Monthly Archives: July 2016

Preview: City Council agenda (July 19)

The Worcester City Council meets Tuesday at 6pm. The agenda is here.

This week: Pokémon Go, conservation, the Neighborhood Response Team. If you know of anyone else who’d like to get our weekly preview via email, the link is here.

  • Pokémon Go: Councilor Lukes has an item asking if we can use Pokémon Go “as a teaching tool regarding current public events and city historical monuments and buildings,” and also asking if there are “negative and dangerous aspects of the game and whether police oversight is required.”
  • Public and Private Streets: Carole Edwards et al request Hooper St. from Catharine St. to Mount Vernon St. be made public; Tony Bahnan requests the Council reconsider their decision to deny the request to make Luther Ave. public; the Council will officially make public Barrett Ave., Candlewood St., Hilma St., Navasota Ave., West Chester St., Wescott St., and Willow St.; the Planning Board recommends the Council make Bangor St. public, and revert part of Bergin Lane to be private.
  • Library Board: The Council will at long last be electing someone to fill the vacancy on the Library Board of Directors.
  • UMass Walking Paths: UMass Memorial Health Care would like to create walking paths at the Memorial and Hahneman campuses “some of which are actually city property.”
  • “To Keep the Constitutional Oath”: Rich Aucoin and Susan Serpa would like the Council to reiterate their intent to keep their oath to the Constitution.
  • Boards and Commissions: Njeri Gichohi will be appointed to the Elder Affairs Commission, and Michael Crompton to the Memorial Auditorium Board of Trustees.
  • Thoreau’s Seat: The Greater Worcester Land Trust (with help from the Paxton Conservation Commission) is buying 98 acres on Asnebumskit Hill in Paxton. The Council will vote to aquire a conservation restriction on 78 acres of Asnebumskit Hill to protect our drinking water and continue to build the belt of protected lands in and around the city.
  • Neighborhood Response Team: The Manager has a report on the 8-person Worcester Police Department Neighborhood Response Team. “…the overriding objective of the NRT is comprehensive and substantive problem resolution. Officers will identify problems in neighborhoods by seeking information and feedback from residents, business owners and Neighborhood Watch Groups. They will maximize their efforts by utilizing data from the departments Crime Analysis Unit to pinpoint patterns of crime in the city. The NRT has been in effect since June 26, 2016. Since its inception the NRT has focused on the lower Pleasant Street area between Oxford Street and Winslow Street and lower Main South to include Oread, King and Benefit Street neighborhoods. Officers have made 62 arrests for various quality of life issues including drug dealing, drug possession, drinking in public, trespassing and warrants.” (Another part of the report claims 20 arrests…)
  • Off-Highway Vehicle Task Force: For several weeks now the WPD has had some police focused on people driving off-road vehicles around our streets. According to a report this week, they’ve made 6 arrests, written 55 city ordinance violations, and confiscated 48 bikes and four wheelers, finding that most of the off-highway vehicles they’ve looked into are either unregistered or stolen.
  • LED Streetlights: The city will soon replace a bunch of streetlights with LED fixtures. If this goes well, we’ll replace them all. Payback time is 11 years. After that, the city expects they will save us about $1 million a year. They are planned to last 30 years.
  • Downtown Roller Rink?: The Parks and Rec Committee wants the Manager to report if we can make the Oval behind City Hall a roller rink for the fall.
  • Submission of Profane Material: Councilor King has an item asking that we revise the Council rules so that no “council member, municipal employee, and or member of the public at large” can submit anything to the Council “that is profane, contains slurs, or hate speech…there is no place for such material in the official record of the City of Worcester.”
  • Outsourcing the Parks: Councilor Lukes has an item asking for a pilot program to outsource “maintenance of a large city park.”
  • Six-Figure Capital Transfers:
    • $170,000.00 between Watershed Land Acquisition accounts.
    • $309,778.74 between Parks Capital Equipment accounts.
  • Six-Figure Grants and Donations:
    • $200,000.00 from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for Improvements to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
    • $156,937.00 from the Department of Justice.
    • Acceptance of the gift of murals from the Worcester Natural History Society d/b/a EcoTarium, and an order to accept a temporary easement for 321 Main Street.
    • U.S. Department of Labor’s Disability Employment Initiative VII Cooperative Agreements Grant for a maximum award of $2.5 million.
    • Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Grant in the amount of One Million Dollars And No Cents ($1,000,000.00).
  • Six-Figure Operational Transfers:
    • $953,326.00 for the Off-Street Program for the First Quarter of Fiscal Year 2017.
    • $6,636,036.36 from various General Fund, Enterprise/Special Revenue Accounts, and Capital accounts, and be appropriated to various General Fund, Enterprise/Special Revenue Accounts, and Capital accounts to make adjustments to City accounts to balance the Fiscal Year 2016 budget.
  • Six-Figure Loan Orders:
    • $9,316,000.00 to fund four building improvement projects of the Worcester Public Schools.