Preview: City Council agenda (November 24)

The Worcester City Council meets Tuesday at 7pm. The agenda is here. This week: the big discussion of next year’s property tax rate.

  • Library Board: New candidates for the Library Board will speak briefly about why they want to be chosen.
  • Property Tax Rate Hearing: How much will residential property taxes be next year? Commercial taxes? The Council will decide soon.
  • Boards and Commissions: The Council will (probably) appointment Etel Capacchione to the Citizens Advisory Council.
  • Council Geeks Assemble: There are some “major changes in Council rules” on the horizon. Here’s a summary from the City Solicitor: “Added a statement of rights of councilors to the rule on the duties of councilors; a specific Order of Business for each type of council meeting (Council, Manager, & Joint); allows Councilors to recuse themselves without a vote of the Council; allows chair to determine the extent of debate when a councilor exercises their right under the city charter unilaterally to hold an item; addresses items brought under suspension and city manager supplementals such that the mayor must declare that the item was not reasonably anticipated at the time for posting and by requiring that these items appear on the next agenda. Also it allows Committees to place reports to be taken up at the next council meeting regardless of whether it is a council or a manager meeting; revises Citizen Participation Rules to reflect the new rules allowing citizens two minutes to speak on agenda items and three minutes to speak on their petitions; includes a new rule providing the procedures under state law to address and possibly remove individuals who disrupt a meeting; allows the Council to Discharge an item from a committee and bring it back for consideration of the entire City Council; provides for the disposition of stale items pending in committee at the end of each two year council term.”

Preview: City Council agenda (November 17)

The Worcester City Council meets Tuesday at 7pm. The agenda is here. There is so much stuff.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

  • Animal committee?: Bill Coleman has a citizen petition asking for a “licensed animal owner advisory committee” to weigh in on any changes in our pet laws.
  • Vehicular carnage: Jo Hart has a citizen petition asking for a “well publicized public forum/hearing on the ways and means of eliminating vehicular carnage on city streets and sidewalks.”
  • Chirpers: Councilor Economou asks that we add “audible signals (chirpers)” to our crosswalks.
  • Castle Park: Councilor Rivera asks for the timeframe of the handball court’s demolition, and for a public meeting on how we should spend money allocated to upgrading the park.
  • Mosaic: You will remember that this nonprofit attracted a lot of negative attention for its role in Black Lives Matter organizing, which led to an audit of how it and other organizations spent a grant from the city. The audit found problems. Councilor Lukes has an item asking about defunding Mosaic (which I guess means just not giving it grants in the future?).
  • Needle exchange: Councilor Lukes asks that a proposed needle exchange program be remove from our current “Response to the Opiate Epidemic” so it can be discussed separately.
  • Lawsuits: The Council will have a private “executive session” with the City Manager to discuss lawsuits, to wit: a US District Court judge finding Worcester’s 2013 anti-panhandling laws unconstitutional; a lawsuit over who should clean up a contaminated part of Crow Hill; a hotel owner suing the city for not building a skywalk between the Worcester Center Boulevard Parking Garage and the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel; and a lawsuit about an allegedly coercive interrogation by Worcester police.
  • Green Hill Park: The proposal is to change (but not reduce) the conservation restrictions on the park. There are several reasons the City and local conservationists want to do this, including habitat preservation, linking wild areas of the park, and allowing for the possibility of golf course changes. Councilor Gaffney unilaterally delayed the decision till this week, because he said he wanted to discuss the conservation restriction amendments and the golf course all together, rather than as separate issues.
  • Opiate Epidemic: (Delayed from last week.) There will be a presentation on Worcester’s response so far.
  • Getting Plowed In: (Delayed from last week.) Councilor Bergman has an item asking if we can somehow communicate “the timing of snowplowing routes to avoid getting ‘plowed in’.”
  • Rules Geekery: (Delayed from last week.) Councilor Bergman requests “a legal opinion as to authority for any councilor(s) to request items held in committee to be brought forward and whether or not (Worcester Home Rule Charter: Section 2-6 (c)(ii) (Exercise of Powers; Quorum) is/are applicable.”


