Lowell City Council preview: February 11, 2019

Mimi Parseghian previews tomorrow night’s Lowell City Council meeting:

This week’s City Council agenda is relatively light on Administrative items but heavy with City Council motions.

Executive Session Minutes: For the second time this year, “minutes” from Executive Session have been released.  Besides telling us who was present and absent, these minutes do not tell us anything.  The assumption is that once the legal matter has been settled, the full minutes will be released.  It is interesting to note that both at the February 5th meeting and the January 8th meeting, there were a few absent City Councilors, which I translate to mean that a significant vote was not taken at those meetings.

Motion Responses

Voting Equipment Motion (1/31/19) by Councilor John  Leahy Request City Manager provide a report from Election Department regarding updating all voter equipment.  The response was prepared Eda Jane Matchak, Director of Elections. “The City of Lowell uses AccuVote tabulators that were acquired in 1998. As the replacement of voting equipment must be completed as a complete systematic upgrade opposed to gradual acquisition, an upgrade would require the purchase of thirty-five tabulators…Introducing an electronic check-in system citywide would cost $162,180 with an annual software cost of $25,500 starting in year two.

“Currently the Secretary of Commonwealth’s Election Division is working to have voting equipment included on the state purchasing contract to reduce the cost of equipment acquisition for municipalities, a process that I have spoken in support of at City and Town Clerk’s Association meetings and an Early Voting Summit last year at MIT.”

No Parking Zones on Pawtucket Boulevard Motion (2/12/19) by Councilor Ed Kennedy “Request City Manager instruct the transportation engineer to report on feasibility of establishing “no parking” zones at certain intersections along Pawtucket Boulevard.”  The 2-page response, prepared by  Diane N. Tradd, Assistant City Manager/DPD Director, includes a detailed map.  The response and suggestions are significant in that they could change how we park along Pawtucket Boulevard, especially for special events.

Assistant City Manager wrote “Generally, issues with parking on Pawtucket Boulevard arise when events are held at nearby locations, including the Sampas Pavilion and the Boathouse. Vehicles line the street, right up to the side streets. These vehicles are parked illegally…The Transportation Engineer is concerned that allowing parking there during events without ticketing implies that it is safe to do so…After a discussion with LPD, the Transportation Engineer recommends that LPD enforce the parking ordinance and that the City inform DCR [Department of Conservation and Recreation; the overseers of Heritage Park] that parking will not be permitted along the Boulevard for future events and recommends that they look into a shuttle service from available parking lots.

The Council will vote on an adjustment to our traffic ordinance impacting the traffic pattern in the following streets: Maryl Drive, Sparks Street and Olive Street. They will also approve a resolution to “Support the Veterans Commission by affording them office, decisions or actions and opportunities to be heard on issues affecting vets.”


Councilor Rita Mercier “Request City Manager have proper department consult with the gas utility company to see if possible to install gas pressure relief valve safety whistle to alert customers if gas line is over pressurized.

Councilor Rita Mercier “Request City Manager have proper department provide a report regarding the status and progress of all sewer, water, gas and electricity tie-ins for parcels located in the Hamilton Canal Innovative District; report to include name of contractors and other interested parties as well as time lines for each utility.

Councilor Vesna “Request City Manager work with Middlesex North Register of Deeds, Richard Howe, Jr., to compile a report regarding amount of money paid to the Community Preservation Acts (CPA) by Lowell Residents.”

Councilor John Leahy ““Request City Manager provide update regarding renovations at the Lowell Police Department Headquarters.”

Councilor John Leahy “Request City Manager provide an update regarding the previous motion to allow retired policemen to Work Details.”

Councilor Jim Milinazzo “Request City Manager have proper the CFO prepare a report highlighting costs associated with salary and wages for the School Department Budget for the last 2 contract periods (6 years) including teachers, administrators, and custodial staff.”

Councilor Jim Milinazzo “Request City Manager prepare a list of work items that could potentially be completed by an outside contractor for both maintenance and custodial work throughout our municipal and school buildings.”

Next week’s meeting will be cancelled due — school vacation week.