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.

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