CITY OF WORCESTER

Municipal and Legislative Operations Committee Meeting

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Esther Howland (South) Chamber

Convened: 5:21 P.M.

Adjourned: 6:26 P.M.


Mayor
Joseph M. Petty

 

www.worcesterma.gov

 

Clerk of the City Council
Nikolin Vangjeli

Committee Members

Chairperson Khrystian E King
Vice Chairperson George J Russell
Councilor Sean M Rose
 

City Hall - 455 Main Street Worcester, Massachusetts


Present Were:Chairperson Councilor Khrystian E King Councilor George J Russell Councilor Sean M Rose, who participated remotely
 
Also:School Committee Member Jermoh Kamara City Auditor Robert Stearns City Assessor Samuel Konieczny Chief Development Officer Peter Dunn Chief Financial Officer Tim McGourthy Deputy City Clerk Stephen AJ Pottle, clerk
 
1.

Virtual Attendee Call-In Information

1a.

Pursuant to Chapter 20 of the Acts of 2021 and in order to ensure active, public engagement, the City of Worcester currently allows for both in-person and remote participation at all City Council and Standing Committee meetings. To partake in the meeting, you may attend the meeting in-person within the meeting location, follow the below link to join via Zoom or dial the direct line as indicated.

Municipal and Legislative Operations Committee Zoom Link: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/93823030890
Municipal and Legislative Operations Committee Zoom Phone Number: (929) 205 6099
Municipal and Legislative Operations Committee Zoom Access Code: 938 2303 0890

Attachments
2.

Approval of the Minutes

2a.

Order - That the City Council Standing Committee of Municipal and Legislative Operations hereby approves the minutes of the Municipal and Legislative Operations Committee meeting of August 17, 2023.

View Agenda

Chairperson Councilor King read the item and moved for a roll call vote to adopt the item. Order adopted on a roll call vote of 3 Yeas and 0 Nays

3.

Miscellaneous Items

3a.

Communication of John W. Parsons, Executive Director of PERAC (Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission) transmitting communication regarding the amount appropriated for the city's retirement system for Fiscal Year 2024. # 12a CC January 10, 2023

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor King read the item and recognized the City Auditor, who provided an overview of the item and discussed WRTA joining the Worcester retirement system.

Chairperson Councilor King recognized Councilor Russell, who discussed the inclusion of the WHA and the WRTA in the cityís retirement system with the City Auditor.

Chairperson Councilor King moved for a roll call vote to recommend the item be filed. Recommend File on a roll call vote of 3 Yeas and 0 Nays

3b.

Order of Councilor George J. Russell - Request City Manager work with the City Clerk to develop an online, mandatory registration system for lobbyists and any other person being compensated to solicit elected or appointed officials concerning policy matters in the City of Worcesterís government. Said information should include who they are and on behalf of who they are contacting officials for. Further, request that this data be public information as soon as it is filed. # 10b CC February 15, 2022

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor King read the item and moved to take the item up collectively with item #4a.

Chairperson Councilor King recognized Councilor Russell, who discussed the intent for filing his item, including the desire to have individuals identify themselves and the entity that they represent on various issues.

Chairperson Councilor King recognized Councilor Rose, who spoke concerning the item.

Chairperson Councilor King brought forth the following Chairmanís Order: Request City Manager request City Solicitor provide City Council with updated language relative to a home rule petition seeking legislation to regulate executive and legislative lobbying with consideration to M.G.L.ís and modeled after the existing lobbying legislation at the state level, thus allowing for increased transparency and accountability in the governance of the city.

Chairperson Councilor King then discussed examples of situations when individuals may need to register themselves in such a program.

Chairperson Councilor King then brought forth the following Chairmanís Order: Request City Clerk provide City Council with a report concerning the development process of the online mandatory registration system for lobbyists, including more detailed criteria for people who qualify as lobbyists and people who do not.

Chairperson Councilor King moved for a roll call vote to recommend the item be approved.

Recommend Approval on a roll call vote of 3 Yeas and 0 Nays

Chairman's Orders

Request City Manager request City Solicitor provide City Council with updated language relative to a home rule petition seeking legislation to regulate executive and legislative lobbying with consideration to M.G.L.ís and modeled after the existing lobbying legislation at the state level, thus allowing for increased transparency and accountability in the governance of the city.

