4:07: A petition that will grant city retirees more power when it comes to health insurance is before Council. At least that’s the goal. A home rule petition would allow retirees to form an association for the purpose of negotiating health insurance. Councilors chime in. (It should be noted that Councilors Germain, Haller and Rushton are absent.)
4:08: Palmieri says he discussed the issue with Councilors Petty and Clancy. “It makes eminent sense,” Palmieri says.
4:11: Clancy asks the city for a report on the subject, while Lukes stresses the importance of getting a legal opinion on the document. Looks like the next word on the petition will come in about a month when a report is expected.
4:17: City Manager Michael O’Brien says that the City will use Worcester’s label as “The Ninth Most Livable City” by Forbes Magazine in the City’s marketing campaigns. Shocking.
4:20: Toomey asks whether billboards on outskirts of city might be able to advertise the new ranking.
4:22: Clancy says to put the info on “every single Web site.” He also thinks this ranking is highly marketable. Ok guys, got it.
4:30: Quinsigamond Village, “An Integrated Program for Economic Revitalization,” a plan developed for the Greenwood Street Landfill Taskforce is before Council. Clancy highlights the plan’s inclusion of facade and storefront improvements for property owners in the Quinsigamond District. Depending on how much people want to invest in their properties, loans could be available, Clancy says.
4:33: Councilor Haller asks the city to provide Council with a PowerPoint presentation on the subject. “This is an important piece of Worcester. …There’s a sense of hope. … I think we need to share that with the full Council.”
4:40: CitySquare presentation courtesy of City Manager Michael O’Brien. And here come the PowerPoint slides…
4:41: Apparently what’s going on here is that the city is thanking Unum and other key CitySquare players for their “corporate citizenship.” By the way, Barbara Smith-Bacon from Berkelee Investments is in the audience. Looks like there’s no new info coming out of this presentation. But let’s see…
4:45: Nope. O’Brien openly calls the presentation a “refresher course” on CitySquare.
4:51: In case you forgot, the City will offer (generous) tax credits for development and private sector revenues will be used to pay off money borrowed by the city from the state. So CitySquare is “self-supporting,” O’Brien says. In less of course fewer revenue dollars are generated than expected, then CitySquare financing will be … well, officials don’t seem to be talking about that possibility, so who knows? But the important thing, according to O’Brien, is that development funds aren’t coming out of tax payers’ pockets.
Update: The big news here is a brand new TIF for CitySquare.
5:05: Palmieri says he doesn’t see any other 500 million dollar projects moving forward in New England. (We’re not sure whether that’s a good or bad sign.) But Palmieri believes the sheer fact that Unum is involved makes the project “fundamentally sound.”
5:20: To sum up the last 20 minutes, Councilors think CitySqure is essential for the city’s future, giving mucho thanks to Unum, Berkeley, the Lieutenant Governor etc. And for some reason Councilor Rosen keeps talking about pessimistic coffee shop conversation regarding CitySquare as if he’s trying to suggest he’s a man of the people because, get ready for this, from time to time Councilor Rosen visits a coffee shop. Bizarre.
5:45: To sum up the last 25 minutes, more praises for CitySquare by councilors all around.
5:55: Councilor Smith reports that today the courts fined the owner of an 8 foot fence surrounding 103 Holding Street over $50,000 and ordered it be taken down to 6 feet. Smith says the battle over the fence has been going on for over 20 years. Councilor Rosen condemned the structure: “It’s a zoo; it’s disgraceful; it’s awful.” Rosen wants the fence to come down, period.
5:50: And we’re out. Don’t forget, budget meeting liveblog 6:30 p.m.