Monthly Archives: March 2016

Preview: City Council agenda (March 22)

The Worcester City Council meets Tuesday at 7pm. The agenda is here. This week: Food trucks, mattress recycling. If you know of anyone else who’d like to get our weekly preview via email, the link is here.

  • Boards and Commissions: Expected appointment of Shirley Konneh to the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee; Lindsey Silva to the Commission on Disabilities; Jose Ramos to the Worcester Housing Authority; Donna Connolly to the Advisory Committee on the Status of Women.
  • Food Trucks: A few years back the Council adopted new regulations on food trucks that drove several of them out of the city. Now there’s a proposal before the Council to allow the City Manager to designate “food truck friendly zones” where it would be easier to operate food trucks.
  • Federal Grants: The Council will be approving a bunch of “funding recommendations” relating to HUD Community Development Block Grants, Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG), HOME Investment Partnership Program, and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS.
  • Hazardous Waste Disposal Day: Worcester residents will have the opportunity to get rid of hazardous waste properly on Saturday, April 23, 2016. More info.
  • Street Sweeping: Street sweeping will start in April and continue through July. The schedule will be posted online and signs will be put up warning people when & where to not park. Keep your eyes open.
  • Open Meeting Law: Can City Councilors spontaneously sign on as co-sponsors to a Council Order during a meeting? The city’s Law Department says yes.
  • Six-Figure Finance “Transfer” Items: $132,990.40 from Capital Equipment Technical Services to Technical Services Capital Equipment; $1,912,250.38 from Building Rehabilitation City & Schools to Citywide/Schools Energy Improvements for energy-related projects; $250,000.00 from Park Improvements – Worcester Common to Worcester Common for work relating to the war memorials; $400,000.00 from Elm Park Improvements to Elm Park and $250,000.00 from Citywide Building Remodel to Elm Park for park improvements; $475,000.00 from Park Improvements – Hope Cemetery to Hope Cemetery for cemetary improvements; $100,000.00 from Water Meters Replacement to Capital Water Meters Program; $100,000.00 from Sewer Pumping Rehab to Sewer Pumping Station Capital Program; $100,000.00 from Water Pumping Stations to Water Pumping Rehab; $500,000.00 from Sewer Reconstruction to Sewer Reconstruction; $200,000.00 from Park Improvements – Shore Park to Shore Park.
  • Grant Applications: Green Communities grant from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs for $250,000.00; Commonwealth Corporation’s YouthWorks 2016 Summer Jobs for Youth Placed at Risk Program for $662,972.00; Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s Mattress Recycling Initiative grant for $174,000.00.
  • Union Negotiations: The Council will go into “executive session” “to discuss matters regarding collective bargaining.”
  • Planning Board Items: These will likely be sent to subcommittees—if you care about them, you should look up the relevant subcommittee meetings. Request to clean up zoning discrepancies at 128 Chandler St (near Piedmont); request to make part of Market St no longer a public street (this is off Major Taylor between Police Headquarters and the DCU Center, Google Maps doesn’t even label this street); request to modify the official map for a teeny piece of land off Summer St where a hotel is planned; request to modify the map for a small area off Sherman St; request to remove part of Pitt St as a public street.
  • American Legion Parcel Rezoning: The Council is expected to approve rezoning of part of the old American Legion property at 1023 Main Street, so the parking lot will no longer be “residential.”

Preview: City Council agenda (March 15)

The Worcester City Council meets Tuesday at 7pm. The agenda is here. This week: Spoiled food, taxes. Pretty short. If you know of anyone else who’d like to get our weekly preview via email, the link is here.

  • Spoiled Food: Bill Coleman has a citizen petition asking that the city “encourage citizens to properly discard expired food as they begin Spring cleaning in their homes.”
  • Dover Amendment: Councilor Bergman would like would like the city to seek special exemptions from the Dover Amendment, which “exempts agricultural, religious, and educational corporations from certain zoning restrictions.” This week’s he’s asking the city’s law department for their opinion on “regulating non-profit social service agency day uses in a proposed Dover Exclusion Home Rule Petition.”
  • Budget Scenarios: Councilor Gaffney would like the City Manager to draft more than one budget proposal this year, for various possible tax levels.
  • OPEB: Councilor Lukes wants a report from the City Manager about transforming our fund for retiree health insurance etc “into an irrevocable trust.”
  • Portable Speed Bumps: Councilor Bergman would like the city to try a pilot program using “portable rubber speed bumps” to stop people speeding on certain streets.
  • Welcome to Worcester: Councilor Bergman wasnt the city to make sure there are “Entering Worcester” signs at all entrances to the city.
  • EM Employees: Councilor Gaffney has an item asking how many “Executive Management” level employees in the Public Health Division don’t live in the city.

Preview: City Council agenda (March 8)

The Worcester City Council meets Tuesday at 7pm. The agenda is here. This week’s agenda has many items on finance. If you know of anyone else who’d like to get our weekly preview via email, the link is here.

  • Boards and Commissions: Sean Lauziere will be reappointed to the Human Rights Commission; Meg Mulhern and George Sedares will be reappointed to the Parks and Recreation Commission.
  • WCUW Mural: The Council will authorize an easement so a mural can be installed on WCUW’s building (910 Main St).
  • Six-Figure Capital Transfers: $150,000.00 Loan Account for Street Construction to DPW Account for Private Street Construction; $197,191.00 from DCU Special District to Civic Center Equipment; $750,000.00 from Loan Account for Street Resurfacing to DPW Account for Street Resurfacing
  • Other Six-Figure Finance Items: $990,841.50 transferred to fund the Off-Street Program.
  • Marijuana Dispensaries: More paperwork. This is moving forward but slowly.
  • $15 Minimum Wage: The Economic Development Committee is asking the City Manager for a report on whether requiring companies that get city tax breaks for development (TIFs) to pay their workers at least $15/hr will discourage such development.
  • Handball: Councilor Rosen has an item asking the Parks Committee to improve city handball facilities.
  • Sponsorship: Councilor Russell wants to know if a Councilor can speak up during a meeting and ask to be made a co-sponsor of an item under discussion. (The last year or so the Council has been forced to be more strict about having tons of people co-sponsor an item before the meeting; mass co-sponsorship would imply discussion between lots of Councilors outside a public meeting, something they are not supposed to do.)
  • Recycling Barrels: Councilor Gaffney asks if we could use larger, covered recycling containers. I still haven’t seen the results of our pilot program letting people put out recycling in clear bags (an idea I love).
  • Snowplow Reports: Councilor Lukes asks if, when we have a “snow removal event,” the Manager can post a report online outlining “the technology used,” the cost in time and money, and the decision-making process used.
  • Private Streets: The Public Works Committee wants to deny two requests to make private streets public, regarding Stanley Road an Beaman Avenue.