CITY OF WORCESTER

Municipal and Legislative Operations Committee Meeting

Thursday, June 6, 2024

Levi Lincoln (North) Chamber

Convened: 5:00 P.M.

Adjourned: 6:22 P.M.


Mayor
Joseph M. Petty

 

www.worcesterma.gov

 

Clerk of the City Council
Nikolin Vangjeli

Committee Members

Chairperson Morris A Bergman
Vice Chairperson Luis A Ojeda
Councilor Donna M Colorio
 

City Hall - 455 Main Street Worcester, Massachusetts


Present Were:Chairperson Councilor Morris A. Bergman Councilor Luis A. Ojeda Councilor Donna M. Colorio, who arrived at 5:22 P.M.
 
Also:Chief Human Resources Officer William R. Bagley, Jr Chief Financial Officer Timothy J. McGourthy City Auditor Robert V. Stearns 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/99524470181
Municipal and Legislative Operations Committee Zoom Phone Number: (929) 205 6099
Municipal and Legislative Operations Committee Zoom Access Code: 995 2447 0181

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 March 26, 2024.

View Agenda

Chairperson Councilor Bergman read the item and moved for a roll call vote to adopt the item. Order adopted on a roll call vote of 2 Yeas and 0 Nays (Colorio absent)

3.

Miscellaneous Items

3a.

Petition of Maria Montano request City Council request City Manager display pictures of elected, municipal officials who are currently in office, including the Mayor, Vice Chairman, district and at-large City Council members, as well as all district and at-large School Committee Members in all municipal, school and administrative buildings to bring representation, awareness and engagement in our municipal government and school electoral process. # 8c CC January 30, 2024

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor Bergman read the item and recognized the following speakers:
1. Maria Montano, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of the item

Chairperson Councilor Bergman recognized Councilor Ojeda, who spoke concerning the importance related to youth having knowledge regarding who represents them as they become more aware with politics.

Councilor Bergman then discussed the process and cost relevant to installing pictures related to Worcester elected officials in high schools with Speaker #1.

Chairperson Councilor Bergman brought forth the following two (2) Chairmanís Orders: 1) Request City Manager provide City Council a report concerning the cost of installing photos of the cityís elected officials in every high school and in City Hall; and 2) Request City Manager work with the Superintendent of Public Schools to receive input related to installing photos of the cityís elected officials in the high schools.

Chairperson Councilor Bergman moved for a roll call vote to recommend the item be placed on file.

Recommend File on a roll call vote of 2 Yeas and 0 Nays (Colorio absent)

Chairman's Orders

Request City Manager provide City Council a report concerning the cost of installing photos of the cityís elected officials in every high school and in City Hall.

Request City Manager work with the Superintendent of Public Schools to receive input related to installing photos of the cityís elected officials in the high schools.

3b.

Order of Councilor Etel Haxhiaj - Request City Manager provide City Council with a report detailing a list of properties purchased by colleges and universities from 2019 to the present, whether the college or university kept the property on the tax roll, any signed community benefit agreements associated with new projects on these properties and what changes, if any, were made to PILOT contributions. # 10a CC January 17, 2023

In Committee March 2, 2023 - Held In Committee January 30, 2024 - Held

Attachments

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

Chairperson Councilor Bergman recognized the Chief Financial Officer, who provided an overview of items #3b and #4a.

Chairperson Councilor Bergman recognized Councilor Ojeda, who spoke concerning the process relevant to expiring community benefit agreements and how funds are utilized regarding the cityís college/universitiesí agreements with the Chief Financial Officer.

Chairperson Councilor Bergman spoke concerning the term length related to college/universitiesí community benefit agreements and the process relevant to the cityís annual state aid with the Chief Financial Officer.

Chairperson Councilor Bergman recognized Councilor Ojeda, who spoke concerning the item.

Chairperson Councilor Bergman brought forth the following Chairmanís Order: Request City Manager request City Assessor provide City Council with a report concerning assessments of state buildings as they relate to real estate taxes and Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreements.

Chairperson Councilor Bergman then discussed the process relative to Becker College properties being absorbed by colleges and universities regarding PILOT responsibilities with the Chief Financial Officer.

Chairperson Councilor Bergman recognized Councilor Ojeda who discussed the New Garden Park non-profit organization with the Chief Financial Officer.

Chairperson Councilor Bergman moved for a roll call vote to recommend the item be placed on file.

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

Chairman's Orders

Request City Manager request City Assessor provide City Council with a report concerning assessments of state buildings as they relate to real estate taxes and Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreements.

4.

Communications of the City Manager

4a.

