Preview: City Council agenda (November 10)

The Worcester City Council meets Tuesday at 7pm. The agenda is here. There is so much stuff.

  • Election: One non-agenda item to start. The upshot of last week’s Council election was that Palmieri and Rushton chose not to run for re-election, and were replaced by Candy Mero-Carlson (D2) and Khrystian King (At-Large). King barely inched out Juan Gomez for the final Council seat. Gomez will be officially asking for a re-count (and alleging some election irregularities). The last time there was a citywide recount, the 2011 School Committee race, candidate vote totals changed as much as 171 votes. Note that Moe Bergman, #5 in the Council race, only barely beat King. So it’s equally plausible that Gomez, King, or Bergman will be the one out.
  • Panhandling: Another non-agenda item. Today a US District Court judge found Worcester’s 2013 anti-panhandling laws unconstitutional.
  • Percent: This week only, I want to note the % of ballots each Councilor got last week.
  • Expansion of the Green Hill Park Golf Course: People who are opposed to this expansion are organizing a presence at this meeting. This doesn’t much change how many acres are under a conservation restriction, just which acres those are. Councilor Economou (55% in his district) has an item asking if this expansion makes financial sense.
  • Signs and Cameras: Councilor Rivera (61% in her district) has items asking for “Neighborhood Crime Watch signs in the area of Hollis and Gardner Sts.,” surveillance cameras in the Winslow Street Park, and signs noting the presence of those cameras.
  • Parking Payment: Casey McHugh has a petition asking for better payment options (smartphone, etc) for the Shrewsbury St. parking lot for Union Station.
  • Public Street: Mahmoud Soheili Arshadi requests that Soheili Circle be made a public street.
  • The Mill Street Dig: Councilor Rosen (71% in his district) is asking that Mill Street, which is all dug up, be restored by Spring 2016.
  • Proportional Representation: Bill Coleman (24%) has an item asking if we can have proportional voting in Worcester, like they do in Cambridge. Bill also has an item asking the City Manager to make his 2016 State of the City address a big, public event.
  • Andrew Haswell Green: Rev. John Griffin has an item asking for us to have an annual October 6 remembrance of Andrew Haswell Green, the Worcester native who was “the Father of Greater New York.”
  • Boards and Commissions: Sean Lauziere has been appointed to the Human Rights Commission; the Council will vote on the appointment of Henry Fields to the Conservation Commission; the Council will vote on the appointments of Maureen Carlos, Patrick Hare, Greta Kenney, Aivi Nguyen, Kathleen Rentsch, Lily Vandyk, and Florette Willis to the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee.
  • Transportation Improvement Projects: The Council will be receiving reports on planned road and sidewalk contruction along and near Lincoln St, Main Street, and Shore Drive.
  • Trash and Recycling for Condos: The Commissioner of Public Works has a report on the Council’s suggestion that the City not only do trash and recycling pickup for people in houses and small apartment buildings, but also for the big ones we don’t currently support. He notes that the cost of Worcester “yellow bags” only funds half the cost of pickup, and that adding these complexes would cost the City $125/unit.
  • More Nicotine Regulation: The City Law Department is ok with Worcester expanding cigarette ordinances to include e-cigarettes, and to generally expand no-smoking zones.
  • Opiate Epidemic: There will be a presentation on Worcester’s response so far.
  • Refugee Resettlement Process: You will remember a couple weeks back that Councilor Lukes (40%) asked questions about the process of resettling refugees in Worcester. This week, the City reports that there are quarterly meetings between the local refugee resettlement agencies, City officials, community group leaders, and people from the colleges. There aren’t details of which community groups are involved, or how you could sit in on these meetings.
  • Taxes: The value of taxable Worcester property is up 0.58% over last year. Next year’s tax rates will be set at a Nov 24 meeting.
  • WSU Parking Plan: Councilor Rosen asks for a comprehensive data-driven traffic and parking study for the Worcester State University and Chandler Magnet School neighborhood.”
  • Getting Plowed In: Councilor Bergman (36%) has an item asking if we can somehow communicate “the timing of snowplowing routes to avoid getting ‘plowed in’.”
  • Rules Geekery: Councilor Bergman requests “a legal opinion as to authority for any councilor(s) to request items held in committee to be brought forward and whether or not (Worcester Home Rule Charter: Section 2-6 (c)(ii) (Exercise of Powers; Quorum) is/are applicable.”
  • Six-Digit Finance Items: $504,522.00 transferred from Police Capital Equipment to Police Equipment; $146,728.09 transferred from Technical Service Capital Equipment to DPSD Capital Equipment; $2,250,000.00 transferred from Building Rehabilitation City & Schools to Citywide/Schools Energy Improvements; $200,000.00 from Dam Rehabilitation to Dam Safety; $300,000.00 from Sewer/Interceptor to Sewers/Interceptor Inspection; $150,000.00 from Traffic Signal Equipment to Traffic Signals; $213,820.00 from the Sewer Capital Equipment loan account to Sewer Capital Equipment; $112,999.65 from Parks Capital Equipment to Parks Equipment, “to allow for the purchase and future payment of approved FY16 Capital Equipment.”