Sunday Notes July 10th 2016

The Amendment by Rep. Nangle to try to force non-profits to the pay property tax in a sliding scale for four years if they buy property that will come off the tax role is fair. I haven’t read the entire bill but wonder if the State or ULowell which is a State division would be or could be legally forced to pay? No matter what language games people try to play ULOWELL is a State Institutions not a private non-profit.

Cities now have no ability to charge property tax to the state. Would the State allow the Legislature to change that without a legal challenge? I have my doubts.

Why haven’t we heard more negative comments and criticism toward the private developers who used tax credits , allegedly lied to tenants and have at least publicly done nothing to assist the Perkins residents?

Umass Lowell has been beaten up for doing in my view, EVERYTHING possible to treat these people more than fairly yet it still ant enough. Why?

Public Hearing on Polling Locations

Once again the city election office wants to move some polling locations. This will have a direct result on downtown residents. Be sure to attend the upcoming meeting.

Thursday, July 14, 2016
City of Lowell Senior Center
276 Broadway Street
6:00 PM

PUBLIC HEARING

The City of Lowell Election & Census Commission will hold a Public Hearing on Thursday, July 14, 2016 at 6:00 PM at the SENIOR CENTER, to assist the City in preparing polling locations for the upcoming September 8, 2016 State Primary and the November 8, 2016 Presidential Election.

Residents will be given three minutes each to present feedback. Anyone interested in speaking at the Public Hearing may sign up in advance by contacting Eda Matchak at 978-674-1196. Time will also be provided at the end of the hearing for those who do not sign up in advance but wish to speak.

The City will provide interpreters for non-English speaking or hearing-impaired residents upon receiving a request at least four (4) days prior to the scheduled hearing date.

To view the proposed polling locations click here.

Manager’s Raise

CM Kevin Murphy had a very positive review and received approx. the same 6% raise the unions agreed to over two years. All in all a good deal for the Manager and a well deserved raise.

Double blow to Lowell DPW Dept. – #Lowell DPW Commissioner Ralph Snow will retire July 15th and the deputy commissioner of public works Ed Patenaude leaving early July to become Dracut DPW Director.

It will be interesting to watch how the Manager fills the two openings in the DPW. Does he have a chance to eliminate 1 Asst. City Manager title ? He could promote from within.

Tom Bellegarde the Parks Commissioner has been a long time valued employee and has been passed over in the past. He would be a safe appointment and several Councilor’s would support the move. I briefly worked for Tom 25 years ago and I think he would be a good pick.

When is it better to bring in outsiders over hiring from within?

The openings in the Lowell School Systems include Asst. Supt. of Curriculum replacing Claire Abrams, Director of Information,Communication and Technology Services replacing Bill Silver and Coordinator of leadership support and development replacing Cheryl Kirkpatrick.

We know about the openings in DPW, when is it better to go outside the district and bring in “new blood” compared to promoting from within? We have seen this and other City Managers bring in new staff, some with experience, some new. Overall it has worked.

However on the School side we have seen an outsider like Chris Scott flourish but get released because the school committee didn’t feel she communicated well. They then hired from within in Jean Franco but cut her legs out by pulling a multi-year contract after agreeing to it at the 9th hour.

They hired from outside with this Supt. who has gained a reputation for pushing out those people associated with Franco and Lang and replacing them with people politically connected to current and now former officials. Despite his claim he doesn’t care about politics. He has made sure he has enough votes to get a contract from this committee.

Should the new Supt. hire younger, out of district people to help start rebuilding the future of Lowell Schools? Should he hire the “best longtime ” politically connected people because it’s their turn?

Same for the Manager? Bring in a new DPW Director who might do things differently or promote from within?

I don’t have an answer. Sometimes I root for the long time employees other times I see a need for new blood.

What would you do?

All are invited to the LPD’s Movie Nights this summer. The department will be hosting 3 viewings of the movie Zootopia at locations throughout the City.

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2 thoughts on “Sunday Notes July 10th 2016

  1. Ralph Sutter

    The reason UMass is not receiving a break from the negative publicity in regards to the Perkins acquisition, is because they were in cahoots with the developer Mira from the get-go. Meehan admitted in a WCAP interview that they sold the building to Mira so that they could take advantage of tax credits with the intention of selling it back to UMass always being there.

    Secondly, in terms of UMass assisting the Perkins residents…they HAVE to by law. A new owner is responsible for assisting residents who are being displaced from a dwelling under Chapter 79A. The assistance they are currently providing falls well short from what they are supposed to provide under the aforementioned chapter.

    Reply
  2. C R Krieger

    I am glad to see the Election Commission continuing to strive to provide the best voting locations.   While steadiness of location is good, protection of the voters, by providing handicap access, by providing shelter from the elements, by complying with the law, is to be applauded.

    I wish the meeting wasn’t on Bastille Day, since I have to be at the License Commission, but the focus seems to be down town.  And, focus it is, with the Election Commission doing their job and trying to make things better.  Thank you, Election Commission.

    Regards  —  Cliff

    Reply

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