Lowell City Council Preview: May 29, 2018

Mimi Parseghian provides a preview of tonight’s Lowell City Council meeting:

The City Manager’s section of the Agenda dominates this week’s City Council Meeting. It is mostly in preparation for the submittal of the FY 2019 Budget. It is essential information; not just for policy wonks but for all of us. There is a lot of information.  We will need to see the FY 2019 budget compared to the FY 2018 budget to completely understand the adjustments.

GENERAL PUBLIC HEARINGS

The public hearing agenda begins at 7:00 p.m. If there are large number of members of the public who address the City Council, these hearings could be lengthy. Marijuana sales and single-use plastic bags are the main topic of these hearings.

Ordinance: Amend Chapter 270 Creating a New Section Prohibiting Single-Use Plastic Bags.

Ordinance: Amend Chapter 150 Regarding Fines Relative to Prohibition of Plastic Bags and Consumption of Marijuana.

Ordinance: Amend Chapter 222, Peace and Good Order by Prohibiting the Consumption of Marijuana in Public.

Ordinance: Amend Chapter 290 Entitled Zoning by Extending Existing INST Zoning District to Include All of 39 Plymouth Street.

COMMUNICATIONS FROM CITY MANAGER

There are only 2 items under this Communications from City Manager

Marijuana Businesses: The memorandum written by R. Eric Slagle, Director of Development Services states that a presentation will be made to the City Council. It will cover “Map of the City showing available zones for Marijuana Facilities; Process and preferences for obtaining a Host Community Agreement; Basic outline of the process before the Cannabis Control Commission; Highlights of the requirements laid out in the Host Community Agreement template that the City has prepared.

West Street Flood Pump Station. This memorandum was also written by R. Eric Slagle, Director of Development Services requests “that he the West Street Flood Pump Station Project, Army Corp. of Engineer’s recertification of the city’s flood mitigation system and FEMA flood plain map revision be referred to the Environmental 8L Flood Issues Sub Committee.”

VOTES FROM THE CITY MANAGER

Manager requests standard votes in preparation for acceptance of FY 2019 budget; the initial public meeting will take place in 2 weeks, June 12th.

The proposed budget will be in the amount of $361,582,581.00, “which sum shall be appropriated and raised by taxation and other sources, including but not limited to intergovernmental revenue…The City of Lowell enterprise funds may have insufficient (my emphasis) operating revenues to fund all expenditures of the funds in fiscal year 2019.” The enterprise funds include water/sewer and parking.

The Administration is also presenting a Five Year Capital Improvement Plan (FY 2019 – FY 2023). “…recommendation of $1.35 million in paving, sidewalks, and curbing to be included in this capital plan request to the City Council. This is in addition to the $1.85 million appropriated by the Commonwealth through Chapter 90 for a total of $3.2 million in FY 2019.”

“The basic criteria for a project to be included in the capital plan have remained unchanged. A project must cost at least $25,000 and it must have a useful life of a least five years.  The project itself can be an improvement to land, buildings or infrastructure, or it can be for vehicles or equipment. We have waived the $25,000 requirement for vehicles, since we often need many at one time. We have excluded police cruisers from the capital since cruisers only have a life of two to three years.  We must to replace so many cruisers on an annual basis that they are more appropriate for the operating and/or grant budgets.”

ORDERS FROM THE CITY MANAGER

The first order is a Loan Order in the amount of $9,903,391 for various capital improvements which are listed in the document.

The second order is for a loan for the Hamilton Canal garage construction.  The sum of the requested loan $35,400,000 “for the purpose of financing the construction of a parking garage and any related architectural and engineering services and site work in connection therewith…”

Both orders require 2/3 vote to pass.

ORDINANCE FROM THE CITY MANAGER

The first two ordinances request a new Sewer Rate and a new Water Rate. There is also an ordinance for   new parking rates.

CITY COUNCIL MOTIONS

Councilors R. Elliott and J. Leahy: Requested City Manager report on the status on funding for Turnout Gear for the Lowell Fire Department.

Councilors R. Elliott and J. Leahy: Requested City Manager provide a report regarding the status of the installation of Washer Ejector Units in Fire House.

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