Monthly Archives: August 2018

Preview: City Council agenda (August 21)

The Worcester City Council meets Tuesday at 6:00pm. The agenda is here.

This week: Wu-Sox, weed, driveways.

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

  • Zoning: The Council will send to the planning board a request to change the zoning for part of 37 Fruit Street from residential to business, thus making all of 37 Fruit business.
  • Boards and Commissions: **Carl Foley will be reported to the Worcester Airport Advisory Committee; Frances Langille and Chizoma Nosike will be appointed to the Elder Affairs Commission; Azal Khaled will be appointed and Christian Escobar reappointed to the Conservation Commission; Jordan Berg Powers will be appointed to the Zoning Board of Appeals. The Council will vote on whether or not to reappoint Amanda Gregoire to the Advisory Committee on the Status of Women.
  • Allen Court Privatized: Allen Court will be removed from the official map and made a private street.
  • Murals: The Council will approve POW! WOW! putting up murals again this summer.
  • Blackstone River Bikeway: The Council will be approving construction of another $7million part of the bikeway, this time along McGrath Boulevard.
  • Can the City Set Hours for Weed Stores?: According to the city solicitor, yes, and in fact the city has previously done so.
  • Seriously, Stop Making Your Own Driveway, Don’t Make Me Come Over There: The city administration is coming up with an ordinance that will stop people making their own driveways, thus taking away chunks of street parking (or causing conflict between street parkers and the rogue driveways they are blocking).
  • Wu-Sox: The Manager has announced the general outlike of bringing the minor league baseball team in Pawtucket to Worcester, creating the Worcester Red Sox. I am still trying to absorb this complex deal. The Manager takes pains to stress that “I approached these negotiations guided by the fundamental principle that no existing city tax revenue would be used to fund the ballpark construction. I am pleased to say that, as a result of our negotiations, the project meets this principle.”
  • Council Procedure Changes: The Mayor would likw to change the Council Rules so that when an item comes before the Council, motions to ignore (file) the item would take precedence over any other motion related to the item, presumably making meetings move a bit faster.
  • Improvements to The Cage: Councilor Rivera would like to see better street lighting at the Fatty Jenkins Memorial Basketball Court.
  • More Bike Sharing: Councilor Rosen (natch) would like to see another bike sharing operation come to Worcester, “especially one that utilizes a docking system.”
  • Deer Crossing: Mayor Petty would like to see a “Deer Crossing” sign installed on McKeon Road.
  • Mount Carmel Update: Councilor Mero-Carlson would like to know the city administration’s opinion as to whether the Diocese of Worcester can actually sell the Our Lady of Mount Carmel church and surrounding property, or whether the original granting of the property would prohibit this. (I think, I might be confused about this item.)
  • Worcester Preservation Fund: Councilor Bergman would like there to be a line on your property tax bill where you can donate money to a Worcester Preservation Fund.

Worcester School Committee Thursday

Worcester School Committee meets Thursday, August 23, the same day that staff reports; school starts Monday in Worcester.
On the agenda:
Mr. O’Connell has a motion to reconsider adding genetics, military service, mental illness, and sexual harassment to the non-discrimination policy in the handbook. Since legal non-discrimination policies are tightly managed by the state, I’m not sure where this one is going.
There are recognitions (Congratulations, Mark Brophy!) and congratulations.
There are a series of responses to budgetary motions.
There are a series of responses–names and numbers–which don’t have public backups (do share!).
The strategic plan is back on; is this just a regular item now? I guess that means that anyone can show up and any meeting and address it.
Administration wants to change the Accountability subcommittee to “Standing Committee on School and Student Performance” (Is that better?)
The annual closing out the fiscal year (making account transfers) item is on, ‘though the backup is not.
Miss Biancheria is asking for an update on the Facilities Master Plan and on the accelerated repair projects. I’ll do a full post on this, but if the School Committee is doing its job, the city’s sudden ability to borrow millions of dollars for a minor league stadium when they haven’t had enough to do school maintenance ought to come up. Watch and see if it does. 
Mr. O’Connell wants JROTC to raise and lower the flag in Hope Cemetery.
Mr. Comparetto wants to add public comment to the agenda; wants to create a Public Policy Forum; and requests a report on site councils.
Administration is coming in with a proposed absentee policy which jumps right to truancy without working with parents or the community, written in language that, particularly in an immigrant community, is incredibly draconian.
There’s updates on policies (coming from MASC) on JFABE – Education Opportunities for Military Children;

JFABF – Education Opportunities for Children in Foster Care;

KI – Add the section on Outside Agencies in Schools; and adding “pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions” to the various non-discrimination policies.
It appears the dust-up in the home schooling community over the new leadership refusing plans and threatening families with truancy has reached the School Committee level, as there’s an item on that.
The Committee is being asked to approve the MAPLE grant for $47K for the three day MAPLE event (which I think already happened) and the Parent-Child Home Program) Family Child Care Quality Grant for $50K for early learning specialists to visit home child cares.

There are a series of prior fiscal year payments:

  • $2,330.58 to the MTA for the printing of the Unit A Collective Bargaining Agreement.
  • $29.98 for in-state travel reimbursement for a teacher.
  • $189.31 for in-state travel reimbursement for the Manager of Curriculum and Professional Learning.
  • $1,500.00 to the Grenier Company for services rendered in FY18.
  • $22,426.60 for the LIUNA Pension Fund.
  • $767.05 made payable to a teacher at Burncoat High School for a hotel reimbursement to attend the Advanced Placement Summer Institute which was held in Fairfax, VA in FY18.
There are a series of donations: 
– to support the Exhilarate Worcester Initiative at Woodland Academy:

– $875.00 from various donors
– $125.00 from Flying Dreams Brewing Co, Inc.
– $250.00 from Coghlin Services Fund
– $500.00 from Cornerstone Bank
– $500.00 from Bollus Lynch, LLC.
– $120.00 from Basil & Spice, LLC
– $100.00 from Engineering Design Services, Inc.
– $500.00 from Mackintire Insurance Agency
– $500.00 from Rigali Roofing and Exteriors
– $250.00 from Seder & Chandler, LLP
– $125.00 from Smokestack Urban Barbeque and
– $250.00 from Tierney & Dalton Assoc., Inc.
– $250.00 from WEDF to Burncoat Preparatory Elementary School
– $7,684.80 from Clark University to support the purchase of Chromebooks at Claremont Academy

There is an executive session at 6 for two negotiations, two grievances, three workers’ comp cases, deployment of security, and…

To discuss a potential lawsuit against the Commonwealth for the purpose of fully funding the State’s Foundation Formula Budget.