Donna D. Holaday
June 26, 2017
Budget FY18: My thanks to our City Councilors for the unanimous passage of the next year’s city budget this takes effect this Saturday, July 1st. It was probably one for the records with no cuts and in addition, this year the School Committee, for the first time in over a decade unanimously approved the school budget.
The projected $40.3B State budget for FY18 is still in process and real concerns are in play regarding the decrease in tax revenues and future budget cuts. However, on June 13 at the recent MA Municipal Association Board Meeting with Lt. Gov. Polito, Sean Cronin, Senior Deputy Commissioner of Local Services and Dominick Ianno from Administration & Finance our advocacy for retaining Local Aid (including c. 70 school funding) was well received. Today the legislature passed an emergency $5B budget to keep the State open while finalizing the budget.
Dept. of Public Services:
PI Hydrant Bids: Although five bids were received, all were over our estimates of $2M ranging from a low bid of $2.9M to $3.65M. DPS staff worked diligently on pricing and had consultant support to price this project, but higher than expected contract bids are occurring throughout the region due to the demand in specialized construction projects. For the bulk of the work, the hydrant assemblies, the bids came in about $600k higher than expected. DPS provided further details on bids to the Councilors this morning.
PI Air Vac System: Air Vac on site this week to complete installation of alarm system.
Evergreen Development & Well Drilling: Work was on hold last week as the crew from Barrie Miller waited for a custom 8”screen need to proceed with drilling. Mitigation payment was made to the owners of the Evergreen Property as voted by the City Council.
Wastewater Treatment Facility: Methuen Construction has mobilized and holding the first of seven construction progress meetings later this week. The neighborhood meeting held on June 6th to review the project status went very well. Odor Control measures to date are summarized in an attached document compiled by Chris Pratt, Chief Operator. A new e-mail has been established for logging in odor complaints after hours email@example.com there has not been a single odor complaint to date in several months. Ongoing progress reports on the construction will be posted on the DPS Sewer Department website.
Graf Road Lift Station: Methuen Construction received Notice to Proceed on June 8th.
Parker St Sidewalk: essentially complete and finishing punch list.
Malcolm Hoyt: design in process and reviewing flood elevations to determine appropriate elevation.
Tilton St.: Final design under review by DPS; test pits completed to locate all utilities
Noble St.: In-house design to begin late summer
Phillips Dr.: Hydrology study ongoing, some clearing has occurred, Mosquito Control was out to assess status of culverts and clearing; reports from neighborhood received regarding flooding/stormwater issues. Follow up meeting scheduled on Thursday.
West End Easements for Sewer Assess: Draft order received from KP Law and one final easement in process before the project comes before the City Council for review.
Stormwater: The City has been working on each level of EPA permits for many years and now MS4 permit takes effect July 1st with a NOI to federal and state by Sept. 1st. I would recommend setting up a stormwater workshop for the City Council in late summer to review our past work and the regulatory challenges ahead.
Parks & Fountains: A water line was damaged to the Cashman Park bubbler when constructing the new bathrooms. Water crews are working to finish water line replacement on Hale St. this week and then will replace line.
115 Water St.: We received three proposals for the reuse of this property. It was originally taken by the City for staging for the WWTF construction as well as the sit for the new OCL building. Elements of one of the proposals to provide resident kayak storage and river launch access is being reviewed with a small business proposal. We are hoping to reconcile these options by mid-July. Please recall the surplus of this property has been an ongoing topic for the past several years with periodic updates in addresses to this Council. RFPs are issued; bids are received with a team review of proposals followed by public meetings.
Brown School: We also receive three proposals on the adaptive reuse of the former Brown School and have begun the team review process for residential use with renovations to upgrade Youth Services. We have held at least four meetings with the community including two with Winter St. Architects following the completion of the feasibility study. Once the review process is complete, we will meet again with the neighborhood to discuss our findings. Issues being reviewed include the needs of Youth Services, sale vs. rentals, number of units, park access for the neighborhood and parking.
Waterfront Trust, NRA, Settlors and City Meeting: Following the completion of the City Council’s ad hoc committee, we have held three meetings to date with representatives for the stakeholder groups and have reached consensus, upon the dissolution of the NRA the majority of the land will be conveyed to the WFT with the back patio to go the Firehouse and green space behind the Custom House to the Custom House.
Police Supervisors Contract: We are pleased to present the Police Supervisors renegotiated 3-year contract. It became clear through the review process that our salaries for are supervisors are significantly below comparable communities. The salaries were artificially inflated due to Quinn Bill and educational credit. The contract adjusts the base salaries over a three period and includes a cost of living adjustment. Finally, sick time buy back was eliminated for all new hires.
MBTA: Following the public meeting on the closure of the commuter rail station we received this email last week from MADOT:
During the Beverly Drawbridge reconstruction, scheduled for weekdays from July 17 to August 13, the MBTA will provide bus shuttle service to all stations north of Salem. During the Positive Train Control installation on the Newburyport/Rockport Line, scheduled for weekends beginning July 8 and ending September 30, the MBTA will provide bus shuttle service from North Station to all stations on the Newburyport/Rockport Line including Chelsea, Lynn and Swampscott Stations. Revised schedules are not yet available for weekend or weekday service. They are under development and will be released next week.
Customers are urged not to park in Salem, as station parking is limited. Parking regulations will be strictly enforced in downtown and neighborhood areas.
As additional information becomes available we will post on the city website. An information line has been established to answer questions: 1-617-222-3200
School District: The Superintendent’s Strategic Plan is completed and a copy is on your desks. This was a collaborative school and community process resulting in a new Mission Statement, Value Statement, Strategies, Objectives and Action Plans. The School District, School Committee and each of our schools are working jointly on key goals and actions; this is a significant step forward for our schools.
Intermodal Facility/Garage: My thanks to the City Councilors who voted to support funding for the land acquisition for the intermodal facility/garage. The remaining item in the P&S at the time of your last meeting was removed and we plan to have the remaining documents to the FTA by late tomorrow. Furthermore we are adjusting the scope of John Burke’s work on downtown parking and hope to finalize a start date shortly.
Station River Merrimac: A Change of Command Ceremony was held at the Coast Guard Station on June 14th where Senior Chief Boatswain’s Mate Patrick Brown took over command from Senior Chief Boatswain’s Mate Mark Dilenge. Captain Claudia Gelzer, Sector One Boston officiated.
Sail Boston: As a Coast Guard City and birthplace of the Coast Guard, I was honored to sail on the USCG’s tall ship, The Eagle, that lead the amazing parade of tall ships into Boston.
State Auditor Suzanne Bump Luncheon: Mayors Linda Tyer of Pittsfield, Stephanie Burke of Medford, and Sefatia Theken of Gloucester and I met with Auditor bump to discuss a range of issues including local aid, infrastructure, education funding and unfunded mandates.
NOAA Conference: Tomorrow I have been asked to join other municipal leaders in sharing what our city is doing to address storm surge and resiliency.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries’ Community Resiliency Workshop
MMA Monthly Mayors Meeting: The City will be hosting the Mayors from across the state for our monthly meeting and luncheon this week. The event is possible through sponsorships- Constellation Energy, Matter Communications, Heery International and SPS Construction.