City Council Preview: August 14, 2018

Mimi Parseghian previews tonight’s Lowell City Council meeting:

After a three-week hiatus, the Lowell City Council is meeting again. The agenda, once again, is lengthy.  This week’s preview is focusing on the Motion Response (11) and the new Motions (15).  There are many other aspects to the agenda which will be covered, if warranted, in the recap of the meeting


  1. Motion (5.22.18) Councilor R. Mercier Request the City Manager have proper department install Security Cameras on 1st Street. As well as address issues of lighting, excess rash, beer bottles and drug paraphernalia.

Response: Prepared by Superintendent of Police, Jonathan Webb. “The Police Department has installed a security camera in the area of concern. The camera is capable of being monitored by police personnel and records incidents for future reference. Area patrol officers have been instructed to monitor the area and report observations of dumping, etc.”

  1. Motion (7.10.18) Councilor D. Conway “Request the City Manager work with Lowell Police Department on the installation of surveillance cameras in high narcotics trafficking/usage areas throughout the city. Several surveillance.”

Response: Prepared by Superintendent of Police, Jonathan Webb “Several surveillance cameras have been installed at various locations around the city. The cameras are linked to the network that covers the police station and the JFK Plaza area. Areas covered throughout the city include schools, parks, high crime areas, and congested downtown areas. … The police department has the ability to change camera locations as needed in order to respond to changing criminal activity. This includes moving cameras to monitor suspected drug activity.”

  1. Motion (6.26.18) Councilor V. Nuon and Mayor B. Samaras : Request the City Manager provide an update regarding staffing at the Police Precincts in the City, particularly during nights and weekends.

Response Prepared by Superintendent of Police, Jonathan Webb. The City currently maintains 3 off-site office space: 21 Salem Street in the Acre; 399 Bridge Street in Centraville; 657 Middlesex Street in the Highlands. Both the Centralville Precinct and the Highlands Precinct are staffed by a Captain and two Lieutenants who supervise the activities of 12 police officers working out of each precinct on community policing projects. These officers perform these functions 16 hours per day, 7 days per week. In addition, all of the Police Department remote locations are used 24 hours per day by other patrol and supervisory personnel. Other locations include reporting writing locations at the Rogers School on Highland Street, both campuses of Lowell General Hospital, and the Downes Parking Facility on John Street. Additional office space is used as needed at the Acre Precinct office at 591 Broadway Street.”

  1. Motion (2.13.18) Councilor R. Elliott: “Request City Manager contact Department of Mental Health and State House Delegation regarding closing of the Mental Health Center in Lowell. Please see the attached letter which describes the current status of the Solomon Mental Health Center within the City.”

Response: “…Current status of the Solomon Mental Health Center within the City. Bournewood Health System has been licensed by the Commonwealth’s Executive Office of HHS Department of Mental Health Systems to operate at the center. Bournewood Health Systems will be providing 15 bed adult impatient psychiatric unit; 15 bed inpatient psychiatric unit for persons with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders; 12 bed adolescent unit; adult partial hospital program; adolescent partial hospital program and intensive outpatient program.”

  1. Motion (7.24.18) by Councilor E. Kennedy Request City Manager Assemble a three man Subcommittee consisting of construction professionals who currently sit on the Lowell High School Building Committee for the purpose of acting as a liaison between Lowell High School Building Committee and the Lowell High School Building consultants.

Response prepared by City Manager Eileen Donoghue: “As per the recommendation of Perkins Eastman, the city is establishing a working group that will assist with moving the Lowell High School project forward before bringing issues to the School Building Committee and City Council. The group will meet on average of one to two times per month, informally to discuss and narrow down ideas and approaches prior to formal presentations to the SBC and City Council.”

  1. Motion (4.10.18) Councilor K. Cirillo request City Manager instruct the Department Of Planning And Development to compile an updated inventory of vacant upper story downtown office/business spaces, including how long they have been vacant.

Response: Prepared by Diane Tradd, Assistant City Manager and DPD Director assisted by her staff members Andrew Shapiro, Director of Economic Development and Maria Dickinson, Economic Development Officer. “Currently, the Downtown core has an upper floor commercial vacancy rate of approximately 19%. This rate is in line with, and in fact moderately better than recent market research performed by Colliers International (Greater Boston Market Viewpoint, Q2 2018). Colliers notes that through the 2nd quarter of this year the vacancy rate for the Route 495 North market was 22.3%.” A two-page report accompanied the response and it included “an inventory of properties located in the core of Downtown that have upper floor commercial/office uses. The table notes the total amount of square footage available in each respective building, the amount of available commercial upper floor space, and the amount of commercial upper floor space that is currently vacant (if applicable).”

  1. Motion Councilor K. Cirillo City Council requests the City Manager provide the City with a report regarding the Safety of the Smart Water Meters installed throughout the City.

