Preview: City Council agenda (April 24)

The Worcester City Council meets Tuesday at 6:30pm. The agenda is here.

This week: Affordable housing, health centers, Bill Coleman.

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

  • Free Dog Licenses for the Elderly: Kathryn Hagan has a citizen petition asking the city to waive the dog license fee for people over the age of 65. Currently the fee is waived for those over 70.
  • Fatty Jenkins Court AKA The Cage: There was a big neighborhood meeting a couple weeks back, at which it was agreed that the city should take steps to clean up, and possibly even relocate, the basketball court on Hawley St off Pleasant St. This week, Councilor Rivera has the first mention I’ve seen of this in the public record, asking there to be “No Parking Anytime” signs installed in front of the court.
  • Raising Taxes for Affordable Housing: A group is asking the city to approve an extra 1.5% property tax to fund more open space, recreational land, and “community housing” (which I guess is affordable housing?). If we did this, the state would give us an extra 16%. To do this, it would have to be approved by a ballot measure. The T&G reports this would generate like $2.5 million in extra taxes.
  • Closing Our Community Health Centers: There’s a report to the Council on how things will go with UMass Memorial closing Plumley Village Health Services, which has something like 1,000 active patients. Councilor King has an item asking UMass Memorial and Community Healthlink to reconsider their decision to close the children’s mental health facility Burncoat Family Center.
  • Bill Coleman’s Giant Mosaic of the City Seal: The Economic Development Committee is interested enough in Bill Coleman’s idea that they’d like a report from the city administration on what it would take to make it happen.
  • Airbnb: Councilor King would like a report on how recent state legislation regarding state and local taxes on Airbnb will be implemented in Worcester.
  • Are Our Yellow Bags Worse?: Councilor Rosen wants a report on whether city trash bags are worse than they used to be. (They are definitely different.)
  • Let’s Not Expand the Library: Councilor Rosen wants a report on how much taxpayers would save if we put the $8 million expansion and renovation of the main library “on hold.”
  • Summer Youth Bus Passes: Councilor Rivera would like to know how things worked out with our summer 2017 program issuing unlimited ride passes to people ages 8-24, and if it will happen again this summer.
  • Unrelated Occupants: Councilor Russell would like to know if we can let landlords with RG-5 apartments apply for a special permit to allow more than 3 unrelated persons live in a unit.
  • Vintage Streetcars: Councilor Rose has an item asking if we could create a mile-long “trolley or street car system.” The T&G clarifies this would be more about making a bus look cool than actually installing train tracks.
  • These Kids on Their Bikes: Councilor Rivera has an item asking how things are going with various groups working with the police “to approach” the problem of kids on bikes doing crazy stuff.
  • Public and Private Streets: Andrey Rudenko wants the private street Gardner Terrace to be made public. The Public Works Committee (and the Planning Board) recommends that the Council turn down Ninonzka Garcia’s request for the private portion of Welcome St. to be made public.

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