Lowell City Council Preview: March 4, 2019

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

This week’s City Council meeting agenda, although not lengthy, has two reports on financial matters dealing with the School Committee budget which should generate some discussion.

MOTION RESPONSES

Community Preservation Act Motion (February 26th) by Councilor V. Nuon “Request City Manager work with Middlesex North Register of Deeds, Richard Howe, Jr., to compile a report regarding amount of money paid to the Community Preservation Acts (CPA) by Lowell residents.”

Eric R. Eric Slagle, Director of Development Services, provided the Administration’s response.  In addition to emphasize the funds that have been paid to the Register of Deeds, he explained there is a State matching fund.   He detailed how a municipality can adopt the CPA, including exemptions, and how it needs to be managed.

Maryl Drive Motion (2/5/19) Transportation Subcommitee and Councilor K. Cirillo to exclude commercial traffic on Maryl Drive by way of establishing traffic ordinance to have the transportation engineer review the appropriate speed limit for Maryl Drive and incorporate that speed into a traffic ordinance to be strictly enforced.”

As some of you may recall, last year the traffic patterns of Maryl Drive was discussed by the Council at quite a few meetings.  It appears that we are approaching the final solution.  The Administration response from the DPD states “The Transportation Engineer initiated a 60-day trial for No Commercial Vehicles on Maryl Drive on July 24, 2019. No complaints or issues arose from that 60-day trial and the traffic ordinance was included on the quarterly memo dated February 12, 2019. City Council voted to approve the traffic ordinance on February 26, 2019. Signs will be replaced by the City’s Sign Department as soon as they are able, pending weather and ground conditions… The Transportation Engineer (Natasha Vance) recommends enacting a 60-day trial for a special speed regulation of 15 mph for Maryl Drive.”

School Contract Costs Motion (2/12/19) by J. Milinazzo “Request City Manager have the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) prepare a report highlighting costs associated with Salary and Wages for the School Department Budget for the last 2 Contract Periods (6 Years) including Teachers, Administrators, and Custodial Staff.”

CFO Conor Baldwin submitted the 3-page report which consists of a cover letter explaining the figures on page 2 and 3.  According to the report, in 2015, salaries totaled $107,094,704 and in 2018, they totaled $ 121,690,527.  That is an increase of $14,595,823 or 13.629%. For Fiscal 19 and 20, the total increase for the bargaining units, (these do not include the Administration, School Executives and Principals) is $4,864,459.

INFORMATIONAL REPORTS

School Department Bad Bill — Update on School Department bills from prior years. The memorandum (2/27/19) from CFO Conor Baldwin explains and reviews the events regarding “bad bills” from the School Department.

“Over the course of the past few months, the finance department has assisted the school department’s business office with support to investigate and process outstanding liabilities or, so-called ‘bad bills’.”

GFOA Budget Award: A memorandum  that the Government Finance Officers of the United States and Canada (GFOA) announced this past week that the City of Lowell has received the GFOA’s ‘Distinguished Budget Presentation Award’ for the FY2019 operating & capital budgets.

MOTIONS

Councilor J. Leahy Request City Manager forward School Committee report regarding school playground equipment to appropriate department to formulate a plan of action.

Councilor J. Leahy Request City Manager have Inspectional Services provide a report regarding Winter Shoveling Ordinance compliance and ticketing; as well as an additional report regarding Barrel Ordinance compliance.

Councilor J. Leahy Request City Manager have Transportation Engineer review the intersection at Monadnock Avenue and Raynor Street for possible 4 Way Stop Sign.

Councilor J. Leahy Request Mayor invite Robert Merrill to the Council Chamber to present to him a Citation honoring his recent life-saving efforts.

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