Posted by Jeremy Shulkin
Sorry for being unable to live blog last night (or turn on Cover it Live), but the wireless connectivity in City Hall wasn’t working, and the ethernet cable didn’t do any good either.
Some budget notes:
Nick K. summed up the budget discussions pretty well this morning, capturing that the City Manager’s proposed budget looks to make up some of the $12 million from the tax levy not being collected ($2 mil of it), and it sounds like the one-time money from the sale of the airport will be spent all in one chunk to help with the high cost of street and sidewalk repairs–the use of that money had been a point of contention the last month or so among city councilors.
As far as actually raising taxes, the council–or those who have publicly commented on it–seems split. So far Germain, O’Brien have made nods to the city needing to dip into its tax levy, with Haller, Lukes and Clancy arguing the opposite. Another interesting item about that $12 mil, is that in relation to other cities in Massachusetts, only Cambridge has more money saved up by not taxing to the full extent.
“Union” seemed to be an off-limits word (Clancy did use “collective bargaining” once) but a lot of allusions were made to getting the police and teachers’ union (but mostly the teachers) to pay 25% of their benefits, rather than the 20% they pay now.
A huge point made by a number of councilors (Petty, Eddy and O’Brien in particular) was community policing. After some fear over the past couple weeks that the Summer Impact Program wouldn’t be funded, O’Brien revealed that his budget made room for the $500,000ish initiative.
A couple other notes:
Joff Smith has been looking to expand valet parking services around the city, specifically on Exchange St., but that too has drawn some debate from other council members–previously Haller and last night Clancy. A motion was made to table it for two weeks, which irked Smith, but he’ll get a chance to keep debating it.
A $135,000 donation from UMASS Memorial to this summer’s Wheels to Water program led to a discussion on the stagnant water collecting in the city’s unused pools and a report on how to mitigate/deal with it.
Lukes wants the organ and wall mural taken out of the crumbling Worcester Auditorium and relocated to another public building.
Toomey, Eddy, Smith, Petty and Rushton would like to see a skate park on the west side.
Rushton asked for information from CSX about what kinds of hazardous materials will be routed through Worcester once they’ve moved out of their Boston rail yard.
Sorry for any hassles about the internet not working. We’ll be back online for next week.