Preview: City Council agenda (November 10)

The Worcester City Council meets Tuesday at 7pm. The agenda is here. There is so much stuff.

  • Election: One non-agenda item to start. The upshot of last week’s Council election was that Palmieri and Rushton chose not to run for re-election, and were replaced by Candy Mero-Carlson (D2) and Khrystian King (At-Large). King barely inched out Juan Gomez for the final Council seat. Gomez will be officially asking for a re-count (and alleging some election irregularities). The last time there was a citywide recount, the 2011 School Committee race, candidate vote totals changed as much as 171 votes. Note that Moe Bergman, #5 in the Council race, only barely beat King. So it’s equally plausible that Gomez, King, or Bergman will be the one out.
  • Panhandling: Another non-agenda item. Today a US District Court judge found Worcester’s 2013 anti-panhandling laws unconstitutional.
  • Percent: This week only, I want to note the % of ballots each Councilor got last week.
  • Expansion of the Green Hill Park Golf Course: People who are opposed to this expansion are organizing a presence at this meeting. This doesn’t much change how many acres are under a conservation restriction, just which acres those are. Councilor Economou (55% in his district) has an item asking if this expansion makes financial sense.
  • Signs and Cameras: Councilor Rivera (61% in her district) has items asking for “Neighborhood Crime Watch signs in the area of Hollis and Gardner Sts.,” surveillance cameras in the Winslow Street Park, and signs noting the presence of those cameras.
  • Parking Payment: Casey McHugh has a petition asking for better payment options (smartphone, etc) for the Shrewsbury St. parking lot for Union Station.
  • Public Street: Mahmoud Soheili Arshadi requests that Soheili Circle be made a public street.
  • The Mill Street Dig: Councilor Rosen (71% in his district) is asking that Mill Street, which is all dug up, be restored by Spring 2016.
  • Proportional Representation: Bill Coleman (24%) has an item asking if we can have proportional voting in Worcester, like they do in Cambridge. Bill also has an item asking the City Manager to make his 2016 State of the City address a big, public event.
  • Andrew Haswell Green: Rev. John Griffin has an item asking for us to have an annual October 6 remembrance of Andrew Haswell Green, the Worcester native who was “the Father of Greater New York.”
  • Boards and Commissions: Sean Lauziere has been appointed to the Human Rights Commission; the Council will vote on the appointment of Henry Fields to the Conservation Commission; the Council will vote on the appointments of Maureen Carlos, Patrick Hare, Greta Kenney, Aivi Nguyen, Kathleen Rentsch, Lily Vandyk, and Florette Willis to the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee.
  • Transportation Improvement Projects: The Council will be receiving reports on planned road and sidewalk contruction along and near Lincoln St, Main Street, and Shore Drive.
  • Trash and Recycling for Condos: The Commissioner of Public Works has a report on the Council’s suggestion that the City not only do trash and recycling pickup for people in houses and small apartment buildings, but also for the big ones we don’t currently support. He notes that the cost of Worcester “yellow bags” only funds half the cost of pickup, and that adding these complexes would cost the City $125/unit.
  • More Nicotine Regulation: The City Law Department is ok with Worcester expanding cigarette ordinances to include e-cigarettes, and to generally expand no-smoking zones.
  • Opiate Epidemic: There will be a presentation on Worcester’s response so far.
  • Refugee Resettlement Process: You will remember a couple weeks back that Councilor Lukes (40%) asked questions about the process of resettling refugees in Worcester. This week, the City reports that there are quarterly meetings between the local refugee resettlement agencies, City officials, community group leaders, and people from the colleges. There aren’t details of which community groups are involved, or how you could sit in on these meetings.
  • Taxes: The value of taxable Worcester property is up 0.58% over last year. Next year’s tax rates will be set at a Nov 24 meeting.
  • WSU Parking Plan: Councilor Rosen asks for a comprehensive data-driven traffic and parking study for the Worcester State University and Chandler Magnet School neighborhood.”
  • Getting Plowed In: Councilor Bergman (36%) has an item asking if we can somehow communicate “the timing of snowplowing routes to avoid getting ‘plowed in’.”
  • Rules Geekery: Councilor Bergman requests “a legal opinion as to authority for any councilor(s) to request items held in committee to be brought forward and whether or not (Worcester Home Rule Charter: Section 2-6 (c)(ii) (Exercise of Powers; Quorum) is/are applicable.”
  • Six-Digit Finance Items: $504,522.00 transferred from Police Capital Equipment to Police Equipment; $146,728.09 transferred from Technical Service Capital Equipment to DPSD Capital Equipment; $2,250,000.00 transferred from Building Rehabilitation City & Schools to Citywide/Schools Energy Improvements; $200,000.00 from Dam Rehabilitation to Dam Safety; $300,000.00 from Sewer/Interceptor to Sewers/Interceptor Inspection; $150,000.00 from Traffic Signal Equipment to Traffic Signals; $213,820.00 from the Sewer Capital Equipment loan account to Sewer Capital Equipment; $112,999.65 from Parks Capital Equipment to Parks Equipment, “to allow for the purchase and future payment of approved FY16 Capital Equipment.”

