BUDGET: Thank you Councilor Tontar, Chair of Budget & Finance and the Councilors that participated in the budget workshops. We appreciate your diligence and review of the proposed FY20 budget. My thanks also to Ethan Manning, Finance Director and Matt Coogan, Chief of Staff for your assistance in responding to budget requests and providing supporting documentation. To the Department Heads, all represented here this evening, thank you for your strong work in building your department budgets for next year. Our collective work with both the schools and city departments reflects months of careful work to create a budget that meets the needs of our city.
Home Rule Petition: The Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government held a hearing on June 4th to take testimony on S.2202 and H. 3698. Representative Jim Kelcourse, Ward 2 Councilor Jared Eigerman, Planning Director Andy Port and I presented testimony in support of the home Rule Petition to dissolve the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority. Councilor Sharif Zeid submitted written testimony. The committee voted unanimously in favor of the bill. As the bill moves through final review, I will keep the Council updated on the process and progress.
Paving Contract: The paving on High St. has been delayed nearly a month due to the weeks of inclement weather as the contractor pushes to complete work in other communities. However, with strong efforts by DPS to remind them of contract obligations, a start date of July 2nd has been set. It will take 2-3 days to mill High St. from three roads to Winter St. with paving beginning the following week. The sidewalk contractor has completed mark outs and select sidewalk work has begun. Merrimac St. milling will begin following High St. and will occur from the roundabout to Kent St. with paving and select sidewalk work.
I have submitted to Councillors a detailed spreadsheet of the roadwork that has been completed in the past ten years. I am aware of the order in the Council packet to bond $2M but as I mentioned, there are finite number of contractors, a limited 6-month construction season, variable weather conditions that and $150K-175K carrying costs to bond $2M. Further discussion will occur on this approach in committee.
CSO Summit: On Friday, June 7th the CSO Stakeholders/Commission launched and hosted its first meeting. It was a great turnout of state and local elected officials including representation from our federal legislators. EPA was present and reported that Waste Water Treatment Facilities (WWTF) must provide notification within four hours of a CSO (Combined Sewer Overflow) event as part of their renewed NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) permit. Comment period is opened until July 8th. https://www.epa.gov/npdes-permits/massachusetts-draft-individual-npdes-permits Operators from Lowell, Haverhill and the Lawrence Sanitary District presented on the status of their plants and upgrades to date. Kirk Westphal, Sr. Principal Planner from Kleinfelder Engineering Company has been conducting research on the Merrimack River since 2002 and discussed CSOs as well as the significant impact of storm water alone on water quality. We will meet again in September as there is significant work to be accomplished on short term goals,notification, to longer term goals of funding for infrastructure improvements.
Operator Panel moderated by Ellie Baker
Youth Services: Meridian Engineering has completed the survey and wetlands demarcation of the Low St. potential site. This will be forwarded to DCAMM who will initiate the state and local polling process. This is a required step to provide notification of the surplus property and intent to sell. The next step is the completion of the appraisal.
Tall Ship: The Santa Maria departed early this morning following ten days of tours and activities for residents and visitors. Thank you to Ken Jackman and the Custom House for arranging this wonderful event for the city and to Paul Hogg, Harbormaster and staff who coordinated the safe passage and other amenities for the visit.
NHS Graduation: Congratulations to the class of 2019! It was a wonderful ceremony with great speeches by the students really all centered around caring and giving back. Thank you to the City Councilors who joined in the ceremony.
Red Sox Trophy: We hosted the Red Sox trophy here on June 2nd with a great reception at the Senior Community Center. Below is our oldest Red Sox fan Alice Jo, 101 years who received a private showing.