Lowell City Council Meeting: May 9, 2017
(Mayor Kennedy and Councilor Leahy are absent tonight).
2018 Capital Plan presentation by City Manager Murphy. Based priorities on motions that were filed by councilors during the past year. Total is $15mil including $3.2mil for lighting which includes replacing thousands of lights with LED bulbs. This should yield a 65 percent reduction in energy costs. This will also make the city much brighter. Second, is roof repairs on Butler, Bailey and Shaughnessy schools. Also, $3.2mil will be spent on street paving. Other expenditures will be on renovated bathrooms for City Hall and improvements to various HVAC systems. The fire fighters will receive new turnout gear plus special devices for washing that gear. The police department will get an upgraded computer system. Committing $1.5mil for Lelacheur Park improvements (which should coincide with signing the new lease with the Spinners). Some repairs will also be done at Cawley stadium and at Alumni Field. DPW is getting a dump truck, a sander, and some pickup trucks. Ask that this be put over for a public hearing on May 30, 2017.
Several citizen petitions, most about Lowell High School project, are heard by councilors.
Motion taken out of order:
Councilor Belanger – Req. City Mgr. provide all information to City Council needed to make a decision regarding the Lowell High School Project at least 14 days prior to any such vote. Manager Murphy says as soon as studies are completed, they will be forwarded to councilors. Next Tuesday, Manager Murphy will make a presentation to councilors on studies completed thus far, and will have experts available to answer questions. Anticipates final reports in council packet on June 2 with a presentation on June 6.
C. Samaras – Req. City Mgr. update City Council concerning negotiations with Gervais Volkswagen regarding bike trail.
C. Samaras/C. Belanger – Req. City Mgr. update City Council regarding lighting in downtown.
C. Belanger/C. Elliott – Req. City Mgr. updated Council regarding hazardous waste day in the City.
C. Mercier – Req. City Mgr. find ways and means to install a handball court at the North Common and when completed dedicate it to the memory of Luis S. Espinoza as follows: “Luis S. Espinoza Handball Court”.
C. Rourke – Req. City Mgr. have Law Department draft ordinance to regulate local “Pub Crawls”; which would include public safety measures.
C. Leahy – Req. City Mgr. have DPW look at corner of Draper Street and Glenellyn Road to clean-up wooded lot in the area.
C. Leahy – Req. City Mgr. work with DPD on a plan for Merrimack Street and report back to the Council.
C. Leahy – Req. City Mgr. ask Verizon when double poles on Viola Street will be removed.
C. Leahy – Req. City Mgr. work with the Police Dept. to enforce no parking on sidewalks.
M. Kennedy – Req. City Mgr. have the Traffic Engineer re-examine the intersection of High and Rogers Street for possible installation of a 4-way stop sign.
Meeting adjourns at 8:33 pm.
One Response to Lowell City Council Meeting: May 9, 2017
I think it might a bit disingenuous stating the city is investing in the fire department via the capital plan when the vast majority is federal money. 2.4 out of 2.8 million dollars in fact.
The money for the fire apparatus (trucks) was awarded almost a year ago (6/3/16) and should have been in last year’s plan. The city did not follow the previous large scale capital plan in FY 2013. The department has fallen significantly behind on needed capital purchases because these federally funded apparatus (and others not on the current radar) were scheduled for replacement in FY 2015 but won’t be received until FY 2018. The funding was awarded eleven months ago and delivery dates have not been announced. The grant information can be verified here:
The construction of the vehicles has only reportedly begun. In fact, if you go to the manufacturer’s web site
then enter the ladder truck order number 141162, nothing comes up. Searching rescue trucks reveals nothing for Lowell either.
In addition it appears the turnout gear and rescue equipment is expected to come from another federal grant, which have yet to be awarded. How can the administration be certain it will receive funding not yet announced by the federal government? What happens if that funding does not come through? Will we punt our needs down the line yet again risking people’s safety?
Turnout gear is the safety clothing firefighters wear inside a burning building, the only thing separating us from the heat. This gear is only supposed to last ten years, is easily contaminated and some members only have one set, forcing them to wear potentially contaminated gear until the completion of their shift, sometimes into other people’s homes. The last large scale replacement of turnout gear was 2005.
In my opinion the city is lagging far behind in fire department infrastructure investment from stations, to apparatus and protective equipment. I see plenty of money spent elsewhere, but very little consideration for firefighter’s needs. I don’t understand how we can expect the money to continually come from somewhere else.