CITY OF WORCESTER

JOURNAL OF THE CITY COUNCIL

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Levi Lincoln (North) Chamber

Convened: 6:36 P.M.

Adjourned: 8:42 P.M.


Mayor
Joseph M. Petty

 

www.worcesterma.gov

City Manager
Edward M. Augustus, Jr.

City Auditor
Robert V. Stearns

Councilors

Morris A. Bergman Donna M. Colorio
Khrystian E. King Candy Mero-Carlson
Sarai Rivera Sean M. Rose City Clerk
Nikolin Vangjeli
Gary Rosen George J. Russell
Kathleen M. Toomey Matthew E. Wally
 

City Hall - 455 Main Street Worcester, Massachusetts


1.

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

2.

STAR SPANGLED BANNER

3.

ROLL CALL - All present with the Mayor as the Chair.

4.

PROCLAMATIONS, ACKNOWLEDGMENTS, MOMENTS OF SILENCE

4a.

Mayor Petty provided a Special Mayoral Recognition for Elaine Thompson, George Barnes, Bill Doyle and Nick Kotsopoulos for each of their years working at the Telegram and Gazette, including Nick Kotsopoulos’s thirty-nine years (39) years covering the beat at City Hall.

 

5.

APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES

5a.

Order - That the City Council of the City of Worcester hereby approves the minutes of the City Council Meeting of November 17, 2020.

Attachments

Mayor Petty read the item and moved for a roll call vote to adopt the item. Order adopted on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays.

 

6.

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

6a.

Mayor Petty recognized the following speakers: 1. Alex Guardiola, Worcester resident, spoke concerning item #9a CC 2. William S. Coleman, III, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of item #10h CC 3. Fred Nathan, Worcester resident, spoke concerning item #9a CC 4. Tina Hood, Worcester resident, spoke concerning item #9a CC 5. Benjamin Desharnais, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of item #12a CC

 

7.

HEARINGS AND ORDERS

7a.

Hearing: NATIONAL GRID for a conduit location at: HENCHMAN ST., LINCOLN ST., NORTHAMPTON ST., FREDERICK ST. Granting permission to NATIONAL GRID for a conduit location at: HENCHMAN ST., LINCOLN ST., NORTHAMPTON ST., FREDERICK ST.

Attachments

Mayor Petty read the item and moved for a roll call vote to take up items #7a CC through #7a CC collectively and open the hearings. Mayor Petty’s motion was approved on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays. Mayor Petty asked if any abutters wished to be heard on the items. Hearing no speakers, Mayor Petty moved for a roll call vote to close the hearing. Mayor Petty’s motion was approved on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays. Mayor Petty moved for a roll call vote to approve the items. Hearing held and Order adopted on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays.

 

7b.

Hearing: NATIONAL GRID for a conduit location at: BROOKS ST. Granting permission to NATIONAL GRID for a conduit location at: BROOKS ST.

Attachments

Hearing held and Order adopted on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays (See Item #7a CC).

 

7c.

Hearing: CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS for a conduit location at: GROVE ST. Granting permission to CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS for a conduit location at: GROVE ST.

Attachments

Hearing held and Order adopted on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays (See Item #7a CC).

 

8.

ELECTION OF THREE RESIDENTS TO THE LIBRARY BOARD OF DIRECTORS

8a.

ELECTION - To fill three (3) vacancies for two (2) terms ending December 31, 2026 and one (1) term expiring in 2023.

Mayor Petty read the item and provided an opening statement, including information from, “Rules Appendix D – Election of the Library Board,” from the Rules of City Council, which outlines the process for electing members of the Library Board of Directors. Mayor Petty recognized Andrey Boyko, Roseann Fitzgerald, Matthew Noe and Anne O’Connor, who all spoke relative to their qualifications to be elected to the Library Board of Directors. Mayor Petty recognized Library Board of Directors President Stephanie Pasha, who spoke with City Council concerning the Board’s excitement to work with all of the candidates. Mayor Petty moved for a roll call vote to elect two members for the terms ending on December 31, 2026. Anne O’Connor, having received the most votes and a majority vote of City Council, was elected on the first roll call for a term ending on December 31, 2026. Mayor Petty moved for a second roll call vote to elect one member for the remaining term ending on December 31, 20206. Matthew Noe, having received the most votes and a majority vote of City Council, was elected on the second roll call for a term ending on December 31, 2026. Mayor Petty moved for a third roll call vote to elect one member for the term ending on December 31, 2023. Roseann Fitzgerald, having received the most votes and a majority vote of City Council, was elected on the third roll call for a term ending on December 31, 2023.

