Monthly Archives: March 2009

City Council Liveblog 3/31/09

7:23: Late start tonight. The budget presentation is in our hands and literally hot off the press. We’ll blog as the City Manager presents later, and try to get material online as/if possible.

7:25: BUDGET PRESENTATION:

O’Brien calls it “unprecedented times.” “The ripple effect is real…we have to recognize we’re not alone.”

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No minor league basketball for Worcester

It looks like between Maine and Springfield getting franchises, we’ll be out of luck for an NBDL team for now.

Oh well, at least we don’t have to worry about the DCU court flooding.

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Major downtown development announcement

Worcester is posed for an “exciting announcement on downtown development” tomorrow at 10am at the Mass College of Pharmacy.

Could this be CitySquare/Unum?  Something else entirely? This is CitySquare/Unum.

Some reports are that we could be looking at initial Galleria/Common Outlets demolition in the next few weeks.

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Konnie Lukes: America’s most loved Albanian?

We’ve written about Mayor Konnie Lukes’ appearances in the Albanian press before–one paper featured her after election win.

Now, the Albanian Telegraphic Agency – sort of an Albanian AP/UPI – is featuring a picture of Lukes riding in a car in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in a feed across the top of their page.

Better than the photo is the agency-provided English translation:

“The Mayor of Worcester in US, Konstantina Lukes, of Albanian origin, in a car of the first decade of the previous century, has participated in Saint Patrick’s Day parade which marks the beginning of summer. In a 5km road, Saint Patrick’s Day parade has remained traditionally an Irish festivity.  But in Worcester, an American city with up to 80 cultures, the joy of this festivity is shared friendly for decades amid the ethnic inhabitants which cohabitate with each other, including Albanians.”

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Worcester’s public safety $$ per capita

UPDATE(10:52pm)-While rechecking the Columbus report tonight, we noticed an error in their math; that error has been confirmed by The Boston Globe.  The number has been adjusted in the text below.

The City of Boston is under a bit of heat after a study by the City of Columbus showed Boston spent the most per capita of any large city in the country on fire services. According to the report, Boston pays over $452 $285 per resident for fire(2nd most among surveyed cities), and about $447 for police(5th).

So where would Worcester fit in?

According to an analysis of the FY2009 budget(FY2010 will have its initial release tomorrow night), Worcester spent an estimated $198 per resident on fire services and $236 on police services. (The fire expenditure doesn’t count EMS services, which are counted in Boston’s numbers). Worcester spends an additional $16.87 per resident for communications/dispatching services.

The fire expenditure ranks Worcester ahead of larger cities such as Nashville-Davidson, Philadelphia, Jacksonville, Houston, Chicago, Phoenix, Indianapolis, Dallas, Milwaukee, New York, San Antonio, San Diego, Fort Worth, San Jose, Los Angeles, Charlotte, and El Paso and behind Boston, San Francisco, Columbus, Seattle, Baltimore, Memphis, Austin and Detroit.

Police spending per capita in Worcester is less than all major cities surveyed by Columbus, save for Fort Worth and San Antonio.

More over, As of April 2008, Worcester had 404 uniformed firefighters: 2.29 for every 1,000 residents and 10.46 per square mile. In comparison, Boston led the surveyed cities with 3.39 firefighters per 1,000 residents and 42.96 per square mile. Columbus had 2.073 firefighters per 1,000 and 6.828 per square mile.

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A ‘Best places to live’ of the day

Another day, another “Best Places to live” survey.  This time, a report by Mass High Tech parent American City Business Journals ranks the Worcester metro area #29th out of 124 mid-sized metro areas across the country.  (Mid-sized being anything between 250,000 and 1 million)

#29….not bad, even if Bridgeport-Stamford was #4.

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Census kick-off Monday

The 2010 Census is a major one for Worcester and Massachusetts: The tally could effect congressional redistricting and size, and federal aid, among other things.

But already, there are concerns Worcester may not be prepared enough for next year’s census, especially in regard to outreach to minority and underrepresented communities.

We’re working on a feature story for a few weeks out on this issue, one that is under reported, but vital.  In the meantime, there’s a major state kick-off on Monday at 10am at Mechanics Hall with Secretary of State William Galvin and Census Bureau Regional Director Kathleen Ludgate to discuss outreach efforts, and preparation efforts over the next year.

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