Monthly Archives: October 2017

City Manager showing cost concerns for High School at CAWLEY, Councilors Ignoring them!!

Manager sending a message that is falling on deaf ears!

My concern / objection to Cawley has always been financial and I’ve shown that. Reading and watching the City Council motion responses I believe the City Manager and his staff share my concern.

With the City projecting a 7.75% increase for building at Cawley plus another 8.6% in City Cost for improvements required and minimally another 1% increase for busing Cawley is turning into the ultimate money pit.

If we can supposedly afford it, why do we have a $2,250,000 deficit? Why can’t we buy Turnout Gear for Fire Fighters? Because we can’t afford ! The Manager is telling us but the Cawley five are ignoring him.

City Manager Murphy “stayed loyal” to the group that supported and hired him (Rodney-Danny-Rita-Corey) when it came to backing the Cawley location, since then he has consistently shown he has major concerns about it without coming right out and saying it publicly.

Looking at the MSBA Presentation – It Shows the COST TO THE LOWELL TAXPAYER being $149,439,672 for Cawley with the 5 floors.

Since the submission, in my view the City Manager has tried very hard to show Cawley may not be the best for the city.

The Manager has provided the Cawley Councilor’s with financial breadcrumbs to follow to show them Cawley is NOT FISCALLY Realistic.

Sadly they are all so dug in that they refuse to listen to the facts he and his staff are providing.

Remember all of these cost are mostly CITY cost with very little being reimbursable.

The Manager has shown that the Preliminarily cost of a storm water storage/retainage system that is needed and could be constructed under the Cawley Parking lot to attenuate strong storm events and relieve the surcharge problem would have an approximate cost of about $5 Million.

The estimated costs to replace the Rogers Street main is $700,000.00
To ensure adequate water flow to a new high school on the Cawley site replacement of the existing water main to Cawley with a 12” main is an estimated cost of $600,000.00.

That is $6,300,000 with possibly 8% being able to be reimbursable, making it $5,796,000

Then his sidewalk projections are $1,054,500

His Traffic Improvement Projects are a staggering $700,00 up to $2,450,000

The cost of Field Replication is $1,970,000

The yearly cost of debt service for Cawley over 30 year at 5% the City estimates to be $9,620,000 or 7.75% tax increase WITHOUT the above cost included.

Add the above Water Improv $5,796,000
Field Replication are $1,970,000
sidewalk projections are $1,054,500
Traffic Improvements (low Est) $1,500,000 (doesn’t include Rogers St.)

TOTAL – $10,320,500 or an additional 8.6% that is the Responsibility of the Lowell Taxpayer!

I am not sure they can bundle that cost in with the High School bonds, even if they did it would take roughly a yearly payment of $361,217.00 for 30 years at the 5% rate.

Add it to the $9,620,000 Cawley High School debt service expense, it becomes a total of $9,981,217 a year for 30 years for Lowell taxpayers

There is still the need to Add another $1,200,000 for busing (and that is a deliberately low ball figure) and that is another 1% tax increase that is 100% Lowell Taxpayer Cost and yet the Cawley 5 don’t care.

OPTION 2 is $8.71 Million a year for 30 years!

The present Manager is aware we have a $2,250,000 structural deficit, he owes the School Dept $250,000 and “borrowed” $2,000,000 from reserves to fund the operational budget that is supposed to be paid back. We can’t buy Turnout Gear for Fire Fighters.

I believe that we are looking at a minimum 3% tax increase for the 2019 Fiscal year that starts in June of 2018!

Manager Murphy has tried to present his concerns without publicly rebuking the Councilor’s who have been his strongest supporters and yet no one seem to be picking up on them, especially the 5 pro-cawley councilors or downtown council challengers.

If I were a City Council candidate I’d focus on finance instead of location and use the Manager’s numbers to back up my points. I’d highlight the negative impact on the elderly, retirees, those on a fixed income and our low income families. I’d point out that 61% of families in Lowell Schools receive some type of Federal / State assistance which allows us to get the Free Breakfast and Lunch for all our students.

Cawley isn’t fiscally affordable!

The City Manager is answering honestly the questions that need to be addressed and yet for whatever reason people on both sides are ignoring the cost totals and what they mean to the Lowell taxpayer.

I’m convinced if the Manager could be a true MANAGER and not the political beholding Manager he would publicly support Option 2.

In my view he has surely made the case against Cawley based on the numbers he has supplied.

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