On Sunday mornings I plan to post the MINUTES of the previous week’s Lowell City Council meeting followed by the AGENDA for the upcoming council meeting. Both are edited to emphasize Council motions and responses and other reports or items that deserve attention
Minutes of Jan 14, 2020 Lowell City Council Meeting
Date: January 14, 2020
ROLL CALL Roll Call showed 9 present. M. Leahy presiding.
Councilor Conway requested moment of silence in darkened chamber for Dr. David Morehouse. C. Samaras commented about Mr. Morehouse’s work at Lowell High School. C. Chau requested moment of silence in darkened chamber for Sarou Chea (mother of State Representative Rady Mom) and Malis Ricky Sok.
Motion Response – 75 Arcand Drive Update – C. Rourke commented on the time needed to clear the property to keep Lowell High School project on time. Manager Donoghue noted that the date fixed by parties and the State was May 7th which is more that customary time needed in these matters. C. Mercier questioned amount of payment to the owner of the parcel. City Solicitor O’Connor commented on the money paid to take property and relocate tenants. C. Mercier noted that it would possibly only be a partial payment and other monies may be due. C. Mercier commented on the appraisal done on the property and sharing results with other party as well as the different needs of each doctor in the building. Solicitor O’Connor commented on the payments. C. Mercier requested that Council be notified when payments are made and agreed upon and that process should be fair for all involved. Solicitor O’Connor noted that process for relocation is currently being handled by experts for each side and the timeline has been set by the parties. C. Nuon commented on the discovery pending on the eminent domain case. Solicitor O’Connor commented on litigation discovery schedule. C. Nuon commented on probable new locations of businesses. C. Samaras commented on eminent domain and the treatment of the parties. Manager Donoghue noted the State reviews all of the actions of the parties in relocation matters. C. Rourke noted that relocation was due to a hostile taking and questioned process if parties are not in agreement. Solicitor O’Connor commented on process moving forward without agreement between the parties.
Motion Response – Handicapped Voter Access – C. Conway commented on the report identifying the problem and putting forward a solution and that he would relay information to the Disability Commission.
Motion Response – Pan-Am Clean-Up behind 50 Waugh St – C. Mercier commented on the report and possible fines and stated that Pan-Am is not a responsive party and further commented on possible safety issues with the site. Eric Slagle (Inspectional Services) noted the challenge with access to the premises. M. Leahy noted a dead tree posing a safety issue in the neighborhood. 3.2. Informational Reports
Informational Report – Lowell General Update Memo – C. Rourke noted the report. Manager Donoghue commented on the plans by Lowell General Hospital for the Saints Campus indicating shift in services and not a closure. C. Drinkwater noted concern for shifting of ICU beds and that involves a public process which residents can be involved with. C. Mercier noted the need for the Saints facility.
Communication-Appoint Sinead Gallivan to Planning Board-Associate Member. In City Council, read, Motion to adopt by C. Elliott, seconded by C. Drinkwater. Adopted per Roll Call vote 9 yeas. So voted. Ms. Gallivan was present and thanked the Council
VOTES FROM THE CITY MANAGER
Vote-Accept and Expend FY20 Housing Choice Community Capital Grant in the amount of $225,000. In City Council, Read twice, full reading waived with no objections. Motion to adopt by C. Elliott, seconded by C. Nuon. Adopted per Roll Call vote 9 yeas. So voted. Manager Donoghue recognized the effort used to obtain grants and the importance of the grants in regards to parking in the City.
Resolution-Support saving Minor League Baseball-Lowell Spinners. In City Council, Read twice, full reading waived with no objections. Motion to adopt by C. Conway, seconded by C. Chau. Adopted per Roll Call vote 9 yeas. So voted. C. Mercier noted the wording of Resolution was exact as it indicated the amount of resources used by the City at the facility.
CITY COUNCIL – MOTIONS
Councilor Nuon – Req. City Mgr. provide update regarding review of inspection and enforcement procedures within Developmental Services to determine if better efficiency can be achieved through transfer of data via tablets or other electronic means with the aim of improving turnaround time without adding personnel. In City Council, seconded by C. Elliott, referred to City Manager. So voted. C. Nuon noted the need to update so that more inspections can be done by the City. C. Elliott noted the technology promotes efficiency and is customary in many communities. Manager Donoghue noted the delay and that need to ensure quick response with MIS Department and MUNIS software. Mr. Slagle noted that issue with merging technology. C. Rourke commented on electronic permitting as well. C. Conway noted that technology will increase efficiency.
