Forty-eight hours late, but here is my report on Tuesday’s (relatively) short council meeting:
There were a number of reports from the city manager in response to council motions in this week’s packet. There was limited discussion on the reports and several were referred to subcommittees for future meetings.
Safe Zone Process: Police Chief Taylor explains that people in the community can come to the police station to meet customers in online transactions to ensure a safe place that is under observation by police to reduce the risk of someone getting ripped off in an e-commerce transaction.
Lead testing: There are two schools that require some work (a single room in the Butler and in the Stoklosa – each requires a new part for a faucet in two science labs and those parts should be installed shortly). All public schools were tested, there were a number not in compliance, but the city worked with them and they came into compliance. Forty schools were tested – all faucets and bubblers – and all but the two mentioned above are in compliance. This test is supposed to be done every five years, so the water department has worked with the school department to establish an on-going testing program.
FY2017 Tax Rate: City Manager reminds council that it voted back in May for a 1.5% increase in tax levy. The city then had to figure out how that money would be raised. Says the average residential tax bill went up $189. He cites the increase number of police officers and fire fighters, an additional $1mil invested in the public schools, all the paving, sidewalks, Lucy Larcom Park and other capital investments as wise and valuable investments in the city, all are being paid for by the increases in the taxes.
Technology Subcommittee Report: City’s new website will go live on January 5, 2017. It is intended to be a more user-friendly site that allows easier interaction between citizens and their government. There will also be a “Lowell Likes” section that will feature a calendar with cultural and community events.
Public Hearing on amendment to city ordinance on public nuisances. Fire and police chiefs but urge councilors to adopt this as a way of reducing multiple calls to chronic problem places that deprive the rest of the city of public safety resources when needed. Motion passes.
Councilor Leahy, request CM report on businesses coming into and leaving the city during the coming year. He says he’s looking for a forecast for the coming year.
Councilor Mercier, CM investigate ways to provide extra athletic space in the city (for private schools and entities) with a corresponding payment scale.
Councilor Samaras, ensure neighborhood groups are informed of all subcommittee and board meetings.
Councilors Samaras and Leary, request an update on status of Bridge Street renovations (would like it to have same curb appeal effort as was extended on Cupples Square extended to Bridge St).
Councilor Leary, request city establish a more consistent trash and recycling pickup time, especially during the holidays.
Councilor Leary, request the Dept of Parks repair and repoint the stone wall at Crowley Park (the water tower on Wedge St).