Preview: City Council agenda (October 27)

The Worcester City Council meets Tuesday at 7pm. The agenda is here. It is a pretty-low key agenda, with several interesting finance items.

  • Boards and Commissions: Robert Bureau will be appointed to the Commission on Disabilities.
  • Sidewalks: Our 2016 budget allots $1.6 million for sidewalk repairs and ADA improvements. There’s a report to the Council this week; it will presumably go to a committee before being returned to the full Council for any needed votes.
  • Residential Street Resurfacing: We’ve budgeted $6 million over the next 2 years for this. A detailed list of estimated street repair costs will go to the Public Works Committee, who will presumably decide on priorities and return their recommendations to the full Council.
  • Six-figure Finance Items: $150,408.00 to be transferred from Water Capital Equipment account to another, “to allow for the purchase and future payment of a vehicle and equipment”; $382,993.62 from one account to another for citywide/school energy improvement; applying for $225,000.00 state grant from the State Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund FY16 Appropriation “to provide career pathway training to area residents in manufacturing”; applying for $109,857.00 state grant to fund the Medical Reserve Corps program, which recruits, trains, and deploys medical and non-medical volunteers for public health emergencies; applying for $533,676.48 state grant for anti-gang and anti-youth violence programs. These programs involve both the police and youth organizations. We got a grant last year for this too–this year’s grant request is 10% higher.
  • Bond Rating: Moody’s continues to rate our municipal bonds Aa3, good but not great.
  • Finance Committee: At some point this meeting will recess to a Finance Committee meeting. As part of this, they’ll be receiving the City Assessor’s report on how much taxable property there now is and some info on possible 2016 tax rates. Is there any chance they’ll discuss this the week before an election, rather than tabling it till the week after?

Preview: City Council agenda (October 20)

The Worcester City Council meets Tuesday at 7pm. The agenda is here. It is a pretty-low key agenda.