 

9.

FIRST ITEM OF BUSINESS - TAX CLASSIFICATION HEARING

9a.

Hearing: To determine tax rates for residential, commercial, industrial and personal properties for Fiscal Year 2021.

Mayor Petty moved to Table the Item Under Privilege. Tabled Under Privilege - Petty

 

9b.

COMMUNICATION OF THE CITY MANAGER transmitting informational communication relative to the Fiscal Year 2021 Tax Classification package.

Attachments

Mayor Petty read the item and recognized Councilor Bergman, who moved to, “Request City Manager request City Assessor provide City Council with a report relative to taxation on water bodies, including information relative to whether water bodies are reevaluated at the same time all other properties are reassessed, how the city determines whether a water body is consequential or inconsequential, whether the determination of whether a water body is consequential or inconsequential occurs at any time other than the cyclical period when the city appraises properties, whether properties abutting water bodies are rated, and if so, whether the city uses best practices applied by other communities to do so.” (See Item #19a CC). Councilor Bergman then moved to, “Request City Manager request Chief Financial Officer and City Assessor provide City Council with a report relative to the effect that allocating the city’s excess new growth monies in the amount of one-million dollars and two-million dollars to the tax payers would have on the city’s tax rate options.” (See Item #19b CC). Mayor Petty recognized Councilor Colorio, who moved to, “Request City Manager provide City Council with a report relative to the effect a Senior Incentive Program that cut senior citizens’ taxes by ten (10) percent would have on the city’s tax rate options.” (See Item #19c CC). Councilor Colorio then moved to, “Request City Manager provide City Council with a report relative to the effect an incentive program that cut owner-occupied multi-family home tax obligations by ten (10) percent would have on the city’s tax rate options.” (See Item #19d CC). Mayor Petty recognized Councilor Russell, who spoke concerning the item. Mayor Petty recognized the City Manager and Chief Financial Officer, who both responded to questions raised by Councilor Russell. Mayor Petty recognized Councilor Russell, who moved to, “Request City Manager provide City Council with a report projecting the amount of money anticipated for FY21’s new growth.” (See Item #19e CC). Mayor Petty recognized Councilor Toomey, who moved to, “Request City Manager request City Assessor provide City Council with an updated version of the FY 2021 Tax Classification Information on pages six (6) through ten (10), which has a column that states the, “Percent Change to Median Commercial Tax Bill FY20 to FY21,” whereas the other columns discuss the average.” (See Item #19f CC). Mayor Petty moved for a roll call vote to adopt all the motions during the discussion of the item. Order adopted on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays. Mayor Petty moved for a roll call vote to Table the Item Under Privilege – Tabled Under Privilege on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays. Tabled Under Privilege – Petty

 

10.

PETITIONS

10a.

Todd Rodman, Esq. on behalf of Churchhill James, LLC request to change the underlying zoning classification for said parcels from Business, General (BG-4.0) to Business, General (BG-6.0): 85 Green St., 89 Green St., 103 Green St., 2 Plymouth St., 5 Gold St., 7 Gold St., 8 Gold St., and 99 Green St.

Attachments

Mayor Petty read the item and moved for a roll call vote to refer items #10a CC and #10b CC collectively to the Planning Board. Referred to Planning Board on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays.

 

10b.

Wayne LeBlanc, on behalf of Ronald W. and Angela J. Valinski, request to remove from the City of Worcester official street map a portion of Belisle Avenue (a private way) from the northeasterly corner of the property known as Parcel ID No. 26-021-0016B, currently owned by Jean P. Hibbard and Sara M. LaBrie, Trustee, by recording with Worcester District Registry of Deeds in Book 45207, Page 245, on the City Assessor's map to the Worcester-Auburn city line located to the northeasterly portion of Parcel ID No. 26-0021-00016, currently owned by Ronald W. Valinkski and Angela J. Valinkski by recording with Worcester District Registry of Deeds in Book 54327, Page 274, known as Parcel B. Said affected area being lots 13, 14, 15 and 16 as shown on a plan recorded at the Worcester District Registry of Deeds in Plan Book 22, Plan 64, a copy of which is attached.

