Sunday Notes September 20th 2015


Interesting Tiff !!!

I’m all in favor of Economic Development and bringing jobs to Lowell especially when you can do so with what looks like a Win-Win for Lowell and a company moving in. A Restaurant Equipment Company which has 40 employees is moving those jobs to Lowell and guaranteeing another 18 in 10 years they “expect” to pay up to 2.5 Million to renovate the former Post Office on Phoenix Ave.

Wha’s interesting about this TIFF is the way it will be given. The current value of the building according to the city website is $2,595,800 @ the current tax rate of $32.46 per thousand the tax would be $84,260.00 under the proposed TIFF.

If I am reading the packet correctly that dollar amount would become the base tax that they would pay for the length of the TIFF and any tax rate increase on the property because of evaluation and tax rate increase in the next 10 years would be subject to a 75% TAX Break for 5 years, 70% in year 6 , 60 % in year 7 , 50% in year 8, 40% in year 9 and 30% in year 10 and includes no tax on Personal Property.

My only concern is that th city seems willing to give very generous TIFFs with very few guaranteed jobs. Look at the numbers above for a total of 18 possible jobs over 10 years.

I do like the fact that the TIFF isn’t for the entire tax but will instead hold the base for his year and use that to work off of. Businesses can basically recoup the cost of retrofitting their business by coming to Lowell and getting a decent TIFF like this.

The location is the former Main Post Office, it is a large shell that would be a good manufacturing building but will also be retrofitted to include office space and a showroom.

Where do the challengers stand on TIFFs? What message are we sending businesses who have been here in Lowell for many years? No tax break for you but a new business gets 75% for 5 years for 40 jobs and a possible 18 more? Would an established business that wanted to expand and promise 1.8 new jobs over 10 years get the same TIFF?

This is the 2nd TIFF given by the Murphy Administration. The Markley Group received an 80% reduction in taxes on Real Estate and Personal Property for the 1st TEN (10) years, a 75% reduction in the next 5 years and a 70% reduction in the last 5 years for the old Prince Spag Factory. The Markley group is promising to invest $100 Million in improvements during the first 10 years and another $100 million in the next 10 years. They also will hire 100 people of which 25% will be Lowell residents OR UMASS Lowell graduates.

Imagine what Sal Lupoli could and in my view should ask for to build what he has outlined for the old Thorndike factory building abutting the train station. Based on what the city is giving on Phoenix Ave. and to the Markley Group for such few guaranteed jobs,I’d demand a TIIF worth an 80% discount in years 1-10, 75% years 11-15 and 65% in years 16 -20… After all Sal is providing many more than 43 jobs not to mention permanent residence who will be purchasing MARKET RATE housing!!

To Much Information?

John McDonough has pointed out how unfair it seems to Councilors to receive over a hundred pages on Friday and have to read it all by Tuesday. Some administrations in the past were accused of not providing enough information, while some seem to want to bury the Councilors with information. If you scan through the packet quickly, you could get the wrong idea. I never thought much about John’s point until I did it myself concerning the above TIFF.

I hope Councilors, Challengers and the public who look at the online packet take the time to read past the diagram of the numbers. When you scan through the packet the numbers can look huge but you need to keep on reading to get the rest of the story.

Screen Shot 2015-09-18 at 3.25.28 PM

Lowell Votes..where seems to be the question!

The whole Ward Six voting fiasco, should be an embarrassment to the Law / Election dept. and the Murphy administration. Instead it seems to be being shrugged off has miscommunication on several occasions and even made a little play on Literature on the City’s website!

If Campy and company didn’t have Manager Murphy’s back it might have even been reported about in the newspaper.

Really the tale of two post cards is what the City is calling the latest error on the website? This seems like a joke or cute story to residents of Pawtucketville? I’m hearing that many are upset and confused has to where they are supposed to vote. Especially a couple elderly residents I spoke with.

Where is any outrage by the two Pawtucketville Councilors? Where is challenger Joe Mendonca?

