The Worcester City Council meets Tuesday at 6pm. The agenda is here. The agenda is huge but much of it is routine. Be sure to note the item about goose-chasing Canadian drones.
Note that if you want to vote in the Sept 9 Preliminary Election, you must register by August 19. You can register with this PDF form or just go to the Elections window on the second floor of City Hall.
- Physical Layout: Gadfly-of-gadflies Jo Hart has an item requesting that the City Manager “delineate the physical layout of the manager’s entire staff” so they will be easier for the public to find.
- Appointments: Anthony Pignataro has been appointed a Constable; Izaida Gonzalez to the Human Rights Commission; Thomas Cullinane, Theresa Eckstrom, Christopher Evans, and Ursula Hanus reappointed to the Elder Affairs Commission; Christopher Rodwill reappointed to the Memorial Auditorium Board of Trustees; Randolph Bloom, Robyn Conroy, Andrew Shveda, and Karl Bjork reappointed to the Historical Commission; and Nicholas Cuba reappointed to the Off Street Parking Board.
- More Appointments: The Council must vote to approve the reappointment of Jennifer Madson to the Advisory Board on the Status of Women; the reappointment of Peter McKone to the Conservation Commission.
- Mobile Food Truck Pilot Program: The Manager recommends an ordinance that would establish three Food Truck Friendly Zones, which would be active Fridays and Saturdays through November. These would be adjacent to the Common, Elm Park, and Institute Park. Food trucks have been controversial for years now, though not much seen since the last ordinances regulated many of them out of existence.
- HUD: There’s a report on the City’s paying a $3.4 million fine to the U.S. Department of Housing and Economic Development for not complying with HUD grant regulations.
- Keep Worcester Clean: The City’s KWC program has a report on efforts made to keep Worcester clean in May and June. May: 249 sites cleaned, 34 tons of trash removed, 10 citations issued. June: 203 sites cleaned, 35 tons of trash removed, 14 citations issued.
- Tasers: Last month a man went on a “rampage” in a Worcester market, was tased by police, and died. The Worcester Police Department has a report this week saying that they have 48 Tasers (model X26P), that every officer gets 8 hours of Taser training and is retrained 4 times a year, that officers have tased people 60 times since 2007, and have brandished Tasers without using them 36 times.
- Crime Stats: According to a report to the Council, our crime stats are pretty good, with the obvious exception of the surge in shootings this summer.
- Patch Pond Dam: The Council will be voting to accept a $1 million grant from the state to replace this dam.
- Openings on Boards and Commissions: There’s an item noting that there are lots of openings in City boards and commissions, including the Advisory Committee on the Status of Women, Citizen Advisory Council, Commission on Disability, Conservation Commission, Elder Affairs Commission, GAR Memorial Hall Board of Trustees, Historical Commission, Hope Cemetery Board, Memorial Auditorium Board of Trustees, Planning Board, Worcester Arts Council, and the Worcester Housing Authority. These are a great way to take your involvement in public life to the next level.
- Keeping Nonprofits and Churches Out of Residential Zones: The Council’s Committee on Rules and Legislative Affairs has an item asking the Manager for a report on “enacting legislation to regulate and restrict use by non-profit organizations for religious or educational purposes in residentially zoned districts.”
- Police Resources: Councilor Lukes has an item asking for the State police to get involved in our gang violence problem. The Mayor and the Chief have both come out against this idea; the State Police already meet regularly with Worcester law enforcement to collaborate on these kinds of things. There has been some back and forth in the media over this idea. We will be getting more police in both the short-term and long-term, however. I can’t figure out if there is anything about this on the Council agenda, but the Manager has approved keeping 18 “Summer Impact Program” officers on the street even after the summer, and increasing “the upcoming recruit class from 23 to 35.”
- Food: Councilors Gaffney, Lukes, and Rivera have an item asking the Worcester Public Schools to donate their excess food (that has not been served) to the St. John’s Food Pantry. This is one of those “Why isn’t this on the School Committee Agenda?” items. If you haven’t stopped by St. John’s Food for the Poor, it is a great spot.
- Day Shelter: Councilor Rivera has another item asking for an update on Worcester’s homelessness efforts and “specifically concerning the progress to initiate a day shelter plan.”
- More TIFs: Councilor Palmieri has an item asking for the City to be able to give tax breaks (TIFs) “to owners of small multi-family properties to allow them the benefit of enhancing their properties without the immediate burden of increased property taxes.”
- #GaryRosenIsBackBaby: Councilor Rosen has an item asking the City to use a goose-chasing “dive-bombing drone” to chase away our many Canada geese. He cites the GooseBuster used in Ottawa. I like the GooseBuster website. “I am the first and only company in Canada to be registered to chase geese using a remote controlled aircraft.”
- Merging Police and Fire: Councilor Lukes has an item asking the Manager to investigate merging the police and fire departments “into a single department of public safety.”
- Greenwood Street Landfill Solar Project: There’s a little paperwork item regarding this 5.6MW solar project. It’s still moving forward.