Request City Clerk provide City Council with a report concerning the development process of the online mandatory registration system for lobbyists, including more detailed criteria for people who qualify as lobbyists and people who do not.

4.

Communication of the City Manager

4a.

Transmitting informational communication relative to a request for the City Solicitor to draft a home rule petition seeking legislation to regulate executive and legislative lobbying with consideration to M.G.L.ís and modeled after the existing lobbying legislation at the state level, thus allowing for increased transparency and accountability in the governance of the City of Worcester. Further, said home rule petition should subsequently be brought forth to City Council and referred to the Standing Committee on Rules and Legislative Affairs for a public hearing before the City Council considers filing this home rule petition with the General Court. # 9.13A CM May 9, 2017

Attachments

Recommend File on a roll call vote of 3 Yeas and 0 Nays (See Item #3b CC)

4b.

Transmitting informational communication a report concerning the income ranges associated with the Elderly Abatement Tax Exemption, as well as any ranges associated with any other exemptions, including but not limited to abatements for widows and veterans. # 19j CC September 12, 2023

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor King read the item and recognized the Chief Financial Officer, who provided an overview of the item.

Chairperson Councilor King then discussed the percentage of reimbursement from the state for the exemptions, the exemption amounts which the city gives to abatement applicants, when the exemption amounts were last adjusted and the income and asset thresholds for various clauses with the Chief Financial Officer and the City Assessor.

Chairperson Councilor King recognized Councilor Russell, who discussed how assets are calculated and the number of applicants that were accepted with the City Assessor.

Chairperson Councilor King recognized Councilor Rose, who discussed the needs to increase public outreach and whether the exemptions granted have increased over years concerning the Elderly Abatement Tax Exemption with the City Assessor.

Chairperson Councilor King brought forth the following Chairmanís Order: Request City Manager request City Assessor initiate a public education course bi-annually for the purposes of educating the public about the Elderly Abatement Tax Exemption program. Further, request City Manager request City Assessor invite and include neighborhood communities to participate in said events.

Chairperson Councilor King moved for a roll call vote to recommend the item be filed. Recommend File on a roll call vote of 3 Yeas and 0 Nays

Chairman's Orders

Request City Manager request City Assessor initiate a public education course bi-annually for the purposes of educating the public about the Elderly Abatement Tax Exemption program. Further, request City Manager request City Assessor invite and include neighborhood communities to participate in said events.

4c.

Recommend approval of amendments to the Cityís organizational ordinances to create an Advisory Committee on African American and Black Affairs, and an Advisory Committee on LGBTQ+ Affairs. # 10.14D CM August 22, 2023

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor King read the item and recognized School Committee Member Kamara, who discussed the timeline associated with the item with the Deputy City Clerk.

Chairperson Councilor King brought forth the following Chairmanís Order: Request City Manager consider including, in some capacity, youth participation in the Advisory Committee on African American and Black Affairs and the Advisory Committee on LGBTQ+ Affairs.

Chairperson Councilor King recognized Councilor Russell, who discussed the number of members for the advisory committees.

Chairperson Councilor King brought forth the following Chairmanís Order: Request City Manager give full consideration concerning ensuring equity of district representation on the Advisory Committee on African American and Black Affairs and the Advisory Committee on LGBTQ+ Affairs.

Chairperson Councilor King recognized Councilor Rose, who spoke concerning the item.

Chairperson Councilor King moved for a roll call vote to recommend the item be approved. Recommend Approval on a roll call vote of 3 Yeas and 0 Nays

Chairman's Orders

Request City Manager consider including, in some capacity, youth participation in the Advisory Committee on African American and Black Affairs and the Advisory Committee on LGBTQ+ Affairs.

Request City Manager give full consideration concerning ensuring equity of district representation on the Advisory Committee on African American and Black Affairs and the Advisory Committee on LGBTQ+ Affairs.

4d.

Transmitting informational communication relative to an update on the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. # 9.40B CM July 18, 2023

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor King read the item and recognized the Chief Development Officer, who provided an overview of the item.

Chairperson Councilor King then discussed ARPA funding eligibility pathways and priority areas with the Chief Development Officer.

Chairperson Councilor King recognized the following speaker:
1. Idella Hazard, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of the item

Chairperson Councilor King moved for a roll call vote to recommend the item be filed. Recommend File on a roll call vote of 3 Yeas and 0 Nays