Does this show that they are so fed up with Deb Forgione the PCC leader and her constant complaining that they don’t care? Are they upset with her for knowing in July and hiding the information from the rest of the PCC? Do they not care that the City Election Office seems to have a bit of a we did the minimum notification required attitude and seem to not really care about how inept this administration seems to be about something as important has voting locations?

What is really telling is that neither Councilor Rourke or Mayor Elliott seem to care enough to ask the administration to explain this fiasco. That was left for Councilor Belanger to do.

C. Belanger – Req. City Mgr. update Council regarding Pawtucketville voting precincts.

Maybe it WASN’T the Printer

I bought the story that the mailing was an error by the Printer being the reason the Election locations were incorrect but after speaking with a officials from neighborhood Communities I’m not so sure. There are some positions in Lowell that have different names printed for key positions in the newest Massachusetts Municipal Directory. It appears either Lowell doesn’t send in updated list to printers or the city employee responsible has one heck of a sense of humor!!

Here is a partial personal listing in the Massachusetts Municipal Directory for 2016:

Auditor: Hannah York
Health Director: Frank Singleton
Acting Building Commissioner: Rosemary Cashman
MIS Director: Ted Gagnon
Chief Planner: Anne Barton
School Superintendent: Chris Augusta Scott
Assistant Superintendent: Jay Lang

The Times they are a changing or NOT !

A long time Lowell political participant sent me a note that struck me as being pretty accurate and funny, in part it said.

Can you imagine the headlines and stories written in the SUN if this Election location fiasco for Ward Six had happened in the 2013 City Council race? Or if Tom Moses had traveled to Seattle with Sam Poulton to tour the wine vineyards? Good thing Campy and Company like the Manager (for now). Remember Rodney Elliott asking the Manager if he used personal time to teach two morning classes at ULowell? Wonder if he ask KM about using time to golf at Mount Pleasant?

The funny part was the same person often sent me email or voice messages that bashed Manager Lynch. I thought they would be okay with Manager Murphy and give him the same latitude the Sun has given him.

UTL try hard to NOT negatively affect students!!

You can criticize Paul Georges for his persona has the big bad bully union leader and make comments about teacher’s getting Summer’s off or how protesting at the School Committee meeting is just for show but the one thing you can’t deny about the United Teacher’s of Lowell is that no matter what, they are all about the kids.

There appeared to be over 900 teachers, para-professionals, Cafeteria workers and friends and family protesting in front of City Hall before Wednesday’s School Committee meeting. They are getting restless with the inability of the current committee to reach a contract.

Yet looking at their history, they to my recollection have never worked to contract, refused to help with the National Honor Society or threatened any action that would negatively affect the students. I can’t even recall a strike vote unless it happened when I was a student.

There may be blustering by both the Mayor and Mr. George’s but this isn’t helpful.

Disappointed that no School committee challenger stepped to note that both of these gentleman gain nothing by going on the radio to bash each other and that their time would be better used to build consensus.

Then again so far no School Committee or City Council Challenger had stepped up and challenged anything!

1 thought on “Sunday Notes September 20th 2015

  1. Very insightful and thought provoking article on many issues. As for the constant use of the word “bully” when describing union leaders, not only in this city, but across the country, is both insulting and reminecent of a by-gone era. This is NOT the 50’s or 60’s and Jimmy Hoffa isn’t coming out of that pile of rubble he’s buried under. In fact, Paul Georges’ is the ELECTED voice of those hardworking and dedicated professionals who are simply looking for decent wages and benefits at the bargaining table. A right, which by the way, is guareented them in the Commonwealth under MGL 150 E. The insulting manner in which the main stream media portrays those of us who negotiate for a living is both childish and their attempt to silence our rights of fair duty to represent. Paul Georges’ certainly doesn’t need me to defend him, but as someone who knows him both personally and professionally he is the consummate labor leader and anything but – “a bully!” I know those are not your words, Gerry and I don’t mean to paint you with the same broad brush as other media outlets – but that word can certainly be used as an adjective to describe both elected and appointed officials who either refuse to negotiate in good faith or simply interject their own so-called power in an attempt to try and silence those whose job it is to represent our members. Thank You!

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