Preview: City Council agenda (December 13)

The Worcester City Council meets Tuesday at 7pm. The agenda is here.

This week: Property taxes, reservoir land, boards, and commissions. If you know of anyone else who’d like to get our weekly preview via email, the link is here.

  • Tax Rates: The discussion continues about what our 2017 tax rates for “residential, commercial, industrial and personal properties” will be. The Council has some control over this but many parameters are set by the state.
  • Surveillance Cameras: Ermal Krol is asking the city to install surveillance cameras at 75 Townsend St. to stop people dumping trash there.
  • Boards and Commissions: Jose Castillo and Samantha Fiakofi are being reappointed to the Worcester Arts Council; the Council will vote on whether to appoint ex-Councilor Barbara Haller to the License Commission, to reappoint Deborah Hall to the Advisory Committee on the Status of Women, to reappoint Robert Haddon and Joseph Wanat to the Zoning Board of Appeals, and to reappoint Vincent Pedone to Chair the Worcester Redevelopment Authority.
  • Dealing with Snow: As part of a previously-discussed revamping of the city’s snowplowing plans, the Council will vote to increase the pay rate for City employees when acting as “Snow Customer Service Representatives.”
  • More Watershed Land: The city is acquiring about 100 more acres of land in the watershed of our reservoirs. We’re paying the AMC $35,000 for 1.6 acres of land near Howard St, Anita Burque $85,00 for 58 acres, and $185,000 to David Nichols for 36.49 acres. (All of these are technically eminent domain “taking,” but all the participants are willing.)
  • Early Voting: This was the first election that allowed Worcesterites to vote early at polling places. 25% of votes were cast early.
  • More Tax Breaks for Seniors: The Manager is asking the Council to vote to double the property tax exemption available for certain residents older than 70, from $700 to $1400. He anticipates 411 Worcesterites would be eligible. (AFAIK this doubling is something which happened last year also.)
  • OPEB: The city reports that our liability for Other Post-Employment Benefits for retired city workers went up 10% in the previous fiscal year.
  • Street Changes: The Planning Board recommends the Council approve a petition from Craig Blais asking that part of Pond St be removed from the official map (as part of a development project).
  • Mount Carmel Next Week: Although it’s on this week’s agenda, the item about creating a “historic district” around Our Lady of Mount Carmel will be tabled till next week, as there’s so much finance stuff to discuss this week.

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