Donna D. Holaday
October 30, 2017
Last night’s storm
Many trees were downed during last night’s high wind storm and several landed on primary power lines pulling down telephone poles and transformers the streets impacted are Turkey Hill, Cruzon Mill, Old Ferry, Chapel and Orange. National Grid is on site to begin removing the trees from the power lines and DPS crews will work through 11 pm to remove the trees blocking these roads as quickly as possible. DPS started early this morning to remove debris and significant tree damaged streets. Old Ferry will take a day or two to replace the telephone poles that snapped but we are safely running the water plant on generator power with a backup on site. We do not have a clear timeframe when full power will be restored to the rest of the City but we know Chief LeClaire, EMD and Zone Liaison for National Grid will continue working closely with National Grid. I want to express my thanks Tony Furnari, Wayne Amaral, Chief LeClaire and the DPS team for the diligent work in responding to this emergency situation.
Dedication of World War Memorial Plaza
On Friday October 20th during half-time of the Newburyport-North Reading football game we officially dedicated the Veteran’s Memorial Plaza, I wanted to thank our Veteran’s Service Officer Kevin Hunt, Kyle Hodsdon, Athletic Director for coordinating the dedication and to the NHS High School Band and to the City Councilors and School Committee members who participated. The plaza is really is a great place to watch the game.
We had a preliminary meeting with representatives from Storm Surge to formally discuss an upcoming Storm Surge and the City will be hosting a public forum on December 7 titled; The Next Big Storm Preparing Newburyport for Extreme Weather. The forum will include panels from the city on emergency planning, the city’s resiliency plan, public infrastructure, and emergency management, mitigation, and safely.
Market Sq. Drainage Project:
We are completing a series of drainage projects throughout the City, Tilton St. is completed and Market Sq. is close to completion. The Market Sq. area flooding has caused major problems to the small businesses for many years and our DPS designed a solution that is working however it was brought to our attention that we conducted a portion of this work NRA property without approval. This was never our intention and we will be meeting with the NRA to discuss further.
NOTIFICATION OF FREE CASH APPROVAL – City of Newburyport
The State Department of Revenue released its certification of free cash last week for the City of Newburyport
|Enterprise Fund||Water Enterprise Fund||$1,769,560.00|
|Enterprise Fund||Sewer Enterprise Fund||$1,131,128.00|
|Enterprise Fund||Harbormaster Enterprise Fund||$536,265.00|
Roadwork: As you know we receive a State allocation, c. 90, of approximately $515,000 per year for roads and sidewalks. MADOT has developed great restrictions on the use of these funds that require sidewalks and ADA ramps to be completed with each road project. This is very challenging due to the high costs of these projects. However, if we set aside Free Cash for road work we would have more flexibility. I will be requesting a transfer from Free Cash to re-establish a line item in the Highway Operating budget for road work that was eliminated many years ago. I would like to transfer $300,000 to this account but I am open to input from the Council regarding the transfer and of course additional roads. To date we have identified several streets that could benefit from this funding Pheasant Run, Doe, Squires, Willow and sections of LaValley and Longfellow.
Superintendent Search Committee: We have 40 candidates for the Search Committee and The Committee Chair and School Committee representative will be finalizing the selection committee later this week. NESDEC is the consultant selected and their contract to oversee the process is $14,000 plus additional pricing for optional advertising.
LED Streetlights: The conversion of streetlights to LED was completed last week and we anticipate an annual savings of about $80,000. There have been 6 calls regarding lights, some want more light and some less. There is link on the DPS web site for any inquiries or requests; the process is working well.
The city’s Solarize program has produced great results since it started several weeks ago with over 90 inquiries, 26 solar proposals and 6 contracted homes and 16 air source heat pumps and 4 signed contracts. More information on the Solarize Plus Program is available on the City website for Recycling, Energy and Sustainability.
Zoning and Master Plan: It is encouraging to hear that there has been some movement on the Master Plan as I have stated several times we cannot advance completion of the zoning rewrite until the Master Plan is finalized. It has been in the CC Planning and Development Committee since last March. I appreciate the movement the City Council has made on the introduction and passage of some important ordinances as an interim measure, inclusionary zoning, protection of High St. homes and the ridge, which of course is one of the primary functions of this legislative body, to pass laws. Please move the Master Plan forward to completion.
Parking Garage Update:
The delivery date, A/R plan, Deed language and escrow transfer will occur on November 6th.
41 C ½ Tax Incentive for seniors
Reduction in the property taxes for seniors who have both owned and lived in the homes for over ten years within Newburyport. A possible means of expediting the passage of this incentive may require the use of a home rule petition that would be voted on in the spring of 2018.
Please do not forgot to vote on Nov 7th.