City Council Preview: April 22, 2019

Preview of tomorrow night’s Lowell City Council meeting by Mimi Parseghian.

City Council is back in session this week and so is the repetitive agenda item of Executive Session to discuss “Matter of litigation, namely Huot et al. vs City of Lowell, public discussion of which could have a detrimental effect on the City’s position.”


An ordinance amendment to make changes in the Library Trustee numbers and terms.


School Playground Equipment Motion (3/5/2019) by Councilor John Leahy “Request City Council forward School Committee report regarding school playground equipment to appropriate department to formulate a plan of action.” The one-page response from Ralph Snow, Commissioner of Department of Public Works (DPW), states “The subject report contained only three items” and the equipment at all three schools has been addressed.

Little League Fields Motion (3/5/2019) by Mayor Bill Samaras “Request City Manager instruct the proper department to check the status of Little League Fields in the City in preparation for the upcoming season.”  The Commissioner of DPW, Ralph Snow provided the response and wrote “The Superintendent of Parks has been in touch with the various City leagues and neighborhood youth organizations regarding the start dates for the upcoming season. He has also toured all of the fields and continues to do so on a regular basis. Barring any major weather events such as excessive rain, he is confident that all City fields will be ready for opening day.”

Potholes Update Motion (4/9/2019) by Councilor Karen Cirillo “Request City Manager have the proper department provide an update to the City Council as to the addressing of potholes throughout the City.”
The Commissioner of DPW, Ralph Snow, also provided the response to this Motion. “Thus far in calendar 2019, the City of Lowell DPW has completed 1224 work orders for potholes that have been submitted through the Civic Plus platform and the City website. DPW crews have also repaired an additional 461 potholes on the City streets that are not logged in the work order system… The average time to address each pothole is less than 48 hours (two work days) from the time they are reported, with a priority made to address roads subject to heavy traffic.”

Paving and Trench Work Warranty Motion (4/18/2019) by Councilor Vesna Nuon “ Request City Manager direct City Engineer make it explicit to contractors hired for paving and fixing our streets that the work must be guaranteed and that they will fix any of their work that needs repair within a reasonable period of time.”  Christine Clancy, P.E., City Engineer submitted the response which included the specification requirements provided by the Engineering Department involved in trench, sidewalk and road repairs.  She comments that “Contractors are required to obtain a permit through the City Engineer’s office to excavate within the right-of-way (ROW)… A street bond is also required to be filed with each permit so that the City has the ability to utilize the bond if work is not performed to the City’s standard or if the contractor is unresponsive. “

Madonna Circle Motion (4/28/3029) by Councilor Rita Mercier “Request City Manager place Madonna Circle on the list of streets needed to be addressed due to truck turnaround traffic caused by the company repairing the Broadway Street bridge.  Christine Clancy, City Engineer wrote that her department “reviewed the condition of Madonna Circle and will consider adding Madonna Circle to the 2021 or 2022 paving list. Roadway improvements along adjacent streets, including Broadway, will be recommended for rehabilitation at this same time. This recommended timeline takes the completion of the Tiger Bridge Replacement Project into consideration since Broadway is currently being utilized as a detour route for the Tiger Bridge Replacement Project.”

Broadway and Pawtucket Signal Motion (2/26/2019) by Councilor Rita Mercier “Request City Manager 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.” Diane Tradd, Assistant City Department/Department of Planning and Development submitted the Administration’s response. She writes that the Transportation Engineer recommends the current signal remain in place.  Her decision was based on a review of a Traffic Impact Assessment report which indicated that the current signal provided a “significant reduction in traffic along Broadway and Wilder during peak commute times; provided a left turn lane on Pawtucket Street southbound which reduced delays and reduces travel time and delay for vehicles exiting the existing surface parking [UML lot].

Festival Fees R. Eric Slagle, Director Development Services issued a memorandum that addresses the request from Councilor John Leahy regarding fees charged for festivals held within the City.  Director Slagle writes “As part of the City’s Fee Ordinance, festival organizers are required to reimburse the City for any City services they incur… As part of a fee ordinance amendment which the City Council passed in February of 2017 after extensive discussion and subcommittee review, Development Services staff was added to the list of City Services required to by paid for by festival organizers.”


A vote to Accept Chapter 44 S.64; Payment of Bills In Excess Of Appropriations.  I believe this vote is required so that the City can pay invoices incurred by the School Department.


Loan Order ($343,399,220) to pay cost of designing, constructing, equipping, and furnishing an Addition and Renovation Project at Lowell High School. In her cover memo, City Manager Eileen Donoghue writes “As part of completing this deliverable for the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA), the City Council must vote to appropriate the full amount of the project’s cost, including both the local share and the MSBA’s share. The amount included in the loan order also includes all amounts previously authorized. The enclosed vote language has been approved by the City’s Bond Counsel, and the MSBA. After the first reading on April 23rd, the vote to approve the loan order will take place after a public hearing is held on or about May 7th.”


Councilor Rita Mercier “Require the City Manager have the proper department put a crosswalk across Chelmsford Street to Buck’s Bar at 165 Chelmsford Street.

Councilor Rita Mercier “Require the City Manager Make Possible Naming The North Common Roberto Clemente Park at North Common.”

Councilor John Leahy “Require the City Manager update the City Council on the Budget for Street Line Painting and also update City Council on a schedule for the upcoming year for Painting Lines and Streets throughout the City of Lowell.”

Councilor John Leahy “Require the City Manager have the traffic engineer update the City Council on Perry Street.

Councilor Karen Cirillo “Request the Arts and Culture Sub-Committee meet to have Cultural Organization of Lowell (COOL) make a presentation.”

Councilor David Conway “Request the City Manager and the Department of Planning and Development set up meeting with area Chamber of Commerce organizations and the Lowell Plan to develop strategies to attract new business and jobs (commercial and industrial) to the City.

Councilor Rodney Elliott “Request the City Manager work with Portuguese community leaders, to discuss options to recognize and honor Deolinda Mello Director of the International Institute For 30 Years.”

Mayor William Samaras “Request the City Manager have the Water Department provide a report on the conditions of the drinking water distribution network in the City of Lowell.”

Mayor William Samaras “Request the City Manager instruct the proper department to work with representatives of the Liberian Community on the installation of monument near City Hall/JFK Plaza similar to other ethnic monuments.

Mayor William Samaras “Request the City Manager instruct the proper department to develop standard procedures and protocols for community groups wishing to install monuments near City Hall/JFK Plaza.