Councilor Nuon – Req. City Mgr. have Parking Director instruct staff to check pay stations during daily routes and report any malfunctioning meters each day. In City Council, seconded by C. Mercier, referred to City Manager. So voted. C. Nuon noted that pay stations and meters should be checked daily and issue resolved quickly. C. Samaras noted it was an ongoing issue that needs to be addressed. Manager Donoghue noted the issue with the equipment which may need updating.
Councilor Nuon – Req. City Mgr. have proper departments (Law, Human Relations) provide a report on feasibility of residential requirement for public employees in City of Lowell. In City Council, seconded by C. Mercier, referred to City Manager. So voted. C. Nuon requested the report and would comment further upon review. C. Mercier noted that issue was discussed prior regarding department heads being Lowell residents and that there were issues with that but the consensus was that preference would be given to Lowell citizens. C. Conway noted that residency requirements may hinder obtaining qualified applicants. C. Drinkwater noted the need for the report to address complications that may arise but noted that residency preference could be a reasonable alternative. C. Elliott questioned criteria regarding residency requirements. C. Nuon noted that Law Department should review legalities and what can and cannot be done. Manager Donoghue noted that other communities would be studied as well to see if in operation and how effective it may or may not be. C. Conway noted residency preference is a good option and that there would be union concerns as well. Solicitor O’Connor noted it would be subject to collective bargaining. C. Rourke commented on union requirements.
Councilor Nuon – Req. City Mgr. provide a report regarding status update on the Smith-Baker building. In City Council, seconded by C. Elliott, referred to City Manager. So voted. C. Nuon noted property has been issue for some time and it is time to move forward on the matter.
Councilor Elliott – Req. City Council vote to establish a subcommittee on Election Redistricting. In City Council, seconded by C. Nuon, referred to City Manager/Mayor. So voted. C. Elliott noted important matter during this Council term and it will be a long process. C. Nuon noted the need to be ahead of changes. C. Mercier noted that subcommittee would address all changes in the election system in the City.
Councilor Elliott – Req. City Mgr. provide an update regarding bridge construction on VFW highway at Beaver Brook. In City Council, seconded by C. Rourke, referred to City Manager/Mayor. So voted. C. Elliott commented that bridge work in the City are big construction projects that affect traffic and other neighborhood concerns so there is a need for tight oversight. C. Samaras noted the condition of the streets deteriorates with these construction projects.
Councilor Conway – Req. City Mgr. meet with Police Superintendent and Fire Chief to provide a report and update regarding “Wellness Programs” for our first responders. In City Council, seconded by C. Nuon, referred to City Manager. So voted. C. Conway commented on existing programs and the need for them as first responders are not treated with respect in the community which may affect them mentally.
ADJOURNMENT In City Council, Motion to Adjourn C. Conway, seconded by C. Elliott. So voted. Meeting adjourned at 8:10 PM.
Motions for January 21, 2020 Lowell City Council Meeting
Councilor Elliott – Req. City Council Vote To Request Statehouse Delegation Work With Administration To Fund 4 Million Dollar Earmark In Bond Bill – H4549 – “Act Providing For Capital Repairs And Improvements” – For The Study, Design And Make Capital Improvements For A Public Safety Facility With Fire And Police Services In The City Of Lowell.
Councilor Elliott – Req. City Mgr./DPD Report On Status Of Properties Located At 246.1 Market Street; The Power House And Coal Pocket Buildings.
Councilor Samaras – Req. City Mgr. Have Supt. Of Police Provide A Report Regarding Action Taken To Address Violence In The Downtown District At Closing Time Of The Establishments; Additionally Work With Bar Owners To Develop Solutions To Address Ongoing Issues Inside Their Respective Establishments.
Councilor Conway – Req. City Mgr. Provide Update Regarding Employee Incentive Program Offered By The City.
Councilor Nuon – Req. City Mgr. Have City Assessor’s Office Hold Community Meetings Throughout The City To Help Guide Residents Through The Process Of Filing Abatements For Property Assessments.
Councilor Nuon – Req. City Mgr. Have Commissioner Of Public Works Take Measures To Ensure Repaving Work Done By Contractors Is Done Properly.
Councilor Nuon – Req. City Mgr. Have Proper Departments (Public Works, Parks) Initiate A Drop-Off Program For Unwanted Household Items That Cannot Be Put In The Trash Or Recycled Under The Current Waste Management System.
Councilor Nuon – Req. City Mgr. Provide Report On City Clerk’s Office Efforts To Digitize Public Records And Make Them Available Online.