Preview: City Council agenda (April 26)

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

  • TIFs: There’s an Economic Development meeting at 5pm. Beforehand, there will be a Worcester Community-Labor Coalition rally outside City Hall calling for “local hiring requirements” and other conditions to be a part of any future special tax breaks (TIFs) on property development.
  • 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.
  • Elm Park Pond Water: Stephen Oliver has a citizen asking that “water in Elm Park Pond be drained and replenished with fresh water.”
  • Rydberg Terrace: Benjamin Parker has a citizen petition asking this become a public road.
  • ATVs: Billy Breault has a request that there be a new law allowing the city to seize ATVs and “dirt bikes” being driven illegally. Last week, a guy was arrested for riding an ATV around Crystal Park.
  • A Portrait of Mike O’Brien: Bill Coleman has a citizen petition asking that the Council invite former City Manager O’Brien to present a portrait of himself for display in City Hall.
  • Tobacco: The Public Health Subcommittee wants the full Council to vote in favor of slightly expanding the city’s tobacco regulation. The proposal would allow the city to yank tobacco permits from anyone who sells to underaged people. (This in addition to existing penalties.)
  • Citywide Crime Watch: Councilor Mero-Carlson would like a report on whether the police could reinstate semi-annual citywide Crime Watch meetings.
  • Manager’s Agenda: The whole “section 9” part of the Council agenda, the City Manager’s part, was late being posted this week, but now it’s up. I assume it was not posted so late as to require being postponed till the next meeting.
  • Boards and Commissions: Jacob Poplaski will be appointed to the Worcester Arts Council; Matthew Wally to the Parks and Recreation Commission; and Nghia Le to the Elder Affairs Commission.
  • JROTC: The Law Department is back with an opinion as to whether the Council can discuss expanding JROTC programs in the schools. The answer is: it’s under the School Committee’s control, but that doesn’t mean they can’t discuss it, and doesn’t mean the Manager can’t talk to the Superintendent about it.
  • Large Capital Transfers: $200,000.00 from Sewer Construction loan account to Infiltration/Inflow; $360,000.00 from Parks Building Rehab. loan account to Parks Building Rehab; $200,000.00 from Sewer Construction loan account to Sewer System/Stormwater; $171,000.00 from Union Station Garage to Parking Garages – Improvements, “to allow for payment of current and anticipated obligations associated with an upgrade of the fire alarm system at the Major Taylor Garage”.
  • Large Grants and Donations: Will file for a $292,000 grant from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs; $200,000 firefighting grant from FEMA; $500,000 Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund Supplemental Grant from the EPA.
  • Lots of Budget Items: The Council meeting will recess to a Finance Committee meeting, which will discuss tax assessments, bond ratings, etc.
  • Budget Cuts?: The City Auditor has a report on possible budget cuts. If the city doesn’t increase property taxes (current proposal is to increase them 2.5%), there would be a $9 million deficit. The report notes this would mean cutting something like 150 city employees. Currently there are 1901 non-school employees. 281 are funded by non-property-tax sources; 219 are only partially funded by these taxes; the remaining 1401 are funded entirely by these taxes. The lowest staffing level in recent years was 1760 for the 2012 fiscal year.
  • Join the Library Board: Carolyn Noah has resigned her position on this board. Now’s the time to apply to be on this board.

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