Attachments

Referred to Planning Board on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays (See Item #10a CC)

 

10c.

Councilor Donna M. Colorio on behalf of Dorrie Maynard request installation of “No Parking Here to Driveway” signage on both sides of the driveway at 58 Fruit St.

Attachments

Mayor Petty read the item and moved for a roll call vote to refer items #10c CC and #10d CC collectively to Traffic and Parking Committee. Referred to Traffic and Parking Committee on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays.

 

10d.

Peter Bilzerian et. al requested No Parking Anytime sign be installed on Ormond St next to Elm Park Community School.

Attachments

Referred to Traffic and Parking Committee on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays (See Item #10c CC)

 

10e.

NATIONAL GRID for a conduit location at: ORIENT ST., DIVISION ST., RIDGE ST.

Attachments

Mayor Petty read the item and moved for a roll call vote to collectively set hearings for items #10e CC through #10g CC on December 8, 2020 at 6:30 p.m. Hearing set for December 8, 2020 at 6:30 p.m. on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays.

 

10f.

NATIONAL GRID for a conduit location at: JAQUES AVE.

Attachments

Hearing set for December 8, 2020 at 6:30 p.m. on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays (See Item #10e CC)

 

10g.

NATIONAL GRID for a conduit location at: PIEDMONT ST.

Attachments

Hearing set for December 8, 2020 at 6:30 p.m. on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays (See Item #10e CC)

 

10h.

William S. Coleman, III request the Department of Public Works and Parks building be renamed to the Paul J. Moosey Public Works Building, honoring his thirty-six (36) years of service to the city of Worcester.

Attachments

Mayor Petty read the item and moved for a roll call vote to refer the item to the City Manager. Referred to the City Manager on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays.

 

11.

CHAIRMAN'S ORDERS

11a.

FROM THE COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT - Request City Manager request City Solicitor provide City Council with a report concerning details associated with the licenses the proposed Worcester Ballpark Authority would be authorized to grant.

Attachments

Mayor Petty read the item and moved for a roll call vote to take items #11a CC through #11i CC collectively and to adopt the items. Order adopted on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays.

 

11b.

FROM THE COMMITTEE ON MUNICIPAL AND LEGISLATIVE OPERATIONS - Request City Manager provide City Council with an updated list of the members currently serving on the Other Post-Employment Benefits Liability Trust Fund Board of Trustees (OPEB Board), and a notification to City Council upon the appointment of new member to fill the vacant positions.

Attachments

Order adopted on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays (See Item #11a CC)

 

11c.

FROM THE COMMITTEE ON MUNICIPAL AND LEGISLATIVE OPERATIONS - Request City Manager provide City Council with a report relative to the hiring of an investment advisor.

Attachments

Order adopted on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays (See Item #11a CC)

 

11d.

FROM THE COMMITTEE ON MUNICIPAL AND LEGISLATIVE OPERATIONS - Request City Manager request City Assessor provide City Council with information relative to Fiscal Year 2021 market trends and adjustments, as provided to Municipal and Legislative Operations Committee.

Attachments

Order adopted on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays (See Item #11a CC)

 

11e.

FROM THE COMMITTEE ON MUNICIPAL AND LEGISLATIVE OPERATIONS - Request City Manager provide City Council with a report concerning the funds being used to provide the cleaning supplies and PPE being used by the various city departments.

Attachments

Order adopted on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays (See Item #11a CC)

 

11f.

FROM THE COMMITTEE ON MUNICIPAL AND LEGISLATIVE OPERATIONS - Request City Manager provide City Council with a report concerning all funding sources associated with COVID-19 related expenses.

Attachments

Order adopted on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays (See Item #11a CC)

 

11g.

