Monthly Archives: July 2015

Preview: City Council agenda (July 21)

The Worcester City Council meets Tuesday at 6pm. The agenda is here. The agenda is huge and full of controversy, so this week I’m adding the bare minimum of context.

  • Executive Session: There will be an Executive Session early on “to discuss pending litigation.” Either the councilors will leave the chamber or the audience will be asked to step out for a moment.
  • Needles: Ron Madnick has a request that the city start a pilot program for needle exchange (in accord with M.G.L. Chapter 111, section 215). Councilor Gaffney has six items on the agenda asking the city for detailed reports on needle-related items like drug overdoses and the spread of Hepatitis C through dirty needles.
  • Skate Parks: Tyler Kuhn has a request that the City Council create a Worcester Youth Park Skate Commission as part of getting some skate parks in the city.
  • Drug Dogs: “Patricia Sullivan requests City Council request City Manager to request the Police Chief to reconsider his decision not to accept a donation of a narcotic specific K-9.”
  • Street Sweeping: “Brittany Remillard requests the opportunity to speak before City Council regarding better ways to notify residents when street sweeping will take place.”
  • Youth Violence: Bill Coleman has an item asking the City Manager to talk about how the city is working to reduce youth violence. (There have been a spate of shootings and murders this summer.) The Manager will indeed be speaking on this; his report is here. Councilor Gaffney has an item also asking for this information, as well as for “emergency funds” for the police to deal with this.
  • PARCC: Bill Coleman requests there be a non-binding balance question on whether there should be a moratorium on PARCC testing. School Committee Member Tracy Novick has a short blog post explaining this item.
  • Murals: A couple items that the Council will approve as part of the process of getting new murals at 104 Pleasant Street (The Raven) and 2 Southbridge Street.
  • Crowdsourcing: The Manager has a report on Worcester + crowdsourcing. You can now offer your 2 cents on the city website. First issue: food trucks.
  • Dog Parks: There are a ton of items on getting a legit dog part in Worcester.
  • Tennis: The Committee on Youth, Parks, and Recreation wants a report on “the cost for making the tennis courts at Morgan Landing Park, Newton Square and Institute Park playable.”
  • Mosaic: Mosaic Cultural Complex is an organization that has, among other things, sponsored meetings related to the #blacklivesmatter movement and the 5-minute civil disobedience in Kelley Square earlier this year. They’ve also received grants from the city, and there are allegations that they have not been properly organized as a non-profit, and questions about how they spent those grants. Councilors Rosen and Gaffney have an item asking the city to audit Mosaic. This T&G article [$] has just enough information to make me even more confused about Mosaic’s status.
  • Rectangular Fields: Councilor Rosen has an item regarding getting more soccer fields (“rectangular fields”) in the city.
  • Dumping at Donation Sites: Councilors Gaffney and Rosen have another joint item asking if the city can end the “proliferation of charity donations bins, many of which are magnets for illegal dumping of garbage and trash around them.”
  • Tasers: Councilor Lukes has another item asking about tasers, the protocol for their use, and what sort of training is happening.
  • City Councilors and Lobbying: I don’t know what this item from Councilor Lukes is about: “Request the City Council’s Standing Committee on Rules and Legislative Affairs develop a protocol and include this in the revised City Council rules regarding the appearance and advocacy by a member of the City Council on proposed legislation or regulations before a state or federal governmental body.”
  • Drones: Councilor Lukes again has a drone item, this time asking the city about regulating “the use of drones in the proximity of the airport.” Councilor Toomey has an item asking for more clarification on drone regulation.
  • Making Private Streets Public: On the agenda are Aroostook Street, Beaver Brook Parkway, Bergin Lane, High Ridge Road, Monmouth Avenue, Valley View Lane, Norton Street, and Botany Bay Road.
  • Castle Park -> Institute Park: There is the usual litany of routine finance items. I wanted to include this one in the agenda preview because it is interesting: “That the sum of Two Hundred Thousand Dollars And No Cents ($200,000.00) from the Loan Order authorized by the City Council on June 10, 2014 and appropriated to Account #91C784J, Castle Park, to fund improvements associated with Castle Park, is hereby rescinded in its entirety; and be it further ordered: That the sum of Two Hundred Thousand Dollars and No Cents ($200,000.00) be appropriated to Account #91C784AE, Institute Park, to fund improvements associated with Institute Park.”
  • Changes in Employee Contracts: Lots of items related to the latest multi-year agreements on city employee wages and benefits. For example: “Amend the Salary Ordinance of August 20, 1996 relative to members of DPW Clerks Bargaining Unit (Local 170, Teamsters).”

Preview: Economic Development committee agenda (July 21)

The Worcester City Council Economic Development Committee meets Tuesday at 4pm, in the third-floor Esther Howland Chamber of Worcester City Hall. Their agenda is all about “plans to improve the business climate for food truck operators.” If you care about this, you might like to speak at this meeting.

They’ll also consider the “quarterly update report of economic development initiatives.”