Posted by Jeremy Shulkin
7:12: And we’re off. Everyone here wants to tear through this agenda tonight. Lukes is leading the meeting tonight.
The Worcester Arts Council (referred to as the Worcester Cultural Council) receives a $32,500 grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Go art!
7:15: Tricab is purchasing 12.3 acres on Coppage Drive at the Airport Industrial Park. M.O’Brien calls it a “win-win for all parties.”
Haller says the first victory is the airport transfer that allowed the city to take this land onto its tax role, and the second is that there’s a sale on this property for $400,000.
“This is a great story for the city during very difficult times,” says Clancy, especially because these are manufacturing jobs. “Job well done.”
Eddy says the “back-story headline” is that Worcester held onto the Airport Industrial Park in their negotiations with MassPort. “It was a wise decision at the time. It showed foresight…It’s an answer to those who ask what this council and what this manager is doing to bring businesses to Worcester.”
Petty chimes in to say this was a “team effort” that included Lt. Gov Murray and the business community.
“Thanks for mentioning Lt. Gov Tim Murray and Congressman Jim McGovern. They don’t get mentioned as often as they like, I’m sure,” says Lukes. The people in the chamber paying attention barely keep it together.
7:23: Two locations have bid on hosting the new WRTA bus hub that they’ve received $39 mil for. One on 115 Southwest Cutoff and one at 40 Quinsigamond Drive. Petty wants to know about using Union Station.
Clancy wants to know if the WRTA could join with city vehicles at the city garage. Clancy wants to know if the company would still be eligible for the $39 mil if that happened. “We seriously need to look at building a new (city) garage…I just wanted to know if we could team with this.”
7:29: Haller wants to know if the CMRCP transportation report will go to subcommittee, since some people can’t make it to Union Station for the discussion tomorrow. Sounds like a lot of councilors would like to see that. (Read the 169 page report here.) Petty calls it “pretty important.”
7:34: M.O’Brien says they’re “venturing into regionalization of 911.” Rushton says since “we’re looking to tighten our belts in every corner and to add revenue in every corner” it’s important to regionalize while keeping “quality services.” “Regionalization is where it’s at right now…you can break down the silos and start saving money together.” Lukes adds that “it only took 10 years to get to this point.”
7:39: Two weeks ago the council asked for a report on the guidelines the WPS uses for calling school closings. Now no one ‘fesses up to asking for it. Filed away.
7:40: Haller wants to know if the Health Foundation of Massachusetts will be working with SMOC and the Manager’s task force to end homelessness on eradicating it from Worcester. M.O’Brien says yes.
7:45: Palmieri would like to dis-allow the feeding of seaguls in Worcester. They’re carriers of bacteria and poop in the reservoirs. He also brings up snow removal. “The problem that I have…it was my impression that this mega-snowblower that the city now owns was going to be in districts with small businesses and major arteries so we could clear those streets…I must tell you, I haven’t seen it in my district.”
He continues: “If we’re going to have the same old attitude of waiting for the snow to melt, well, we’ve got a long way to go. I know we have a budget crunch…but there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t talk with a whole host of people (asking) what’s going on, when are we going to see something happen? That’s my question to the manager right now. I’m sure I’m going to hear something (like) ‘we’re doing the best that we can.'”
He keeps going, saying it’s difficult to get to the canal zone, and when you’re down there you can’t put money in the meters. “I would just ask that the administration stop being in the past, stop waiting for the snow to melt,” telling them to “get it.”
Lukes asks “do you have a motion buried in all that snow?” Her and Palmieri go back and forth for a bit, with a lot of sarcasm.
Clancy wonders about street widening near the Vernon Hill School. School buses take up the entire street when parked there. He wants the street widener to go up there.
Clancy also points out that Mass Teachers Association (the state teachers union) supports the move to put cities and towns in federal medicare programs, like Section 18.
Petty goes back to street widening, defending DPW’s use of it, but he wants a plan for what streets to widen and when. He also wants to address the change in truck traffic when the James St. bridge closes.
Smith wants a report on problems at the Union Station garage. People are having trouble paying and getting through the gate. “It’s been an ongoing problem…it creates a negative experience.”