Lowell City Council Meeting: April 4, 2017

Council takes up a motion early:

Councilor Elliott – Request City Council recognize Peter Kostoulakos for his contributions to restoring Mayoral portraits at Lowell City Hall. He has restored many Mayoral portraits at no charge to the city. Mr. Kostoulakos thanks the council and explains that the project started several years ago with a newspaper article from a few years ago about some paintings that were in tough shape. He contacted the city and was invited in to assess a number of paintings and then gradually started restoring them.

Responses to Council Motions

Councilor Milinazzo moves that City Manager send a letter from the city to every member of the state’s Congressional delegation detailing the negative impact of proposed cuts on the city. Because it’s related, council takes up following motion at this time:

Councilor Elliott – Request City Manager provide a report regarding federal funding loss due to cuts noting the impact on staff as well as the number of people in the community affected by the cuts. Manager explains that Community Development Block Grants have been used to pay the rent for Senior Center, contribution to organizations like Angkor Dance Troupe, and to do street beautification projects.

Public Hearing

Amend Ordinance re Vehicles and Traffic. No public comment.

Finance Subcommittee Report (by Councilor Elliott): Discussed four items. (1) Net School Spending, city has exceeded requirement for past four years. This year, will exceed by $8mil. (2) Refunding of Bonds, good news, a policy of the administration to look at loan authorizations that have already been authorized but before they are actually financing, the city can refinance at a lower interest rate due to good bond rating. This saved $600,000 last year. (3) Management Letter of auditors. There were some outstanding items re monthly cash reconciliation. Now it will be automated on a Munis module. Otherwise, it’s a good report. (4) Method of Prop 2 ½ debt exclusion process for Lowell High, if that is chosen as funding mechanism. Subcommittee had a good discussion but there will be further discussion of it.

Motions

Councilor Elliott – Request City Council vote to place ballot referendum question on Lowell High School Building project and discuss question: Do you support funding Lowell High School Building project? Councilor Leary says the city has been working on a new high school for many years. Now is the time for the council to decide. Councilor Mercier says she doesn’t want to kick the can down the road; she’s ready to vote on it now. Several other councilors speak against this motion. Motion is defeated, 8 against, one in favor (C. Elliott).

Councilor Elliott – Request City Manager provide report regarding all tax delinquents in the City, and the potential for another lien auction

Councilor Leary – Request City Manager provide an update regarding the EDA sign off on the Hamilton Innovation District’s new bridge and infrastructure updates.

Councilor Leary – Request City Manager provide status of public records request pursuant to MGL Chapter 66 sect. 10 to City of Lowell requesting copies of any inspections and results for air quality annual inspections and hazardous abatement at Lowell High School.

Councilor Leahy – Request City Manager provide a report regarding condition of Willard Street between Humphry and Beacon Streets.

Councilor Leahy – Request City Manager provide a status report regarding construction on Lawrence Street Bridge.

Councilor Samaras – Request City Manager have Law Department outline procedures on eminent domain cases, to include all steps taken before and after proceedings.

Councilor Samaras – Request City Manager develop an outline which lists pros/cons to each school site to include an explanation of which steps need to be and are being taken to ameliorate any problems at the four chosen sites, ie. Article 97; bus costs/timeline; wetlands; sidewalks; traffic; and asbestos. Other councilors say they will support the motion, but don’t want it to delay the process. Councilor Milinazzo says he is all in favor of getting more information, but he says the at least four, maybe five councilors, have already ruled out Option 3 as a possibility even before all of this information is available. He says doing that is not acting in the best interest of the students.

Mayor Kennedy – Request City Manager take the necessary steps to have Swan Street repaved.

Mayor Kennedy – Request City Manager have the Parking Department look for a parking solution at the intersection of Eleventh Street and Beacon Street.

Meeting adjourns at 8:26 pm

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