  • Library Board: The Council will vote two new members onto the library board.
  • TIFs: The Economic Development Committee wants the City Manager to come up with a formal policy regarding Tax Incentive Financing, the tax breaks the city sometimes uses to encourage new development.
  • Refugees: Worcester is eligible for a $180,000 grant from the state that we’d pass on to Workforce Central for refugee English classes and job placements. This item came up at the last meeting, but Councilor Lukes put the brakes on it, delaying it till this week. Now Councilor Lukes has a couple other refugee-related items, one asking how and whether our community is consulted before refugees are placed here. If you are interested in the refugee issue, this could be a good week to make a brief statement.
  • A Town/A City: Councilor Bergman has an item asking the city to plan an event for February 29, 2016, marking our 168th anniversary as a city. Since we were incorporated as a city on a Leap Day, we don’t often have a good day to celebrate our city.
  • Gun Crime Evictions: If someone renting an apartment is arrested for a serious drug crime, the landlord receives notice from the city that, under Mass. Gen. Laws Chapter 139 Section 20, the landlord could face criminal prosecution if that landlord doesn’t take action to evict that tenant. Councilor Bergman has an item asking us to expand this to include serious firearms crimes as well.

Preview: City Council agenda (September 15)

The Worcester City Council meets Tuesday at 7pm. The agenda is here. It is a pretty-low key agenda.

  • Off-Road Vehicles: The Committee on Public Safety has a couple items on ATVs. Recently people have been driving off-road vehicles in city streets or urban parks. The Committee suggests both an education campaign and impounding the vehicles.
  • Opiates: There continue to be overdoses, and overdose deaths, in the area. Councilor Rivera has a number of items regarding this.
  • Safety in Public Buildings: Councilor Lukes has a couple items about safety and public buildings, such as: Request City Manager consider review of access to public buildings, including but not limited to the Public Library, City Hall, Union Station, DCU Center, Police and Fire Headquarters, and to research the need and effectiveness of the use of panic buttons, inside cameras, and sign in sheets, and other strategies, all with the purpose of promoting public safety.
  • Noisy, Dirty Festivals: Councilor Economou has an item asking about “the process for receiving permits for road races, parades or similar activities” and what the applicant’s responsibility is regarding traffic, noise, and cleaning up.
  • Basketball Courts: Councilor Rivera has an item asking the Parks Department to assume control of the “basketball courts bounded by Hawley and Piedmont Streets.”
  • New Public Street: Ockway Street.
  • Finance Items Over $100,000: $250,000.00 transferred from Loan Account: Street Lighting Equipment, and appropriated to DPW Account: Street Lights, to allow for the purchase and payment of anticipated lighting equipment and services; $126,585.12 transferred from Citywide Building Rehabilitation and appropriated to South Worcester Industrial Park, to fund expenses associated with the abatement and demolition of silos at 26 Southgate Place, within the South Worcester Industrial Park project area; $7,012,100.00 appropriated to fund four building improvement projects of the Worcester Public Schools.

Worcester School Committee meeting preview (September 17)

Cross-posted from Tracy’s blog.

…and we have my favorite report of the year: the Opening of School Report! (The backup on this isn’t up yet; I’ll link to it once it is.)

The agenda is here.

We have another round of the back-to-school hiring reports!

City Solicitor Moore is letting us know that, though Council talks about it frequently, he doesn’t have a recent report on the legality of hiring with a preference for Worcester residents.

Mr. Monfredo wants to recognize South High for being on Channel 5.

Mr. O’Connell is re-opening the discussion about parking around May Street School (specifically, around what was Temple Emanuel and now is owed by Worcester State).

I’ve asked that we consider supporting Senator Moore’s Senate Bill 321, regarding the chartering of charter schools.

Mr. O’Connell wants to congratulate our AFL-CIO scholarship winners.

Mr. Monfredo wants to celebrate World Smile Day.

Miss Biancheria is suggesting we implement the Army of Saints curriculum and the Reach Out and Read program in WPS.

We’re being asked to approve a prior year payment of $55.20.

And we’re sending the School Committee section of the policy manual to Governance for our consideration.

Preview: City Council agenda (September 1)

The Worcester City Council meets Tuesday at 6pm. The agenda is here. Nothing on the agenda in reaction to the accidental SWAT raid, but plenty of other items. Now that summer is over we are moving back to a mostly weekly schedule, so these agendas will be shorter.

