Lowell City Council meeting: February 26, 2019
ROLL CALL – all present
Minutes of City Council Meeting February 14th, for acceptance.
Vote-Reappoint Bryan Perry to the position of City Auditor. (Cont. from February 14, 2019). Mayor Samaras says a month ago he asked for a report from the auditor on what the Lowell School Department did wrong. He hasn’t received that report and he’s concerned by it. The auditor says he’s working on it; it’s a lengthy process with a lot of information to put together. The auditor says there were three major items identified in the outside audit. He says the invoices that weren’t paid on time have still not been entered into the system properly. The school needs to comply with Mass General Laws. Samaras asks if the auditor has put procedures in place to prevent that from auditing again. The auditor says it’s already in Massachusetts law and they’re not following the law. He says that’s been a continuous problem with the school department that has been well-known. The auditor says the law is pretty clear and people need to follow the law. Councilor Elliott says these items were raised in past management letters. He says the mayor can’t blame the auditor for this. He says it’s up to the school committee to oversee this. When you see a weakness, you can’t just kick the can down the road. The council doesn’t do that and the school committee shouldn’t either. Councilor Kennedy says that Mr. Perry has done an outstanding job and the city is lucky to have him as the auditor. Council votes unanimously to reappoint Mr. Perry city auditor for a three year term.
GENERAL PUBLIC HEARINGS
Vote-Accept MGL c.40 s.5B 4th paragraph.
Ordinance-Quarterly Traffic-January 2019.
COMMUNICATIONS FROM CITY MANAGER
Traffic Flow Rt. 110 Intersections.
Dwelling House of Hope
HCID Utility Work
Informational Reports – Patriot Care Parking and Traffic Planning – Manager Donoghue speaks about the coming opening of the Industrial Ave retail marijuana facility. The city has been working closely with Patriot, the State Police, local police, the city traffic engineer on this. The planned opening will be on a Saturday when traffic might be lighter. Eric Slagle explains Patriot has been “incredibly receptive” to all city requests. There will be electronic message boards on all area highways directing customers to the facility. There will be a state police detail officer at the Industrial Ave exit from the Connector. There will also be multiple Lowell Police detail officers in the area to ensure that traffic is flowing smoothly. There will be a satellite parking lot and a shuttle for overflow parking. The City is satisfied with the traffic plan and is prepared to meet in the days after the opening to make any adjustments needed. The facility’s hours will be 10am until 8pm. It looks like it will open a week from this Saturday but that is not yet definite.
Petition Responses – 15 Min. Parking on Appleton St. Traffic engineer advises against this.
Communication-Appoint Kerry Regan Jenness to Historic Board as Gr. Lowell Bar Assoc. Member. Approved unanimously.
Communication-Reappoint James Wilde as at Large Member to Historic Board. Approved.
Manager Donoghue commend the Fire Department in fighting the blaze on High Street. Also commends Christ Church United for taking in the residents of the building after the fire.
VOTES FROM THE CITY MANAGER
Vote-Accept.Expend Funds $5,000 from Mass Cultural Council Districts Initiative Funding Grant. Approved unanimously.
Vote-Auth. CM Ex. Temporary Access Agreement with Winn Development re 193 Jackson St and 239 Jackson St aka Parcel 8 and 9 of HCID, Lowell. Approved unanimously.
Vote-Establish Municipal Facility Stabilization Fund pursuant to MGL c. 40 s.5B 4th paragraph
REPORTS (SUB/COMMITTEE, IF ANY)
Public Safety SC February 26, 2019. Subcommittee Chair Nuon gives report on meeting held earlier tonight. Personnel from UTEC testified before the subcommittee. They commended the cooperation they receive from Lowell Police in their programs that help smooth the transition back into the community of incarcerated individuals. UTEC also has placed a one minute video online. It’s topic is “violence is not normal.” UTEC has asked everyone to help share and promote this video.
Claims – (2) Property Damage.
Misc. – Leena Pen request permission to address Council regarding parking along Wannalancit Street. She lives on a dead end street. Neighbors have removed a fence to allow people to park in the yard, this eliminates parking for other houses and also eliminates places to push snow. Referred to City Manager for a response.
Misc. – Lee Properties, LLC (Jonathan Cozzens) request installation of overhanging sign for Bridge Street Laundromat located at 485 Bridge Street. Referred to Law Dept.
Misc. – White Street Residents request new Resident Parking Program for portions of Fourth Ave., Mt. Hope St., White St. and Avon St. Referred to Law Dept.
National Grid – Request installation of electric conduits on Quebec Street between Blossom and Maple Streets. Referred to Public Hearing.
CITY COUNCIL – MOTIONS
- Nuon – Req. City Mgr. 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. (Cont. from February 14, 2019). Approved.
- Nuon/C. Kennedy – Req. City Mgr. review boards and commissions to determine whether additional associate and/or alternate members should be added to assist with quorum requirements and to help foster greater public participation. Councilor Nuon says this will help increase diversity and citizen participation; it will also create a chain of succession and knowledge for boards; and it is a quorum issue in case regular members have to recuse themselves on particular items. Councilor Kennedy thinks this is an excellent way to provide on the job training. He adds that some boards that handle technical matters should have mandatory training sessions.
- Mercier – Req. City Mgr. have Transportation Engineer revisit the traffic light at the corner of Broadway and Pawtucket Streets, in front of the Humane Society, and see if change is possible to a blinking/pedestrian crossing light. Councilor Mercier says the person who asked her to file this was supposed to be here to speak but he’s not. She gave the traffic engineer this man’s phone number so she can contact him for more information.
- Cirillo – Req. City Mgr. have proper department provide City Council with a newly drafted 10 year, City of Lowell Partnership for Change Action Plan to end homelessness. Councilor Cirillo says the prior version of this plan was created in 2008 and it was a 10 year plan so it has expired and we need an updated one. Councilor Kennedy supports this and suggests we do an assessment of how the city did under the first ten year plan.
- Conway – Req. City Mgr. work with appropriate department to develop a report that will explain how the City complies with and implements the Federal and State law; “US Lactation Room Law”.
ADJOURNMENT – at 7:56 pm.
One Response to Lowell City Council meeting: February 26, 2019
Employees in the finance department need to follow standards. If they don’t or won’t, they should be fired. Just that.