Along with the review of 2015 in this week’s Council Packet is the above page with some concerns headed into 2017. The one that jumped out at me was the estimated 18.3% increase forecast for electricity. To be clear this will NOT effect the residents who are part of he City aggregation program. I asked someone with knowledge of the electrical agreement and received this explanation.
The city negotiates its own deals with electricity supplies just like the university and most larger electricity users do. The aggregation is for all rate payers who would otherwise receive national grid supply directly.
That increase seems like a big number. I suspect there is probably a reason for it that isn’t just the anticipated increase in costs. Are they assuming responsibility in the budget for some meters that were previously handled another way?
I expect City Manager Murphy will be able to explain why he is forecasting such a large increase. After all we all know he is a skilled negotiator and wouldn’t agree to such a high rate.
Snow and Ice
The Manager mentions paying down the deficit from last years snow and ice overrun but that was suppose to be figured in already since the administration planned it last year. For the first time ever the legislature allowed communities to carry over snow and ice overruns from the historic winter and Lowell jumped at the chance.
Net School spending – Charter School cost
The Administration is correct that Net School spending is a concern. Not that the city won’t meet and again exceed it but that the School Department will present a budget looking for an additional $1,000,000 – $2,000,000 more than the city has planned. Early estimates show the City committing an additional $1,000,000 more than last year and the state committing an additional $4,000,000 but that may not be enough for this Supt. who estimated a $6,000,000 plus deficit after the last UTL contract was agreed to.
This fiscal year (2016) the city has invested approx. $5,000,000 plus in assuring all city schools have been fully inspected and brought up to code along with making many needed and overdue repairs. The Murphy administration has shown a commitment to improving facilities and will also foot the bill for the modular classrooms the school dept. will need.
With the opening of the Charter School near the Rourke bridge the school dept is responsible for the buses at approx. an additional $400,000 where the Manager sees the additional $400,000 will have to be explained.
I posted a Poll earlier this week asking about increasing the Salary of elected officials. Only 53 people voted on the Council question but 45.28% (24) want to leave it at $15,000
On the School Committee side 47 people voted with 53.19% (25) in favor of increasing that salary from $6,000 to $10,000 while 29.79% (17) voting to leave it at $6,000
The Mayor’s question had 42 people respond with 45.24% voting to leave he salary at $21,000 while 30.95% are in favor of increasing the pay to $30,000
I’ll leave the poll up for another couple weeks.
The Forgotten Man
George Nagle a Dracut Housing Authority board member was feeling like the forgotten man this St. Patrick’s Day. It seems LRTA Executive Director Jim Scannell used to invite Mr. Nangle to the Manager’s Dinner/ Breakfast whenever the LRTA Dracut Rep.couldnt or in this years case wouldn’t attend. However when Tom Bomil declined the invitation ( broken hearted-broken friendship with Manager Murphy) Nangle was expecting Scannells call that never came. I’m told George had considered Scannell a friend and was so deeply saddened that after a quick dinner at Maguires in Dracut went home St. Patrick’s night.
Could be the constant and increasing (again) speculation that Georges cousin Rep. Dave Nangle is eying the Executive Directors post held by Scannell has caused Scannell to dump his supposed friendship with George and resulted in the St. Patrick’s Day Slight!
LOWELL JUNIOR HIGH
FRIDAY, MARCH 25TH
THE OLD COURT
29 CENTRAL STREET
$10 AT THE DOOR
PROCEEDS WILL BE USED TO UPDATE UNIFORMS AND EQUIPMENT
LOWELL JUNIOR HIGH FOOTBALL IS A 501(c)(3). THERE IS NO COST TO PARTICIPATE AND ALL PROCEEDS GO TO FUND THE PROGRAM DIRECTLY