Response: Prepared by Mark Young, Executive Director of Water.  The opening paragraph of the 15-page report reads “…The typical health concern regarding radio reading systems relates to potential health impacts from electromagnetic fields (EMF).  Numerous studies have been done on this technology and the electromagnetic frequency emitted from these meters is far below other commonly used devices such as cell phones, microwave ovens and televisions.”

  1. Motion (7.24.18) Councilor J. Leahy 18 Request City Manage inquire of the School Administration if they would be in need of any assistance during time of transition.”

Response: Prepared by City Manager E. Donoghue  “Over the course of the past several weeks, my Administration has been in constant contact with Acting Superintendent Jeannine Durkin to assist in any way possible to ensure a successful start to the 2018-2019 school year. My finance team has provided support regarding any questions that have been raised by the Acting Superintendent on the school budget, as well as helping the district select new finance officials by participating in the preliminary search committees both for a new Assistant Superintendent for Finance & Operations and for Assistant Business.”

  1. Motions (5.15.18) Councilor E. Kennedy in support of Senate Bill 2506 and State Foundation Budget.

Response: Prepared by City Solicitor Chris O’Connor  “I write in response to the request that the City join with Brockton and Worcester relative to the State Foundation Budget. While no suit has yet been filed, the city has been communicating with Worcester expressing our interest in any such eventual suit. We will continue to update the Council as to any developments in this matter.”

  1. Motion (7/24/18) Councilor J. Leahy request City Manager provide update to City Council regarding the Hamilton Canal Innovation District (HCID).

Response prepared by Diane N. Tradd, Assistant City Manager and DPD Director with assistance from her staff members, Clare Ricker, Chief Design Planner and Joe Giniewicz, Urban Renewal Project Manager.  The one page memo provides a good recap of what has been planned, implemented and projects waiting to be started.

  1. Motion (1.23.18) Councilor D. Conway request City Manager update the Council regarding the status of the “Crime Stoppers Hotline.”

Response prepared by City Solicitor Christine O’Connor. “Crime Stoppers is a private corporation, neither owned or controlled by the City. Pursuant to a records review of the Secretary of State’s Office, the last Annual Report was filed on November 1, 2012. According to the report, the last meeting of this organization was June 27, 2012.

M.G.L. c. 180, § 26A requires annual filings of such reports for all Massachusetts corporations, other than certain non-profits.  Based on the absence of annual filings, it appears that Crime Stoppers of Lowell , Inc. is not currently in good standing as a Massachusetts corporation.


  1. Councilor J. Leahy: Request City Manager investigate the reasons for idling trains in The Lawrence Street area.
  2. Councilor J. Leahy: Request City Manager update Council regarding white building on Butler School grounds.
  3. Councilor J. Leahy: Request City Manager update Council regarding an appointment of a Neighborhood Service Coordinator for the City.
  4. Councilor J. Leahy/Councilor R Elliott: Request City Council endorse a rally to promote unity celebration in the community on August 28th at City Hall..
  5. Councilor R. Elliott: Request City Manager explore feasibility of creating a 15 minute parking space at 178 University Avenue for local business.
  6. City Councilor R. Mercier: Request Council support displaying a bust of George D. Kouloheras in the foyer of City Hall next to bust of Clement McDonough at no expense to the City .
  7. City Councilor R. Mercier: Request City Manager have DPD provide a detailed presentation, justifying how filling in the Lord Overpass will be an improvement to the traffic congestion problems in the area.
  8. City Councilor D. Conway: Request City Manager include with each motion response the work hours that it took to accomplish the task and further include an estimate of costs for each motion.
  9. City Councilor V. Nuon: Request City Manager schedule a public meeting with new Police Superintendent as soon as possible after the hiring.
  10. City Councilor V. Nuon: Request City formally support h.r. 5754 (Cambodian Democracy act of 2018) passed by the US House Of Representatives and condemn the fraudulent elections that took place in Cambodia on 7/29/18; further request the City send a letter of support to Sens. Warren and Markey for passage of senate #2412 (Cambodian Accountability & Return On Investment Act—CARI) encouraging the restoration of civil and political rights of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), media and civil society organizations, restoration of elected officials to their elected offices and release of all political prisoners.
  11. City Councilor J. Milinazzo: Request City Manager meet with the Director of the Middlesex Shelter and neighborhood representatives to discuss illegal activities taking place outside and adjacent to the shelter.
  12. City Councilor J. Milinazzo: Request City Manager provide updated report regarding trash violations and fines collected to date.
  13. City Councilor K. Cirillo: Request City Manager have proper department install signage of updated parking rates replacing the old signage in the parking garages.
  14. City Councilor K. Cirillo: Request Environmental and Flood Issues Sub-Committee have the Lowell Sustainability Council present the Solarize Lowell program.
  15. City Councilor K. Cirillo: Request City Manager have proper department repair the perimeter fence at Eagle Park.

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