  • Quarterly Economic Development Report: The City Administration has some updates on the Homewood Suites Hotel to be developed in Washington Square; bids for environmental remediation of the Old Courthouse; a reportback on the Worcester Local Kickoff Weekend; a report on the ongoing success of the Out to Lunch Concert Series; and a report on improvements being made in Union Hill.
  • CitySquare: The current situation: “The construction of the underground parking garage is ongoing and a crane is on site erecting steel. It is anticipated that the portion of the garage, bounded by Eaton Place, Front Street and Mercantile Street, will be open to the public in late 2015. The portion of the garage underneath the hotel parcel will remain closed as the hotel is constructed above it, commencing in calendar year 2016. Ownership of the vacant parcel directly across from the WRTA Bus Hub has transferred from CitySquare II Development Co. LLC to Roseland Properties. Roseland has received Definitive Site Plan approval from the Planning Board to construct 370 residential units with 12,000 SF of retail, and anticipates starting construction in Fall 2015. The Hotel Developer continues to finalize its design and intends to file an application for Definitive Site Plan approval from the Planning Board in the short term.”
  • Planet Coleman: The always-civically-active Bill Coleman has seven petitions on this week’s agenda (not to mention an old one coming back from the Parking Committee). These are about: a mural on Walpole St; a non-binding ballot question on whether 17-year-olds should be able to vote in city elections; a non-binding ballot question on Common Core; the City Council adding a City Council Standing Committee on Ethnic Affairs and Concerns of People of Color; a question (on behalf of downtown shop owner Rajesh Patel) about the economic impact of people not walking around downtown; a request that the mayor’s salary be raised; getting a plaque at Worcester Technical High School honoring the Class of 2014 and Obama’s speech at their commencement.
  • Dirt Bikes and ATVs: Billy Breault has an item asking for a new law that would let the police seize ATVs and dirt bikes “being illegally driven on city streets and in city parks.”
  • Recycling Bins: Rachel Tadmor is asking for bins to be placed “on the Common outside City Hall.”
  • Bike Lane: Jennifer Chau & Chau Tran of Southeast Asian Coalition have a petition for a bike lane on Walpole St.
  • The Knife Attack Case: Ron Madnick has an item asking the City Manager to investigate the WPD in the wake of a convicted knife attacker’s conviction being vacated after the state Supreme Judicial Court decided the WPD used “impermissibly coercive tactics” in interrogating him. There will be a new trial, and the evidence from that interrogation won’t be admissible.
  • Boards and Commissions: Thomas Conroy and Matthew Foster have been reappointed to the Worcester Arts Council. The Council will be voting to appoint Winifred Octave to the Election Commission, Anthony Salvidio to the License Commission, and George Valeri to the Zoning Board of Appeals (a reappointment).
  • Finance Items: As an experiment, this week I’ll note all finance items more than $100,000: $600,000.00 be transferred from Reserve Revenue Account–Greenwood Street Landfill, and be appropriated to Blackstone Gateway Park, to allow for the payment of current and future obligations associated with the design, permitting, and construction of the park project; accept with gratitude numerous small donations to the Worcester Public Library in the amount of $85.00 (ok this is less than 100k); accept a MassWorks Grant from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development for the Quinsigamond Avenue – Gateway I, Phase I Project, in an amount not to exceed $2,000,000.00; accept a grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development in the amount of $1,000,000.00; $413,500.00 transferred from Contingency to Court Judgements; $500,000.00 transferred from DCU Improvement Fund, and be appropriated to Promotion & Tourism, to provide funding for Destination Worcester; $413,401.00 be transferred from the following accounts: $147,000 from Account #750-92000, DCU Center Ordinary Maintenance, and $266,401 from Account #750-94000, DCU Center Debt Service, and be appropriated to the following accounts: $147,000 to Account #75S503-92000, DCU Center Ordinary Maintenance, and $266,401 to Account #75S503-94000, DCU Center Debt Service; $164,315.56 be transferred from various accounts and be appropriated to various accounts, to make adjustments to City accounts, to balance the Fiscal Year 2015 budget; adoption of a Loan Order in the amount of $7,012,100.00 be appropriated to fund four building improvement projects of the Worcester Public Schools.
  • Trains: Councilor Palmieri has an item asking the Mayor and City Manager to work with our state representatives to get some nonstop trains between Worcester and Boston.
  • Skate Park: Councilor Rosen wants a “state-of-the-art skate park for skateboarding, BMX, scooter, wheelchair and inline skating” somewhere around the old Beaver Brook Park swimming pool.
  • Binienda Beach: Councilor Rosen wants the beach at Coes Pond named the “John J. Binienda Memorial Beach” in honor of our late state rep.
  • Municipal Unions: There will be some changes in salaries of members of Local 490, NAGE (Clerks) and Occupational Group W – Miscellaneous (Intake Workers).
  • Food Trucks: The latest food truck ordinance will allow, as a pilot program, some food trucks to be at some parks some of the time.
  • Cityscape: Coughlin Electrial Contractors wants to make improvements toGarden St. from Prescott St. to the far entrance of Coughlin Electrical Contractors” and pay for them. Below: How it looks now, and how they want it to look.



