Preview: City Council agenda (September 19)

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

This week: Boards and commissions, marijuana, panhandling, sober houses.

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  • Public and Private Streets: Robin Read requests part of St. Marks Rd. be made a public street. Paul Blanchard Jr requests another part of the road be removed as an official road and deeded to him.
  • Boards and Commissions: Councilor Gaffney has been delaying all board and commission appointments by an extra week, as is his right as councilor. So the following are on this week’s agenda but will likely not be officially happen till next week’s meeting. Jim Knowlton will be reappointed to the Civic Center Commission, and Paul Foley and Patrick Maloney will be appointed to the Trust Funds Commission. The Council will vote as to whether to reappoint Shirley Konneh and Aivi Nguyen to the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee.
  • Senior Housing: Previously, Councilor Bergman asked if the Council could approve tax exemptions for property improvements made to add housing for senior relatives of the property owner. This week, the City Solicitor reports that it would be pretty straightforward to approve property tax exemptions for approx $25,000 of improvements, and that this wouldn’t cut the city’s tax revenues too much.
  • Marijuana Regulations: The Manager will report to the Council about his recommendations on regulating marijuana stores in the city. This will include a bunch of licensing restrictions and a 3% city tax. The T&G has more.
  • Raising Revenue: The Council will vote on whether the Manager should go forward with exploring all the options for increasing revenue recommended by the Mayor’s Tax Policy Committee last year. These include things like getting the state to reimburse us for our providing regional social services, and paying us more in lieu of taxes for the various state-owned properties in the city.
  • Panhandling: Are you kidding me? There is no issue on which the Council has screwed up so thoroughly in recent years, from legislative process through to execution through to getting the city’s ass sued, as they have in their attempts to crack down on people begging money on street corners. Councilor Rosen attempts to run an electric charge through the world’s crappiest Frankenstein monster again this week with an agenda item asking the Mayor “to appoint a task force” on the issue.
  • Amazon: Councilor Lukes asks the Manager to work with the surrounding towns to submit a proposal on behalf of the region for Amazon to build a second HQ here.
  • Sober Houses: Councilor Lukes has a couple items asking if the city can have its own set of regulations on “sober houses.” Here’s an old T&G article on the issue. I’ve never lived next to or in a sober house, but I’ve heard a hundred horror stories from people living in badly managed sober houses. I am a little skeptical that the City Council would do a better job than the state legislature in drafting regulations around this. Who knows.

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