Lowell City Council Meeting: May 3, 2016
Order of taking and acceptance of Dowling Drive and Cresta Drive. Passes 8 to 0 with one present.
Order of taking and acceptance of portion of Suffolk Street. Passes 9 – 0.
Fact Finding Mission for special event marketing. Director of Providence Water Fire is willing to come visit Lowell to offer some suggestions for marketing events.
Informational: Small Business Month. Allison Lamey, economic development director, briefs the council on activities during the month. Month-long series of workshops on export rules, legal requirements, and health insurance. Also tours of business districts.
FY17 Sewer Rate – It’s time to start paying back federal loans that were used on combined sewer overflow work. City Manager Murphy recommends this be referred to the finance subcommittee for a presentation on the city’s plan to raise the money to make the payments. This will include an increase in the sewer rate that will have an impact on the FY17 budget so the sooner the council discusses it, the better.
Fire Dept overtime – $100,000 transfer to cover sick time buyback due to retirements. There’s much better management of overtime costs this year. Also 12 new firefighters graduated from the academy this week and 3 graduated a few weeks ago. (The money is from the salary account, which had surplus due to the retirements). Transfer passes.
Motion (taken out of order) By Councilor Elliott – Request city manager contact Lowell Memorial Auditorium board of trustees and Greater Lowell Veterans Council regarding Vietnam Veterans Fundraiser at Auditorium. Motion passes.
Councilor Leahy gives a report on this trip to Washington for Third District Day. He heard remarks from several members of Congress, the military, the executive branch, and others. He says the day focused on collaboration between levels of government as the best way to get things done. He said he spoke briefly with some of the members of Congress but he was unable to set up any meetings with officials in Washington.
By Councilor Mercier – request city manager have proper department create a new berm list for people whose berms were chopped by the plow. Council engages in a discussion about how to hold snow plow contractors responsible for damage they do. Doing that might cause them to be more careful while plowing.
By Councilor Elliott – Request city manager work to begin test of drinking water in all Lowell schools and apply for state funds recently designated for testing for lead. Elliott says he is not concerned about Lowell’s water quality, but since the funds are available, we should take advantage of them and do the testing.
By Councilor Elliott – Request city manager explore the costs and feasibility of installing banners in the downtown as a streetscape as well as exploring possibility of private funding for hardware and banners. Manager Murphy says there is $50,000 left in the city’s joint marketing campaign with UMass Lowell and they hope to spend them on banners. There will be a presentation for the city council at a future meeting.
By Councilors Belanger & Samaras – Request city manager provide a report regarding all contractual obligations for parking spaces in city garages. Councilor Belanger says he and Councilor Samaras surveyed businesses on Merrimack St. He said they heard many positive things, like the police working to reduce loitering by young people. But there were also complaints about parking, especially with a few businesses that have customers who stay for more than two hours (the max on a parking meter). The problem with this is that the garages are often full. Belanger would like an accounting of all agreements and contracts for use of spaces in city garages. Councilor Samaras adds the business people praised the efforts to keep the city clean. Regarding the garages, he suggests we need an assessment of how we are using the garages and how we should be using garages. Councilor Leahy says that he has noticed school department employees parking curbside and then continuously feeding the meter. City Manager Murphy says they are looking at moving school department employees from the Market Street garage to the Ayotte Garage to make spaces at Market Street available for customers of downtown businesses.
By Councilors Leary & Leahy – Request city manager examine the traffic and pedestrian patterns on Chelmsford St and develop a comprehensive plan to improve the current flow of both. Councilor Leary explains that Chelmsford Street is so long that it has several different phases, some residential, some heavily business. He would like a comprehensive study of the entire street to see how it can be best utilized.
By Councilor Leary – Request city manager work with Lowell Police to monitor and to change the pattern of speeding and aggressive driving on Lincoln Parkway. Leary explains it’s a wide road with a lot of people walking but many people drive too fast on it.
By Councilors Leary & Leahy – Request city manager provide a report regarding all repairs to be done on Andover St for the upcoming year.
By Mayor Kennedy & Councilor Leahy – Request city manager provide a report regarding deferred maintenance and general conditions at Cawley and Alumni Field and create action plan to make corrections.
Meeting adjourns at 7:58pm
One Response to Lowell City Council Meeting: May 3, 2016
All city hall and JFK fire/police should also be parking in the Ayotte to spur development of upper Merrimack and Moody streets. A new cross street connecting the streets would shorten the block making it more desirable for development.