Monthly Archives: January 2008

Morocco gets approved

This just in from the License Commission: Morocco on Shrewsbury Street has been approved for live entertainment.

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Old-time web marketing

Official Worcester websites aren’t exactly known for their timeliness, but this might be a new standard for…something.  “Destination Worcester,” the group which was established to “re-energize visitor sales and marketing efforts for the City and, indirectly, the region” might want to start with their website.  While the group has been visible in several community efforts (and not just those ubiquitous Tic-Tac-Toe-esque Worcester logo stickers), their site appears to have been left stagnant since sometime in the middle of 2007.  The last piece of news posted is an article about the group from July 11th, (little has been written about the group since) and the copyright date still reads “2007” on the site’s footer.  Other Worcester groups aren’t much better; the Worcester Convention and Visitor’s Bureau has more recent press releases, as their news focuses more on Worcester as a whole, but hasn’t updated their copyright date either.  And business-centric “Choose Worcester,” while up-to-date with a PDF of available properties for businesses, has an exceptionally sparse site that doesn’t exactly scream “marketing tool.”

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We Be out

We’re onto the orders under suspension now; we’re out for the night.  Check us out tomorrow, and the print edition on Thursday for more.

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Negative Analysis

Here’s Clancy’s negative spin: If we add up snow removal, the trash bag fees, the airport, fire department and (he doesn’t mention it) the golf course…we’re looking at a $3 million gap. How do we make that up?

O’Brien’s response?: We’re looking at it. The airport negotiations are ongoing, the upward trending revenues in tax liens and police overtimes will help, etc.

Clancy: “Giving the state of the budget, and excusing any significant aberrations…do you expect to have a balanced budget on June 30th?”

O’Brien: “I’m optimistic…excluding snow removal.” He calls that segment “a challenge.”

8:55

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The what-if game

There’s a lot of guessing and hypotheticals going on between City Auditor James delSignore, CFO Tom Zidelis, City Manager Michael O’Brien and the councilors about why certain revenues and expenditures are up or down.

For example, the conversation about the fire budget–one councilor just raised the spectre of closing more stations; the City Manager called that talk premature.

And now, talk about trash bag fees…again.  Did people horde bags last year, thus driving down revenues this year?  Are people dumping illegally?  Or are people just being more effective in using the bags?

What do you think? And are the fees too much, just right, or not enough?

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Budget Analysis, Part One

Why are excise tax collections up?  Barbara Haller wants to know, but isn’t getting a good straight answer.

Our first overall impression: There is not NEARLY the doom and gloom we’ve heard from the City Manager in other budget presentations.  We’ll see what April’s proposal for 2009 brings, but right now, this wasn’t nearly as dramatic as CMOB has been in the past  Almost…hopeful, in a way, at least for this year’s numbers.

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More budget stuff

Golf course deficit is projected….

SUMMARY:

  • 98% of General Fund Revenues are on budget
  • Surpluses in Excise Taxes could offset some shortfalls
  • Improvements in Collection Process has results
  • Expenditures on target, except for Fire Dept. OT and Snow Removal

FY09 Challenges

  • Healthcare costs
  • Energy Costs
  • FY09 Budget Recommendation will be submitted in April for early deliberation

8:25,/ins>

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