CITY OF WORCESTER

Public Works Committee Meeting

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Esther Howland (South) Chamber

Convened: 5:35 P.M.

Adjourned: 6:40 P.M.


Mayor
Joseph M. Petty

 

www.worcesterma.gov

 

Clerk of the City Council
Nikolin Vangjeli

Committee Members

Chairperson George J Russell
Vice Chairperson Candy Mero-Carlson
Councilor Morris A Bergman
 

City Hall - 455 Main Street Worcester, Massachusetts


Present Were:Chairperson Councilor George J Russell Councilor Candy Mero-Carlson Councilor Morris A Bergman
 
Also:Councilor Etel Haxhiaj Chief Development Officer Peter Dunn Chief Sustainability Officer John Odell Commissioner of Public Works and Parks Jay Fink Assistant Commissioner of Public Works and Parks Philip Guerin 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.

Public Works Committee Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/98928800472
Public Works Committee Zoom Phone Number: (929) 205 6099
Public Works Committee Zoom Access Code: 989 2880 0472

Attachments
2.

Approval of the Minutes

2a.

Order - That the City Council Standing Committee on Public Works hereby approves the minutes of the Public Works Committee meeting on November 16, 2022.

View Agenda

Chairperson Councilor Russell read the item and moved to adopt the item. Order adopted

3.

Miscellaneous item

3a.

Order of Councilor Etel Haxhiaj Ė Request Standing Committee on Public Works hold a public hearing with the appropriate parties and local service providers to discuss the ramifications of electrical rate increases, as well as how said service providers intend to remove the use of fossil fuels from their practices. # 17g CC September 29, 2022

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor Russell read the item and recognized Councilor Haxhiaj, who discussed the needs to hold conversation with utility companies concerning the rationale for increasing costs and efforts taken by utility providers to mitigate increases.

Chairperson Councilor Russell recognized Deputy City Clerk, who discussed meeting invitations and notices to the utility companies.

Chairperson Councilor Russell recognized the following speakers:
1. Adrian Hubley, National Grid, North Smithfield, RI resident, spoke concerning the item
2. Joanne Rhoades, National Grid, Williamstown resident, spoke concerning the item
3. Mary Beth Campbell, Worcester resident, spoke concerning the item

Chairperson Councilor Russell then discussed the increases to the basic rates offered by National Grid and the municipal aggregation rates with Speaker #1 and the Director of Sustainability and Resilience.

Chairperson Councilor Russell recognized Speaker #2, who discussed the process for residents to sign up for the National Grid basic rates.

Chairperson Councilor Russell recognized Councilor Mero-Carlson, who discussed the relationship between the number of customers and the municipal aggregation rates and the circumstances in which the rates can be lowered, the Mass Save program and National Grid donation with the Director of Sustainability and Resilience and Speaker #1.

Chairperson Councilor Russell recognized Councilor Bergman, who discussed the impact of the costs of natural gas on the costs of electricity, National Gridís plans concerning development and usage of decarbonized natural gas and other strategies for new fuel sources and the timetable concerning reducing the usage of fossil fuel as relates to electricity with Speaker #1 and Speaker #2.

Chairperson Councilor Russell then discussed whether National Grid had received ARPA funding and other sources of COVID fundings with Speaker #2.

Chairperson Councilor Russell moved to recommend the item be held.

Recommend Hold

4.

Street Discontinuance Item

4a.

Report of the Planning Board Upon the Communication of the City Manager transmitting informational communication relative to a request to discontinue and convey a portion of land and aerial rights over the Ernest H. Johnson Tunnel. # 17e CC September 20, 2022

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor Russell read the item and recognized the Chief Development Officer, who discussed the discontinuance plan and conveyance of land and aerial rights plan for Ernest H. Johnson Tunnel, the primary owner of the building at the location and whether the building is under construction.

Chairperson Councilor Russell recognized the Commissioner of Public Works and Parks, who discussed how the tunnel was constructed and the feasibility of a building being built on top of the tunnel.

Chairperson Councilor Russell recognized Councilor Bergman, who discussed whether the discontinuance and sale and purchase of the land and aerial rights will happen simultaneously with the Chief Development Officer.

Chairperson Councilor Russell then discussed the proposed housing plans to be built at the location and whether the contract with the developers include a mandated timeline and provision for the land and aerial rights to be returned to the city if the developer fails to adhere to the building timeline.

Chairperson Councilor Russell moved to recommend the item be approved.

Recommend Approval

5.

Communication of the City Manager

5a.

Transmitting informational communication relative to supplying a portion of the Town of Leicester with water. # 9.6D CM November 15, 2022

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor Russell read the item and recognized the Assistant Commissioner of Public Works and Parks, who provided an overview of the Town of Leicesterís request for water supply from the City of Worcester, including information relative to in-city and out-of-city water rates and Leicesterís water rates for its residents.

Chairperson Councilor Russell recognized the following speaker:
1. Joseph Wood, Leicester resident, spoke in favor of the item

Chairperson Councilor Russell recognized Councilor Bergman, who discussed the population of Leicester and estimated percentage of population and water taps that 300,000 gallon of water per day can serve and whether out-of-city residents also have to abide by water usage restrictions set forth by Worcester administration with Speaker #1.

Chairperson Councilor Russell recognized the Commissioner of Public Works and Parks, who discussed the revenue stream for the city which will be generated by the water contract with Town of Leicester, pay for and termination clauses in the water contract with Town of Leicester.

Chairperson Councilor Russell recognized Councilor Mero-Carlson, who discussed the history of Leicesterís water districts with Speaker #1.

Chairperson Councilor Russell moved to recommend the item be approved.

Recommend Approval