Worcester School Committee meeting preview (September 3)

Cross-posted from Tracy’s blog.

The Worcester School Committee meets this Thursday, September 3. You can find the agenda here.

We’ll have the opening of school report at our next meeting, I’m told, once we get the numbers clear.

Our student reps are back! Looking forward to their contributions!

It’s the hiring report! Thus while face of the agenda doesn’t look very long, here’s what the School Committee, with backup, version looks like:

And yes, I’ll read every page! Thanks to the HR department for getting the information together!

We have a reponse on clearing up the grounds at City View (it happened).

We have a couple of responses [PDF] coming from our budget session: the first clears up Miss Biancheria’s query regarding the IT department; the third describes the school fruit and vegetable grant. The middle one is pretty interesting, as it deliniates school security spending. As you can see in the backup, more than double the designated school security budget is spent on security from the facilities budget.

We have the (now graduated) Doherty students coming to talk to us about their mentoring proposal.

We have recognitions for Mock Trial, for the library foundation awards, for the Boys and Girls Club awards, for Melissa Watson and the 1000 Watts barber shop, and for Mr. Twiss and the Burncoat Madrigals.

We’re being asked to accept a donation from the Emerald Club for iPads for Belmont Street School.

We’re being reminded of International Walk to School Day (October 7) and Manufacturing Day (October 2).

And we’re being asked to appoint four school nurses.

There is NO executive session this week.

Preview: City Council agenda (August 11)

The Worcester City Council meets Tuesday at 6pm. The agenda is here. The agenda is huge but much of it is routine. Be sure to note the item about goose-chasing Canadian drones.

Note that if you want to vote in the Sept 9 Preliminary Election, you must register by August 19. You can register with this PDF form or just go to the Elections window on the second floor of City Hall.

