Monthly Archives: June 2015

Preview: City Council agenda (June 30)

The Worcester City Council meets Tuesday at 7pm. The agenda is here. This week: the Council evaluates the City Manager. Presumably they will decide he is doing a great job. Some other items before the Council are noted below. This week at the Federal level, the US Supreme Court expressed some concern with Worcester’s 2013 anti-begging ordinances.

Also: There will be a prayer vigil for Charleston before the meeting at 6pm outside City Hall.

  • Board and Commissions: Thomas Dillon will be appointed to the Zoning Board of Appeals.
  • Private and Public Streets: The Committee on Public Works recommends the Council make Wescott St., from Paris Ave. to Scandinavia Ave. a public street.
  • Common WWII Memorial: The Council will be approving improvements and enhancements to the World War II Memorial behind City Hall. Pictures below.
  • Report on City TV Funds: This item was tabled last week—perhaps it will be discussed this week.

Continue reading Preview: City Council agenda (June 30)

Preview: City Council agenda (June 23)

The Worcester City Council meets Tuesday at 7pm. The agenda is here. This week: the capital budget. Specifics on the capital budget are at the bottom of this post.

The rest of the agenda:

  • City TV Stations: The Auditor was asked for an analysis of the funds for the Public, Educational, and Government TV channels. He provides this report this week, including some details on how and why the Government Channel has $1,000,000 in reserves.
  • Tax Breaks: There are some items regarding Tax Incentive Financing for the project building a giant industrial building at 150 Blackstone River Road in Quinsig Village. The T&G has more.
  • Foreclosures: Some changes will be made to the city Ordinances Relative to Vacant and Foreclosing Properties.
  • Boards and Commissions: Ariel Lim will be appointed to the Community Development Advisory Committee.
  • Food Trucks: The City plans to make it easier to operate food trucks in Worcester. The T&G has more.
  • Murals: The city is expected to approve 3 new spots for murals, the Raven (256 Pleasant St), 19 McKeon Road, and 50 Water St. The T&G has more.
  • City Manager Evaluation: The Council will be evaluating City Manager Ed Augustus on June 30. This week, he has a 50-page report to the Council on what he’s done and how Worcester is doing.

The Capital Budget: First note that the capital budget is here and totals $76 million for FY16. The Council will actually vote it as a series of loan orders at the end of the agenda.

Capital budget highlights:

  • Two new fire engines (replacing 9 and 15), totalling $930,000 (with half coming from non-municipal sources)
  • funding to make water fountains at the DCU accessible ($9,600) and to replace the stage lift ($12,000) plus a new commercial popcorn popper ($12,000)
  • multiple new dump trucks (ranging from a 5 ton truck for $170,000 to 1 ton for $55,000) for DPW, all with plows
  • a new cell room wagon ($59,000) for WPD along with $30,000 in forensic unit equipment ($30,000) a universal film scanner ($14,000) and 7 marked ($275,000) and 5 unmarked ($170,000) cruisers
  • an ADA compliant check out station for the library ($20,000) plus new sound systems for the Banx and Saxe rooms ($42,000)
  • upgrading the internet platform ($135,000) and the city wifi ($45,000)
  • a deck grinder (a big wood chipper) ($250,000), a catch basin cleaner ($210,000), and a compressor/vacuum truck ($125,000)
  • $100,000 for new lab equipment for the water treatment plant
  • 1st, 3rd, and 4th floor renovations for City Hall ($140,000)
  • repaving the Senior Center parking lot ($225,000)
  • $500,000 added to $1,000,000 in funding from elsewhere for the Wayfinding Initiative
  • $1 million for abatement for the old Courthouse (plus $3 million from elsewhere)
  • $45,000 to upgrade the entry way vestibule roof for Technical Services
  • $140,000 for the WRA urban renewal plan
  • $6.4 million in street resurfacing (of which $4 million from state funds)
  • $3.2 million for downtown sidewalks
  • funding to begin Nelson Place construction ($2.3 million plus $9.2 million from the state) and plan South High ($150,000 plus $600,000 from the state)
  • $315,000 for technology upgrades for schools (leveraging $5.1 million in federal funds)

Preview: City Council agenda (June 16)

The Worcester City Council meets Tuesday at 7pm. The agenda is here. This week: traffic, needles, TIFs.

  • Youth Voting: Bill Coleman (City Council candidate) has an item asking that the Council have a non-binding survey question on the ballot: “Should 17 year old American citizens be allowed to vote in local municipal elections? Yes or No.”
  • #BlackLivesMatter: Coleman also asks the City to “consider dropping all charges against four demonstrators who obstructed traffic at Kelley Square as an olive branch to diffuse tensions in our community regarding race and public protest.”
  • Green Hill Golf Course: Councilor Lukes has an item (which the Council will presumably approve) asking for a report on what it would take to lease the Green Hill golf course to a private management company.
  • Evaluating the Clerk and Auditor: Councilor Lukes has an item (which the Council will presumably approve) asking that the Municipal Operations Committee have an annual evaluation of the City Clerk and City Auditor. (I am surprised this doesn’t already happen.)
  • Keeping Trees Alive: Councilor Economou has an item (which the Council will presumably approve) asking if the City can do a better job watering public shade trees rather than having them die and then having to buy new ones.
  • Scavenging Bottles: Councilor Russell has an item (which the Council will presumably approve) asking if the Council can create a new law to keep people from digging through curbside recycling bins looking for bottles etc.
  • Traffic Enforcement: The Traffic and Parking Committee has asked for speeding surveillance or enforcement at Drummond Ave., Holden St. near Lansing Ave., at the corner of West Chester St. and Barrett Ave., on Olean St. between the hours of 6:00 A.M. to 9 A.M. and 4:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. weekdays, and for unregistered vehicles in the vicinity of Stockton St. from Vernon St. to Fairbanks St.
  • Police and Elm Park Prep: Councilor Rivera requests “an enforcement sweep of the Elm Park Prep area.”
  • Dirty Needles: Councilors Rosen and Gaffney ask the City Manager for 2 reports, one on drug use at the library and other public buildings, the other about whether needle disposal boxes in the library bathroom are working.
  • Senior Citizen Tax Breaks: Councilor Bergman has an item asking the City include, in quarterly tax bill mailings, info about real estate tax credits available to those over 65.
  • Dog Park: Councilor Palmieri has an item asking about turning park of Boynton Park into a dog park. (It’s currently a de facto dog park but not a legitimate one.)
  • Tax Incentive Financing: Councilor Russell has an item asking for a new process around how TIF applications are processed.
  • Retiree Benefit Report: There are several items regarding pensions and other benefits for retired city employees, including a detailed report.
  • E-Cigs: The Manager has an item asking the Council to pass new anti-nicotine laws, including one requiring retailers to post signage warning customers “that nicotine refills are poison.”