Preview: City Council agenda (March 7)

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

This week: Recycling, zoning. If you know of anyone else who’d like to get our weekly preview via email, the link is here.

  • Zoning: Tuyen Nguyen has a request to rezone 110 Lovell St from “limited business” to “limited residential.” This will be sent to the zoning board.
  • Public and Private Sts: Mark DeMauro has a request request to make part of Garrison Ave public.
  • What’s Attracting Businesses?: The Economic Development Committee is requesting reports from the City Manager about whether tax breaks for “bio manufacturing” have brought business to Worcester, and whether reducing the sewer connection fee has done something similar.
  • Psychiatric Capacity: Councilor Rivera is requesting details on “the current number of psychiatric beds that are available at area hospitals” and what impact may result if “Umass Memorial Medical Center closes 13 psychiatric beds.”
  • CSX Trucks: Councilor Russell is requesting a 30-day action plan for dealing with increased truck traffic due to the CSX terminal expansion. It seems like there’s an item about this every month, I’m not sure why new items are being submitted.
  • New Recycling Ideas: The city has been trying a pilot program where, instead of putting out your recycling in lidless bins, you use clear trash bags (a la NYC). Councilor Rosen, calling this pilot “highly successful,” asks if we can make these bags available citywide, suggesting that if we only pick up recycling every other week we’ll save enough money to make the clear bags available free. Councilor Rosen further asks if we can keep track of days that might be really windy, and delay recycling a day to skip those days (when the trash blows all around). I am curious how people would be informed of “wind days” in advance.
  • Public Displays of Health Inspection Reports: Citing Council votes from 2013 and 2014, Councilor Lukes asks if the city can require restaurants to post their health inspection reports.
  • The Past Five Years: Mayor Petty has an item asking for “a report concerning the last five plus years of investments in parks, playgrounds, school improvements, streets/sidewalk repair, and any other major neighborhood improvements.” I don’t know what larger issue this is concerning.
  • …And Justice for All: Councilor King has an item asking the Council to “hereby reaffirm the values of inclusion, respect and justice for all of its community members.”
  • Other Post-Employment Benefits: The Research Bureau has a report noting that while we’ve set aside money to fund 62% of our city employee pension liabilities, we’ve only funded 1% of our $860 million “OPEB” liabilities (healthcare etc.). The report further notes that most local towns are doing a terrible job of this as well. We do have more OPEB liabilities than other municipalities as a percentage of total property value.
  • More Murals?: The Economic Development Committee has considered a request from Bill Coleman for locals “to create a cityscape mural on city walls on Walpole St” and wants a report from the Manager on this.

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