City Council Meeting Recap
November 9, 2015
The Council Packet for the evening is here at http://www.cityofnewburyport.com/sites/newburyportma/files/agenda/agenda-file/cc_packet_nov_9-2015.pdf
At 7 PM the Council had a brief hearing on the disposition and sale of a small parcel on Belcher Street, which had technically been a portion of unused roadway, and was sought by an abutter who thought that they actually own the property. Later in the evening the Council did approve the discontinuance and the sale for the appraised price of $28,000.
The Council heard from the Mayor with her report in which she introduced the new health director Frank Giacolone who has been appointed by the Board of Health and will start as new health director on November 23. He has recently served as the director of public health for the town of Saugus. The High School stadium will be completed in time for the field dedication on November 25. This will continue to be known as the World War I Memorial Stadium and now also will be known as the James Stehlin Field. A public meeting was held for residents of Palm Island last week regarding water and sewer status. A number of steps of been taken to prevent freezing like last year. The City did receive a Massworks grant of $2 million which will assist in the Graf Road lift station upgrade. Work continues on the design and orientation of the garage and intermodal facility. The Mayor will be holding a meeting with the city Council on Monday, November 16 at 7:00 PM. There will be also a joint meeting of the City Council and School Committee to discuss school budget preparations for fiscal year 2017.
The council approved a number of orders related to revising language about public trees and sidewalks, as well as stop intersections, turning lanes, and future changes to relatively minor traffic and parking ordinances.
The budget and finance committee removed several items from its list of committee items. The Council received and filed the mayor's memo regarding the city's cash reconciliation process which has been noted by auditors for the last several years. The city is taking steps to improve the physical processes related to reconciliation between various accounts. By a 10 to 0 vote with Councillor Heartquist being absent, the council voted to keep the residential factor for tax classification at one, which means that businesses and residents pay at the same tax rate. By a vote of 7 to 3 the council set the tax rate for this year at $13.39 per $1,000 which includes using $350,000 of free cash to save the average household $45 annually on their taxes. This tax rate represents an increase of 1.75%, which is less than the allowable 2.5% under proposition 2 ½.
Orders related to the senior center and rental fees and creating a revolving fund for the senior center which will use those fees for the care and maintenance of the facilities were approved.