Lowell City Council Meeting: February 24, 2015

(I attended the Transportation Subcommittee meeting earlier Tuesday night and so was unable to watch this meeting live so I watched the LTC replay online on Saturday morning, Feb 28).

Vice Chair Leahy is chairing the meeting; Mayor Elliott is absent.

Council endorses the 2015 Open Space & Recreation Plan.  Congratulates DPD staff for excellent work.

Vote to transfer funds from Chapter 17 to city’s general stabilization fund.  Manager says “We have cured net school spending problem” and introduces Connor Baldwin to explain.  He says Lowell met its requirement in FY15.  The city slightly surpassed the requirement.  Part of Chapter 17, the reserve fund created in the early 1990s when the city was in financial difficulty, had been allocated to meet net42mil+) school spending.  Now, manager suggests transferring the balance of the Chapter 17 reserve fund (to the general stabilization fund.  This would give that fund in excess of $10mil, the largest ever.  Councilors speak in support, thanking the City Manager for assisting the schools.  Councilor Milinazzo also thanks the state delegation for repealing the requirements if Chapter 17 in 2014 legislative session.

Report on Transportation Subcommittee by Councilor Milinazzo.  Says pleased with turnout which was more than 50 people.  Told that Jackson St extension will begin work this spring.  Design work for Lord Overpass and Fletcher St or just beginning.  Many speakers emphasized need to make the area more walkable.  Says community outreach is very important, will be organized by DPD beginning in March.  There will also be a public hearing by Mass Dept of Transportation.

Public Hearing on loan order $6mil+ bond issuance for garage repairs to Leo Roy and Lower Locks garages.

Guns – I skipped the portion of the meeting in which a number of residents addressed the councilors regarding the city’s policy on gun permits.

Motion by Councilor Kennedy regarding possible reimbursement from state for some snow removal costs.  Says city only now eligible for about $400K in reimbursement when the city has spent $3.8mil already on snow removal with three weeks left in winter.  Wants City Manager to petition the governor and to work with the state delegation to seek some financial relief for the city.

Motion by Councilor Kennedy to join with neighboring communities to petition the state for financial relief for snow removal costs.  Says there is strength in numbers.  Councilors commend city’s DPW for fine work they have done in performing snow removal tasks this winter.

Meeting adjourns.