Monthly Archives: January 2014

Preview: City Council Meeting (Jan 28)

The City Council meets Tuesday, January 28 at 7 pm. The agenda is here. Here are some items that jumped out at me. There’s also some finance stuff.

  • 7f. Graffiti: “Michael Grandone request City Council request the City Solicitor to investigate the legality of removing the crime of property graffiti “tagging” and all other terms of property defacement from a criminal complaint by law enforcement to a civil complaint by law enforcement that would now be punishable by a monetary fine set forth by the City of Worcester based upon said cleaning and/or removal of damage incurred by said destructive act.”
  • 11a. Youth employment: From Councilor Rosen. “Request City Manager make a presentation to the Standing Committee on Youth, Parks and Recreation regarding the state of youth employment in the city and the availability of summer jobs for Worcester’s teens.”
  • 11b. Coes Pond swimming area: More Rosen. “Request City Manager advise the Standing Committee on Youth, Parks and Recreation relative to
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    the feasibility and cost of reconstructing and upgrading the Coes Pond swimming area on Mill St. (Rosen)”

  • 11h. Illegal parking lot on Pleasant St: Councilor Rivera will ask the City Manager to look for code violations at the vacant lot, now a de facto parking lot, next to Pleasant Street Baptist Church.
  • 11j. Agriculture zoning: From Mayor Petty. “Request City Manager work with our planning department and community agencies to create an agriculture zoning designation within the city similar to the one recently created in Boston (Boston Municipal Ordinance Article 89).”
  • 11k. Color copies of agendas: Councilor Russell will ask the Manager to stop “the costly practice of providing thousands of color copies each week to the City Council”.
  • 11n. Counting bike racks as parking spots: From Councilor Bergman. “Request City Manager request the Director of Planning and Regulatory Services provide a report as to the feasibility of amending the Zoning Ordinance’s Off Street Parking requirements to allow credit for bicycle stands/lockers in residential units as a parking space.”
  • 11v. Let’s actually find a City Manager: From Councilor Gaffney. “Request City Manager provide a Scope Document, Task List and Timeline as per the Project Management Disciplines already used by the City of Worcester to be used for the search and hiring of the permanent City Manager.”
  • 15e. Pay raise for the mayor: This is tabled, but Councilor Gaffney says he will un-table it.
  • 15g. Banning wild/exotic animals at circuses: This item is currently tabled, but Councilor Gaffney says he’s un-tabling it. Other Councilors have told the press they want more info before voting. Animal advocates are encouraging supporters to attend the meeting.

Preview: City Council Meeting (Jan 14)

The City Council meets Tuesday, January 14 at 7 pm. The agenda is here

Under Public Petitions, Jo Hart, Council gadfly, calls out the Council’s longstanding practice of using supplemental agenda items and of bringing up practically anything under suspension at the end of their meetings: 

7f.  Jo Hart request Mayor and City Manager, in fairness to the public and in support of the Open Meeting Law, immediately cease the current practice of bringing up items not on the current agenda at City Council meetings, including items under suspension of rules and supplemental items.

Councilor Lukes (8c) is asking about the properties owned and run by the Worcester Redevelopment Authority (WRA) and how much it’s costing the city. 

The city administration requested a 30-year lease of the ground-floor space of the Union Station Garage for the WRA (9b/10a). The WRA would then sublet the space for commercial use. The administration says that the RFP process has been a hindrance in finding a tenant for the space, and that the WRA can negotiate with tenants in a way the city cannot. Some city councilors expressed concerns about the length of the lease (30 years) to the WRA. This was held (by Councilor Lukes) from last week’s meeting; expect another lively discussion.

Councilor Economou (8j) is pushing for better public notification about postponed meetings (due to lack of quorum) and postponed items.

And Lukes is calling for an immediate process on getting a new permanent city manager (8l).

For those interested in smart meters, the Zoning Board of Appeals meets tonight at 5:30 in the Levi Lincoln chamber at City Hall regarding National Grid’s proposed project.

The WRTA Transit Advisory Board meets Thursday at 8:30 am at 60 Foster Street.

At the last City Council Rules Committee, City Clerk Rushford agreed to start posting what is called the “Pending List” for all the City Council Committees. The pending list is the list of items referred to the Committee which are waiting to be discussed.  You can now find the pending list for each committee next to that committee’s archived agendas.

 

Preview: City Council Meeting (Jan 7)

Augustus Sworn In
Ed Augustus, who officially became Worcester City Manager at midnight Sunday, will be publicly sworn in at 6 pm before the City Council meeting.

New Councilors Beginning their first terms on Council at Tuesday’s meeting are

  • Gary Rosen, District 5
  • Moe Bergman, At Large
  • Michael Gaffney, At Large

The first meeting of the year for the Worcester City Council is tomorrow night. As it is a new term, the Councilors will start the meeting by drawing for their seats, approving their rules, and voting to publish their rules.

On the agenda:

  • a request from a member of the public that commercial property owners get a tax deduction if they clear their own snow.
  • $1.4 million coming in from the EPA for brownfield clean ups
  • changes to CitySquare, including use of Parcel F for public open space (until it is built) and a change in the fee structure for the third permit fee of $1 million
  • as already mentioned by Nicole, the DPW is suggesting a dog park for Green Hill Park. If this is something you’re interested in, you’ll want to come and testify or get in touch with your councilors.
  •  new councilors filing orders: Rosen brings up PILOT again; all three new councilors on Tatnuck Square; Gaffney on other post employment benefits (OPEB); Bergman looking for more credit card parking meters, market rate housing downtown, and he joins Palmieri and Rivera on items on graffiti
  • Lukes is asking for clarification on the Open Meeting Law specifically on councilors communicating with each other and councilors spending time together socially.
  • Rivera and Palmieri also have the first of the annual shoveling items.