Preview: City Council agenda (March 3)

The Worcester City Council meets Tuesday, March 3, 7pm. The agenda is here. This week: the triage center, Net Neutrality, Holy Cross tax-exempt land.

  • Elections: Tuesday is the first day to “pull papers” to run for Worcester City Council or the School Committee. We’ll be tracking details of this year’s election here.
  • Economic development: The quarterly economic development report will be presented. This quarter: construction of the Gardner Kilby Hammond Bike Path; design work for the Worcester Blackstone Visitor Center; capital improvement plan for Union Station; and “relocation of Cogmedix, a wholly owned subsidiary of Coghlin Companies, Inc., to 17 Briden Street in Worcester. The company provides manufacturing and engineering services to medical and dental equipment companies”.
  • Triage center: There are several items regarding the homeless shelter on Queen Street. It has been operating way above capacity this winter: as many as 120 people staying in what should be a 40-person shelter. Also, a man died in a private room there earlier this year, and it was days before his body was discovered. The Public Health and Human Services committee is asking the city to make a plan for a second shelter run by a different agency.
  • Net neutrality: the Federal Communications Commission adopted strong net neutrality rules last week. This week, Councilor Lukes has this item: “Request City Manager communicate with Charter Communications regarding how the FCC’s new net neutrality Regulations will impact on programming and costs to the Worcester ratepayers.” Cable monopolies have been against net neutrality; it will be interesting to see Charter’s claims here.
  • Taxing Holy Cross land: Councilor Rosen is asking the city to start taxing Holy Cross College for 2 “long-time vacant but developable parcels” of land, saying that “they are not being occupied for charitable use and, therefore, are not an integral part of the college’s operations.” The local group AWARE thinks taxes on the parcels would be $48,000 annually. It’s worth noting that several Worcester colleges have PILOT deals with the city, where they pay a little money to the city. These agreements have a clause that says that if the city tries to hit them up for tax money on any of their properties, the PILOT agreement goes out the window. Holy Cross gives some money to the Worcester Public Library, but that is not a PILOT deal.
  • Cleaning the slate: There are ongoing efforts to see to it that City Council items are dealt with in a timely manner. This week, there are a ton of old agenda items that will be officially resolved, by “filing” them without any further action. These include items originally proposed by former Councilors Bill Eddy, Mike Germain, Joff Smith, and Paul Clancy.

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