Transmitting an informational communication relative to the City of Worcester's Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreements. # 23a CC May 7, 2024

Attachments

Recommend File (See Item #3b)

4b.

Transmitting informational communication relative to the Police Overtime and Off-Duty Detail Audit Report for the Worcester Police Department. # 8.39A CM March 19, 2024

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor Bergman read the item and moved for a roll call vote to recommend the item be held.

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

4c.

Transmitting informational communication relative to the Senior Tax Abatement Volunteer Program. # 11.3A CM March 12, 2024

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor Bergman read the item and recognized the Chief Human Resources Officer, who provided an overview of the item.

Chairperson Councilor Bergman recognized Councilor Colorio, who spoke concerning the process relevant to selecting twenty (20) senior citizens for the Senior Tax Abatement Volunteer Program, how the program will be advertised to senior citizens, jobs assigned to residents in the program, and the process relevant to matching qualified applicants with the appropriate department with the Chief Human Resources Officer.

Chairperson Councilor Bergman recognized Councilor Ojeda, who spoke concerning the cost relative to the program, the process relative to seniors that are unable to participate in the Senior Tax Abatement Volunteer Program, the number of seniors who own property in the city, and the process relevant to Clause 41C regarding tax relief for elderly residents with the Chief Human Resources and Chief Financial Officer.

Chairperson Councilor Bergman then discussed the process relative to the $1,500.00 to $2,000.00 increase per senior program participant, how the program participants will be categorized relevant to employment, concerns regarding the $2,000.00 gross amount before taxes, the process relevant to employment benefits regarding program participants, and the time allotted relative to program participants to complete the 133 hours with the Chief Human Resources Officer.

Chairperson Councilor Bergman recognized Councilor Ojeda, who discussed the process relevant to how program participants receive the abatement if considered taxable income with the Chief Human Resources Officer and Chief Financial Officer.

Chairperson Councilor Bergman then spoke concerning the process relevant to starting the project in October 2024 with a due date of December 20, 2024 with the Chief Human Resources Officer.

Chairperson Councilor Bergman recognized Councilor Colorio, who spoke concerning the minimum qualifying age for senior program participants and concerns about seniors needing to be retired to qualify with the Chief Human Resources Officer.

Chairperson Councilor Bergman moved for a roll call vote to recommend the item be placed on file.

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

4d.

Transmitting informational communication relative to an update of the Community Preservation Act. # 8.28A CM December 19, 2023

Attachments

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

Chairperson Councilor Bergman recognized Councilor Colorio, who spoke concerning matching state funding, the amount received relative to the Community Preservation Act (CPA) and the percentage matched by the state in 2024, the process relevant to the commission responsible relative to allocation with the Chief Financial Officer.

Chairperson Councilor Bergman then discussed properties subjected to the CPA as relates to exempt properties, meeting requirements for the commission, and the process relative to the full impact relating to the CPA with the Chief Financial Officer and City Auditor.

Chairperson Councilor Bergman brought forth the following Chairmanís Order: Request City City Auditor, if possible, provide City Council with a full report by December 31, 2024 concerning the revenue received from the Community Preservation Act (CPA).

Chairperson Councilor Bergman moved for a roll call vote to recommend the item be placed on file.

Recommend File on a roll call vote of 2 Yeas and 0 Nays (Ojeda absent)

Chairman's Orders

Request City Auditor, if possible, provide City Council with a full report by December 31, 2024 concerning the revenue received from the Community Preservation Act (CPA).

5.

Communication of the City Auditor

5a.

Transmitting the financial statements of the Worcester Redevelopment Authority (WRA) for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2023 as audited by CliftonLarsonAllen LLP. # 9c CC March 19, 2024

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor Bergman read the item and recognized the City Auditor, who provided an overview of the Worcester Redevelopment Authority (WRA) audit conducted by CliftonLarsonAllen LLP.

Chairperson Councilor Bergman then spoke concerning the cityís budget impact on the WRA and vice versa and property maintenance as relates to the increase in budget with the City Auditor and Chief Financial Officer.

Chairperson Councilor Bergman brought forth the following Chainmanís Order: Request City Manager request Chief Development Officer provide City Council with a report relative to leasable space at Union Station.

Chairperson Councilor Bergman then discussed significant changes or concerns regarding the WRA with the City Auditor and Chief Financial Officer.

Chairperson Councilor Bergman moved for a roll call vote to recommend the item be placed on file.

Recommend File on a roll call vote of 2 Yeas and 0 Nays (Ojeda absent)

Chairman's Orders

Request City Manager request Chief Development Officer provide City Council with a report relative to leasable space at Union Station.