City Council Preview: January 21, 2019

Mimi Parseghian previews tomorrow night’s Lowell City Council meeting:

This week City Council Agenda begins with City Auditor Bryan Berry’s Year to Date (July – December) Budget Report. The 35-page report should generate questions of explanation and assessment.

The Administration’s portion of the agenda has four Motion Responses, including a report on Councilor Vesna Nuon’s motion regarding the establishment of an advisory group for the Hamilton Canal garage. In the Communication portion of the agenda, there is an update on Lowell High School Construction Project.

MOTION RESPONSE

Paris Accord Motion (12/11/18) by Councilor Karen Cirillo “Request City Manager provide an update to the City Council regarding what mechanisms that the City has put in place to uphold our commitment to the emission reductions of the Paris Agreement.”

Based on the response provided by Katherine Moses, Energy Manager, there was confusion in some Social Media circles regarding this motion when it was made.  “In response to the withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, many local, state, and private entities began signing onto the ‘We Are Still In’ initiative, which affirmed support of the essence of the agreement. In August 2017, the Lowell City Council unanimously voted to adopt a letter from the Lowell Sustainability Council asking the Mayor to join with other cities and towns in honoring this commitment.

“Simultaneously, City Council unanimously voted for a resolution to express support for the goal of using 100% clean and renewable energy in Lowell by 2035. With these votes, the City signed onto the “We Are Still In” initiative with the climate action commitment of: ‘Work with energy utilities to increase renewable energy provided to residents and businesses’.”

In effect Councilor Cirillo was asking for an update on a motion that was unanimously approved prior to election.  The response includes a 20-page report prepared by Ms. Moses titled “City of Lowell Road to 100% Renewable Energy — FY2018.”

Energy Savings Performance Contract Motion (12/4/18) by Councilor Ed Kennedy “Request City Manager consider entering an Energy Savings Performance Agreement aimed at reducing energy costs in all school and municipal buildings and using those savings to pay for capital improvements and repairs.”  The reply, prepared by Katherine Moses, Energy Manager, focused on the Ameresco project.

“Unless the City would like to amend Ameresco’s contract, it would not be possible to do another large-scale ESPC. However, under MGL Chapter 44, Section 53E 1/2, communities can set up a revolving fund for the purpose of energy efficient capital improvements and repairs. This fund could utilize seed money from net metering credit revenues, utility rebates, and appropriation for a portion of utility bill savings in order to continue to invest in energy-saving initiatives.”

CTI Presentation Motion (10/30/18) by Councilor R. Elliott and Councilor R. Mercier “Request City Council have Community Teamwork present program being implemented to address youth homelessness in the City.”

The response was prepared by Diane Tradd, Assistant City Manager, DPD Director.  She indicated that there are additional provisions planned such as shifting traffic to other garages; park and ride option; meetings with stake holders, including many of the ones listed in the original motion. She also mentioned that the City has received interest from a private party to build a garage on a parcel of land adjacent to the Judicial Center.

 INFORMATIONAL

Lowell High School Project Update I assume staff from Perkins Eastman, the architects for the High School will be there to present the 28-page graphic report and answer any questions.  The report is well designed, easy to read and follow.  Based on the designs, the campus is going to uplift downtown.  It is a beautiful design. The 21st century building will contrast nicely with the 19th century buildings, City Hall and the Library.

MOTIONS

There are some interesting motions touching upon new areas.  In his Sunday post, Dick had a great analysis on Councilor David Conway’s voting structure motion.  Chris Lisinsky of the Lowell Sun had a lengthy article on the same subject.  Both pieces not only provided opinion and analysis but also data.

Councilor R. Mercier “Request State Senator and State Representatives revisit the State’s Bullying Policy, Chapter 71, Section 370, to amend the section which does not allow the perpetrators fate to be disclosed to the victims’ parents.”

Councilor D. Conway Request “City Council Solicit the opinion, through a ballot question, of the voters of the City of Lowell on whether they want to maintain the City of Lowell’s present Municipal Election Representation or direct the City to develop a new Municipal Election Representation for the City.”

Councilor K. Cirillo “Request City Manager work with the LRTA to incorporate a Courtesy Button Program which will provide buttons for our elderly, disabled and pregnant riders, to allow them to have priority seating on the bus.

Councilor K. Cirillo “Request City Manager have the proper department review the, “Age Friendly Boston Action Plan 2017” and provide a report to the City Council as to preparing an “Elderly Friendly Lowell Action Plan” for achieving a more elderly-friendly Lowell.

Councilor J. Leahy “Request City Manager report to City Council regarding a plan to reorganize the Department of Public Works and the Parks Department.

Councilor E. Kennedy “Request City Manager instruct Department of Planning and Development to provide City Council with a report regarding all pending and potential economic development projects going on in the City currently.

Mayor B Samaras “Request City Manager have proper department look into the installation of a bus shelter at the LRTA stop on Broadway Street near the Lowell Senior Center.

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