Monthly Archives: February 2014

Worcester City Council meeting preview (Feb 25, 2014)

The City Council meets Tuesday, February 25 at 7 pm. The agenda is here. Here are some items that jumped out at me.

  • Finding a new, permanent City Manager: The Municipal Operations Committee has approved a plan. It’s now before the full City Council. There would be finalists by the end of May, and a Manager by the end of September. Community groups would have an opportunity to meet with the finalists. The T&G has more.
  • Medical marijuana: Famous/infamous activist Billy Breault has an item asking the City Manager to investigate Good Chemistry, a company that the state has approved to open a medical marijuana store in Worcester. The store will be on 9 Harrison St, between Green and Water, and might open in December. They’re also authorized to build a grow house at 6 Pullman St. Councilor Lukes has an item requesting a “report on ownership and status for siting of Medical Marijuana entities in Worcester and any community outreach and meetings held regarding the siting.” The T&G has some good background.
  • SWIP: The decades’-long saga of trying to get something built at the South Worcester Industrial Park continues. The Economic Development Committee wants the city to develop and economic development plan for the area, which would then mean the city could negotiate directly with people interested in buying parcels, rather than going through a public bidding process. Nicole has all the background on SWIP you could want. Here is a video of the area in question.
  • Snow: Councilor Rivera wants people to have to clear crosswalk entrances of snow, like they have to clear their sidewalks. Councilor Lukes and Rosen want a report on how the city’s “snow account” is doing.
  • Zoning: Councilor Bergman continues to focus on zoning changes, this week asking if the Parks Department can “when making public park improvements, to follow the City of Worcester Zoning Ordinance, Article V-Site Plan Review, requiring the planting of trees at 20 -25 foot intervals.”
  • Free Public Wifi: Councilor Bergman also wants a report on whether the city could have free wifi.
  • Changes at the Board of Health: The City Manager wants it to be a regulatory, rather than advisory, board. Councilor Gaffney plans to slow down that process and ask for there to be public meetings on the issue. The T&G has more.

Worcester City Council meeting preview (Feb 11, 2014)

The City Council meets Tuesday, February 11 at 7 pm. The agenda is here. Here are some items that jumped out at me.

  • Prostitution: The Health and Human Services committee is asking the City Manager to “consider assigning the outreach position being created to deal with the issues of prostitution, to work with the public health structure of the administration rather than with the economic development hierarchy.”
  • Dog crap: Also from Health and Human Services–“Request City Manager consider requesting the Worcester County Sheriff to assist the City of Worcester with identifying solutions to the problems associated with domestic animals defecating in public areas including the creation of appropriate signage.” This has never been a noticeable part of my Worcester experience. Maybe I hang out in the wrong parts of town.
  • Transparency: Councilor Russell will ask that when Municipal Operations meetings are held places other than City Hall, that they still be broadcast and webcast.
  • Mayor salary raise?: Councilor Gaffney is asking that the Council un-table the proposal to give the mayor a raise. The T&G has more.
  • City Manager search: Councilor Lukes has several items regarding the search for a new, permanent City Manager. She’s asking that the city’s 2008 process for finding a new schools superintendent be a model. She’s also asking that the city hire a professional search firm.
  • Graffiti crackdown: Councilor Bergman would like a graffiti crackdown, possibly including “loss of driving license
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  • Dumpsters: Councilor Rivera would like an ordinance to prevent people from having dumpsters in their front yards.
  • Flashing sign: The Traffic and Parking committee would like to see a “rectangular rapid flashing beacon pedestrian actuated traffic signal on High Street at the entrance to the Denholm’s Building.”

CANCELLED (First Public Meeting on City Manager search – Feb 13)

This listening

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sesh is cancelled.

The city has announced that the first of five listening sessions for the city manager search will be held Thursday:

Municipal Operations Committee Meeting
Thursday, February 13, 2014
6:00 pm
Worcester Senior Center
128 Providence Street

Nicole Apostola has more.

Worcester City Council meeting preview (Feb 4, 2014)

The City Council meets Tuesday, February 4 at 7 pm. The agenda is here. Here are some

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items that jumped out at me. There’s also some finance stuff.

  • Banning circus animals: This was tabled, then “tabled under privilege,” but this week should be under discussion. The City Manager sent a report to the Council outlining concerns about, among other things, the legality of the proposed ban, and the economic impact of keeping big circuses out of town (an estimated $1.5 million per year.)
  • Report on the Worcester Redevelopment Authority: Another small chapter in ongoing revitalization of the WRA. The City Manager has a report on “the Operating Expenses, Revenue and City Tax Levy Support for all Properties Under the Control of the WRA for the Past Three Years”.
  • Smart Grid: National Grid wants to do a “Smart Grid” pilot in Worcester. Some are concerned that details of power use would be sent to the utility every 15 minutes. Others are concerned that the electricity meter will send this communication wirelessly, and that this wireless signal will hurt people’s health. This will be discussed at a March 17 Zoning Board of Appeals meeting. At this Council meeting, the City Manager will present a report on the matter. The City doesn’t seem concerned about health impacts. (I haven’t seen anything that convinces me the health impacts are a valid concern.) I am having trouble with the City’s website and can’t figure out if privacy issues are addressed in the report.
  • Medical Marijuana Dispensaries: The company “Good Chemistry” “who has identified property locations at 9 Harrison Street and 6 Pullman Street” has received a license from the state of open a marijuana dispensary in Worcester.
  • Water Bill Auto-Pay: This isn’t on the agenda, but readers of this preview will be interested to know there’s an online petition relating to City business. Petitioners (including myself) would like the City to allow people to automatically pay their water bills, rather than having to login to the website etc each time. Will any Councilor bring this up this week? I will be on the edge of my seat.

Preview: Worcester School Committee (Feb 6)

All three of the main functions of the School Committee happening on Thursday night! You can find the agenda here.

Note also: no executive session on Thursday. 

Worcester city board and commission vacancies

Nicole Apostola has the

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highlights.