Monthly Archives: October 2014

Preview: City Council agenda (October 28)

The City Council meets Tuesday, October 28 at 7 P.M. The agenda is here. Short agenda this week.

  • Agendas: Scott Ricker has a citizen petition asking that Boards and Commissions include supporting materials (“correspondence, charts, maps, graphs and/or plans”) with their agendas. This would definitely be a help in writing some of these meeting previews.
  • Heroin Overdoses: Billy Breault is asking the Council and Manager to work with law enforcement to pursue “more aggressive sentencing” towards those who distribute “heroin which results in an individual’s death.”
  • Lightower Fiber Networks: There are a couple of routine items on the agenda regarding this company doing some conduit work. Someone wrote in asking if they were new in town. I believe they have had some presence in the city for years now, and have a presence in the collocation building downtown. For example, here’s a T&G article on one of their projects in 2012.
  • Grants and Transfers: There are a variety of routine finance items on large grants. There’s a $400,000 “assessment grant” “from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Brownfields Program”, and $2,975,000.00 in old Community Development Block Grants the city is rushing to spend (on a firetruck, a bike path, and some housing).
  • Ebola: The City has a Ebola plan. It is nothing out of the ordinary, but the curious can read it here.
  • Elderly Tax Exemptions: The Council is expected to vote to establish a tax exemption for the elderly that would be expected to save 438 of “our most financially
    challenged elderly homeowners” more than $603,000 in property taxes.
  • Youth and Gang Violence: Recently the Council received a report on what the police were doing about a surge of gang violence. This week, the Council will receive an assessment and plan for dealing with youth and gang violence, prepared by a team from Clark University. It is here. In addition, the Main South CDC recently received a grant of almost a million dollars for community safety projects.

Two school finance meetings on Tuesday

Crossposted from Tracy’s blog.

Quick post to make sure you do know that there are two finance meetings on Tuesday.

  • There is a joint meeting of the City Council Education subcommittee meeting with the School Committee Finance and Operations subcommittee. This is at 5:30 pm in the Levi Lincoln chamber (north chamber) of City Hall. The agenda for that is here. Largely, budget updates, facilities updates, and a bit on transportation.
  • Following that meeting, there will be the first quarter meeting of the Finance and Operations subcommittee. It is posted for 6:30 that night, but it will start after that if the preceeding meeting runs long. Note that it is at our usual location on the fourth floor of the Durkin Administration Building. The agenda for that is here. We’re closing out FY14, looking at the first quarter of FY15, considering transporation bid specs, talking about ads on buses and repaired gym floors, and getting an update on playgrounds. PLUS there’s some really important numbers in those special education estimates AND the significant work of the foundation commission is up for conversation. Those last two are really important stuff moving forward!

As always, they are public!

Preview: City Council agenda (October 21)

The City Council meets Tuesday, October 21 at 7 P.M. The agenda is here. Short agenda this week.

  • Private/Public Streets: Petitions will me made to make Stanley Rd. and Beamon Ave. public (rather than private) streets.
  • Tobacco: There are several items proposing that the city’s tobacco ordinances be made tougher and enforced better.
  • Sexual Exploitation: The Council’s Public Health Committee proposes that the Commissioner of Public Health assign an outreach worker to attend neighborhood meetings on sexual exploitation.
  • Volunteering In Lieu Of Taxes: Councilor Rosen has an item asking if the City can have a program wherein senior citizens volunteer for the city “in exchange for a reduction in their property taxes.”
  • An Oath: So many people have emailed me about this one. Councilor Gaffney has an item asking if the Council and Committees can “require an oath or affirmation to provide truthful information.” There’s no other detail about this on the agenda.
  • Grants: Councilor Gaffney also has an item asking that the City Manager include “grant requirements with all reports or requests relative to grants.” This is already done by the School Committee, and presumably would make sense for the Manager/Council to start doing it too.
  • Cable Matters, Part 1: There are at least a couple of things going on with our city cable TV system. First, the current company, Charter, is planning to hand off its contract with the city to Comcast, who are a notoriously bad cable company. Last week, the Council surprised me by taking a stand against the handoff. The Law Department said this was within Charter’s rights under the current contract. The Manager said he’d talk to Comcast, and Comcast agreed to delay things for a couple weeks so maybe they could come up with an agreement to avoid bad blood between them and city government. This week, the Public Service Committee wants the full council to “go on record in opposition to the merger of Comcast Corporation with Time Warner Corporation.” (This merger is the reason Charter would transfer the contract to Comcast.)
  • Cable Matters, Part 2: The other thing going on with our cable is that Charter is moving to an all-digital system, and planning to move our public access channel (and a couple others) to entirely new numbers way up the dial. The Manager has responded with a strongly-worded letter asking them not to move the channels.

Preview: City Council agenda (October 14)

The City Council meets Tuesday, October 14 at 7 P.M. The agenda is here. Pretty short agenda this week.

  • Newly-public streets: People are petitioning for Firglade St. and Davis Way from Lake Ave to #13 David Way to become public streets.
  • Low bridge: About 20 trucks have hit the low Cambridge Street railroad bridge so far this year. The Department of Public Works suggests we install a height-clearance curtain to warn trucks.
  • Gun violence: There have been some gang-related shootings recently, and the police have responded with a wave of arrests. This week the chief has submitted a report to the Council outlining the shooting and gang problems. 35 people have been shot this year, we have 18 gangs with 700 members. The police make a special note in the report that ShotSpotter and Real Time Crime Center technology has been helpful in resolving these cases.
  • Climate Action Plan: An update on our Climate Action Plan is packed with facts. Within 15 months, solar cells on municipal buildings will soon generate 2.2 million KWh/yr, enough power for 500 homes.
  • Cable: There may be a discussion of proposals relating to our switching our city cable service from Charter to Comcast.

Preview: City Council agenda (October 7)

The City Council meets Tuesday, October 7 at 7 P.M. The agenda is here. Pretty short agenda this week.

  • Cable: There are several items relating to the impending change of our cable company from Charter to Comcast. A lot of this discussion has been happening in the Public Service committee, but if this is an issue you’re working on it’s probably worth attending this meeting because these items are finally coming before the full Council.
  • What Is Art?: A number of murals have been painted in the city in recent months. Councilor Russell has an item raising concerns that some murals should be considered “signs” and fall under the city Sign Ordinance. The wording of this item is lovely, as others have noted: Request City Manager provide interpretation and recommendations to the City Council concerning commercial wall murals and/or signs addressing the following questions: At what point is art considered a sign? Is a sign not a sign just because it is painted directly on a structure? Are there rules in place that address this or do we need to consider a new ordinance? Further, request City Manager include in this discussion the painting of portions of exteriors in bright or fluorescent colors as part of signage’s attraction.
  • Ebola: Councilor Lukes has a followup to her previous item on ebola: Request City Manager report on any updating of rapid responses to confirmed illnesses caused by ebola and EV-D68.
  • Cable Access: I’m going to mention Wednesday’s Public Service and Transportation Committee meeting here. It’s 4pm at City Hall. WCCA TV13, our cable access station, is mobilizing its membership against impending changes to our cable system that will move WCCA from channel 13, its longtime home to channel 113. This is part of Charter phasing out analog service.