Lowell City Council Meeting: July 25, 2017

Councilors touch upon various motion responses. Full written responses are available for viewing on city council meeting agenda site.

Councilors specifically mention June 21, 2017 Open House at Hamilton Canal Innovation District which attracted 130 people. The next big date is August 11, 2017, which is when RFP responses are due. Presence of UMass Lowell M2D2 Business Incubator space at 110 Canal Place has been a big help.

Council Motions

Mercier – Req. City Council recognize Fru Nkimbeng and his letter of thanks from the Secretary General of Republic of Southern Cameroons regarding our resolution of May 2, 2017.

C. Elliott/C. Mercier – Req. City Mgr. meet with Finance SC to create financing plan to minimize impact of debt service of high school to senior citizens and those on fixed income. Council Mercier says there are different ways to structure how a city pays off a bond. She wants to know the best, most advantageous way to pay the debt for the high school when it comes to lessening the impact on the finances of senior citizens and others on fixed income. She says she is nervous for seniors and people on fixed income. Councilor Elliott says that is the crux of the issue. Says at previous finances subcommittee meetings, he has raised this issue. He says now that the plan for the high school has been selected, we have to look at the impact on people who are on fixed income and seniors. So maybe we should lessen the amount of the overall debt that has to be paid back so that the burden is heavier later so that people who make use of the high school will be the ones paying for the bulk of it. He wants to remove the anxiety that people may have that they might lose their homes because of higher taxes due to the high school. Says the next generation should be able to pay more of the burden. Councilor Belanger thinks this is a great motion. He’s in favor of anything that reduces the tax burden on the elderly. Asks Conor Baldwin if city can use creative financing to pay for the high school, say with debt exclusion, so that there are lower payments in the beginning and higher payments in the end. Baldwin says the finance team will look into a number of options like short term financing at the beginning to meet cash flow needs. That would push back the biggest payments until later. Councilor Milinazzo says he’ll support the motion in the hope something good comes out of it, but he says he views this as pandering of votes by the makers of the motion. He can’t believe the gall or the audacity of the makers of the motion. He says he hopes that Councilor Mercier who is in this protected class exempts herself from this. He says he’s insulted by this because it is only pandering for votes. Councilor Mercier defends herself, challenges Milinazzo to run and not hide from the voters by not running. Councilor Leahy says he’ll support the motion because of all the debt that the city has to take on for the new high school, repairs to the existing high school, and the police station. And it’s not just the elderly, it effects everyone, people putting kids through college, first time home owners, everyone. Councilor Elliott says it is incumbent on us to raise the bar and not make it personal. Addressing Milinazzo, he says I understand you’re on the losing end of this, but you shouldn’t belittle this motion. Councilor Mercier and I are at the Senior Center all the time and that’s what people there are concerned about. Says we are all looking for votes. That’s what we do. But the personal attacks have to stop.

C Elliott – Req. City Mgr. look into developing a 311 App to allow residents to report issues.

C Milinazzo – Req. City Mgr. contact representatives of UMass-Lowell to discuss the status of the dormitory preparations at Perkins Loft and to inform the abutters as to the status.

C Samaras – Req. City Mgr. have DPD create a plan to revitalize the Mammoth Road and University Avenue business corridor similar to Cupples Square and Bridge Street corridor.

C Samaras – Req. City Mgr. have DPD create a plan to revitalize the High Street business corridor similar to Cupples Square and Bridge Street corridor.

C Samaras – Req. City Mgr. have proper department outline plans for crosswalks on lower Andover Street between Lawrence and Central Streets after road has been hard topped.

C Rourke – Req. City Mgr. have Traffic Engineer look into a four way stop at the intersection of Riverside and Sparks Streets.

C Leary – Req. City Mgr. provide an update regarding the flooding/drainage issues on Alcott Street and Douglas Road. Adds Windward. Councilor Leahy says he believes the Water Department has a handle on this, but when we do get a tremendous amount of one time people suffer backflow into their homes which we’d like to prevent.

C Kennedy – Req. City Mgr. provide update regarding establishing a translation bureau in the lobby of City Hall as per motion request of March 28, 2017.

Announcements: Councilor Mercier says tomorrow at 630 pm at Clemente Park is a sidewalk meeting of the police, Lower Highlands group, and the Clemente Park group. She also mentions National Night Out which is Tuesday, August 1 in the evening. There will be events at North Common, Morey School and St Louis School.

Executive Session – Council goes into Executive Session to discuss pending litigation.