  • Physical Layout: Gadfly-of-gadflies Jo Hart has an item requesting that the City Manager “delineate the physical layout of the manager’s entire staff” so they will be easier for the public to find.
  • Appointments: Anthony Pignataro has been appointed a Constable; Izaida Gonzalez to the Human Rights Commission; Thomas Cullinane, Theresa Eckstrom, Christopher Evans, and Ursula Hanus reappointed to the Elder Affairs Commission; Christopher Rodwill reappointed to the Memorial Auditorium Board of Trustees; Randolph Bloom, Robyn Conroy, Andrew Shveda, and Karl Bjork reappointed to the Historical Commission; and Nicholas Cuba reappointed to the Off Street Parking Board.
  • More Appointments: The Council must vote to approve the reappointment of Jennifer Madson to the Advisory Board on the Status of Women; the reappointment of Peter McKone to the Conservation Commission.
  • Mobile Food Truck Pilot Program: The Manager recommends an ordinance that would establish three Food Truck Friendly Zones, which would be active Fridays and Saturdays through November. These would be adjacent to the Common, Elm Park, and Institute Park. Food trucks have been controversial for years now, though not much seen since the last ordinances regulated many of them out of existence.
  • HUD: There’s a report on the City’s paying a $3.4 million fine to the U.S. Department of Housing and Economic Development for not complying with HUD grant regulations.
  • Keep Worcester Clean: The City’s KWC program has a report on efforts made to keep Worcester clean in May and June. May: 249 sites cleaned, 34 tons of trash removed, 10 citations issued. June: 203 sites cleaned, 35 tons of trash removed, 14 citations issued.
  • Tasers: Last month a man went on a “rampage” in a Worcester market, was tased by police, and died. The Worcester Police Department has a report this week saying that they have 48 Tasers (model X26P), that every officer gets 8 hours of Taser training and is retrained 4 times a year, that officers have tased people 60 times since 2007, and have brandished Tasers without using them 36 times.
  • Crime Stats: According to a report to the Council, our crime stats are pretty good, with the obvious exception of the surge in shootings this summer.


  • Patch Pond Dam: The Council will be voting to accept a $1 million grant from the state to replace this dam.
  • Openings on Boards and Commissions: There’s an item noting that there are lots of openings in City boards and commissions, including the Advisory Committee on the Status of Women, Citizen Advisory Council, Commission on Disability, Conservation Commission, Elder Affairs Commission, GAR Memorial Hall Board of Trustees, Historical Commission, Hope Cemetery Board, Memorial Auditorium Board of Trustees, Planning Board, Worcester Arts Council, and the Worcester Housing Authority. These are a great way to take your involvement in public life to the next level.
  • Keeping Nonprofits and Churches Out of Residential Zones: The Council’s Committee on Rules and Legislative Affairs has an item asking the Manager for a report on “enacting legislation to regulate and restrict use by non-profit organizations for religious or educational purposes in residentially zoned districts.”
  • Police Resources: Councilor Lukes has an item asking for the State police to get involved in our gang violence problem. The Mayor and the Chief have both come out against this idea; the State Police already meet regularly with Worcester law enforcement to collaborate on these kinds of things. There has been some back and forth in the media over this idea. We will be getting more police in both the short-term and long-term, however. I can’t figure out if there is anything about this on the Council agenda, but the Manager has approved keeping 18 “Summer Impact Program” officers on the street even after the summer, and increasing “the upcoming recruit class from 23 to 35.”
  • Food: Councilors Gaffney, Lukes, and Rivera have an item asking the Worcester Public Schools to donate their excess food (that has not been served) to the St. John’s Food Pantry. This is one of those “Why isn’t this on the School Committee Agenda?” items. If you haven’t stopped by St. John’s Food for the Poor, it is a great spot.
  • Day Shelter: Councilor Rivera has another item asking for an update on Worcester’s homelessness efforts and “specifically concerning the progress to initiate a day shelter plan.”
  • More TIFs: Councilor Palmieri has an item asking for the City to be able to give tax breaks (TIFs) “to owners of small multi-family properties to allow them the benefit of enhancing their properties without the immediate burden of increased property taxes.”
  • #GaryRosenIsBackBaby: Councilor Rosen has an item asking the City to use a goose-chasing “dive-bombing drone” to chase away our many Canada geese. He cites the GooseBuster used in Ottawa. I like the GooseBuster website. “I am the first and only company in Canada to be registered to chase geese using a remote controlled aircraft.”
  • Merging Police and Fire: Councilor Lukes has an item asking the Manager to investigate merging the police and fire departments “into a single department of public safety.”
  • Greenwood Street Landfill Solar Project: There’s a little paperwork item regarding this 5.6MW solar project. It’s still moving forward.