run first thing in the morning for 20 or 30 seconds or until it runs cold. This flushes the stagnant water from your water service and further eliminates possibility of lead entering your water. 

 

I noticed in the newspaper that the fire hydrants will be flushed. What is this and what does it do?

Hydrant flushing is part of a federally-required program to maintain pure water in water distribution systems. Twice a year, the Water Division opens fire hydrants across the city and allow the water to run freely.  Flushing helps remove iron and other mineral deposits that have collected in the water mains.

 

During hydrant flushing some residents may experience a period of 'red' or discolored water resulting from dissolved iron being stirred up. This clears up in a matter of a few hours. Hydrant flushing is performed from late evening to early morning to minimize impacts on customers.  If you experience inconvenience during hydrant flushing contact the 'night watchman' at 508-324-2721.

 

How many gallons are in a cubic foot of water?

There are 7.48 gallons in each cubic foot of water.