FROM THE COMMITTEE ON TRAFFIC AND PARKING - Request City Manager request Commissioner of Public Works and Parks provide City Council with a report concerning the traffic study for the intersection of Highland St. and Dean St. relative to the need of an audio crosswalk signal.

Attachments

Order adopted on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays (See Item #11a CC)

 

11h.

FROM THE COMMITTEE ON TRAFFIC AND PARKING - Request City Manager provide City Council with an update concerning a previously requested Chairman's Order relative to any authority the city has to install signage on a private street.

Attachments

Order adopted on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays (See Item #11a CC)

 

11i.

FROM THE COMMITTEE ON TRAFFIC AND PARKING - Request City Manager request Police Chief provide City Council with a report relative to traffic accidents in the vicinity of intersection of Beechmont St. and Salisbury St. going left, and/or Salisbury St. and Burgess Rd. going left. Further, request City Manager make said report available to the Traffic and Parking Committee for its December 16, 2020 meeting.

Attachments

Order adopted on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays (See Item #11a CC)

 

12.

ORDERS

12a.

Request Standing Committee on Public Service and Transportation hold a public hearing to discuss financially viable options for extending the current suspension of WRTA fares as a means of helping Worcester's essential workers and city residents for whom public transit is a necessity. The committee should also review the Worcester Regional Research Bureau's recent addendum to their original May 2019 report that called the WRTA the “perfect candidate for a fare-free system." (Rosen)

Attachments

Mayor Petty read the item and recognized Councilor Rose, who spoke concerning the item. Mayor Petty recognized Councilor King, Councilor Rivera and Councilor Toomey, who all moved to add their names as sponsors of the item. Mayor Petty moved to add the entire City Council as sponsors of the item. Mayor Petty moved for a roll call vote to adopt the item and refer the item for informational purposes to Public Service and Transportation Committee. Order adopted and referred to Public Service and Transportation Committee for informational purposes on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays.

 

12b.

Request City Manager interact with the Superintendent of Schools, the Administration and parents group at Chandler Magnet School, abutters and neighbors to the school and other interested parties to discuss whether renovations can and should be made, and amenities added, to the field behind the school so that students at the school, neighborhood and city youth and families can have a much better facility for athletic and recreational activities. (Rosen, Wally)

Attachments

Mayor Petty read the item and recognized Councilor Rose, who spoke concerning the item. Mayor Petty recognized Councilor King, who moved to add his name as a sponsor of the item. Mayor Petty recognized Councilor Wally, who spoke concerning the item. Mayor Petty recognized Councilor Rose, who moved to add his name as a sponsor of the item. Mayor Petty moved for a roll call vote to adopt the item. Order adopted on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays.

 

12c.

In response to the anger and frustration of residents of Vassar St. after at least seven power outages this year, request City Manager immediately contact National Grid to have that company take action to correct the issues causing these continuing and unacceptable power outages. (Rosen, Rose)

Attachments

Mayor Petty read the item and recognized Councilor Rosen, who spoke concerning the item. Mayor Petty moved for a roll call vote to adopt the item. Order adopted on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays.

 

12d.

Request City Manager request Police Chief provide increased speed enforcement on Vassar St. (Rosen)

Attachments

Mayor Petty read the item and moved for a roll call vote to adopt the item. Order adopted on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays.

 

12e.

Request Standing Committee on Education hold a public hearing to discuss how the city can better meet the high demand of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses. (Rosen)

Attachments

Mayor Petty read the item and recognized Councilor Rose, who spoke concerning the item. Mayor Petty moved to add the entire City Council as sponsors of the item. Mayor Petty moved for a roll call vote to adopt the item and refer the item for informational purposes to Education Committee. Order adopted and referred to Education Committee for informational purposes on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays.

 

12f.

Request City Manager provide City Council with a report concerning whether there are any plans to extend shelter access due to the restrictions associated with COVID-19 and the winter weather. Further, request City Manager include in said report information relative to the capacity and occupancy levels at the city's shelters, as well as information concerning whether there will be a shelter for homeless individuals that are COVID-19 positive that may be asymptomatic or with symptoms not requiring hospitalization. (Rivera)

Attachments

Mayor Petty read the item and recognized Councilor Rivera, w