February 10, 2020
Mayor Donna D. Holaday
Items on the City Council Agenda
Harbormaster Fees Proposal – The Harbor Commission recently voted to recommend increases to the dockage fees for docks and transient boater facilities. The purpose of the fee increases is to simplify the fee structure, bring the rates more in line with the value the City offers boaters and to provide the necessary income to support the Harbormaster’s Enterprise Fund. It has been several years since fees have been adjusted, and in that time costs to operate and maintain the Harbormaster equipment and facilities continue to increase. Your packet includes the proposed fee increases that include discounts for Newburyport residents.
The Administration is currently reviewing fee schedules for other City Departments. Depending on findings the City Council may be reviewing other proposed fee adjustments in the coming months.
Waste Stream Task Force Communication: Included in your packet is a communication from Molly Ettenborough requesting Councillors’ feedback on the work of the Waste Stream Task Force. You will recall that there was a draft ordinance under review by the City Council that was not carried over form the last legislative session. The Task Force will continue meeting to develop plans and strategies to reduce waste citywide. Molly is asking for comments to be submitted by March 9th. We continue to see rising costs in tonnage for waste and especially recycling throughout our region and will need to work collaboratively on this. If we do nothing, we are increasingly allocating money to trash and recycling that could be otherwise used for other needs, including education and roads and sidewalks.
Crow Lane Landfill Closure: The City is in receipt of the closure certification from DEP for the landfill. I have asked DEP to please notify me if New Ventures does or does not comply with the specific items that must be completed within the designated deadlines and we will continue tracking the progress of closure and provide updates.
Clipper City Rail Trail Clean Up: Post-excavation sampling revealed some remaining areas of contamination in the old rail corridor, and the City’s consultant Credere Associates conducted more extensive soil sampling and associated laboratory analysis during the past five weeks. An additional phase of excavation is required to remove, transport, and dispose of some contaminated soil in this area, and the City has signed a change order with the City’s contractor NRC. The last remaining laboratory analysis results on the sampling are expected tomorrow Tuesday 2/11/20. A meeting was held on-site today, Feb. 10th with the contractor and LSP construction managers to delineate the pockets of excavation in the field, coordinate the approach, and prepare for mobilization this week. The amount of soil to be removed is about half of the initial phase of excavation, and the actual work will take only a few days. The contingency in the project budget covers this change order, but additional resources will likely be required for LSP construction management of this additional work, as well as if additional excavation is required beyond this phase based on the post-excavation sampling required later this month.
57 Low Street DCAMM Appraisal Update: I am pleased to report that DCAMM has completed its review of the appraisal for the auxiliary building and surrounding 2.17 +/- acres of land and is offering the City the parcel at the discounted price of $220,000. We are currently finalizing a license agreement with DCAMM to allow access to the site for an environmental conditions assessment, part of our due diligence before acquiring the property. In addition, we received 8 proposals for the next phase of the NYS Feasibility Study and hope to award this contract this month.
High Street Re-paving: An engineer representing the Hi-Way Safety’s insurance company held an onsite meeting with our DPS team last week. This was an important step for the insurance company in their review of our claim for damages to High Street by Hi-Way safety. We will continue to keep you informed on the progress of this claim.
Joppa Boat Ramp Project: The MA Department of Fish and Game will begin the boat ramp replacement project at Joppa Park around March 1st. The project is contracted to Edward Paige Corporation is the contractor. The work is expected to be completed by April 30.
Wayfinding Project: The Planning and Development Office, the Chamber of Commerce, and my office have been working with a consultant through a Massachusetts Downtown Initiative grant to develop a wayfinding strategy for downtown Newburyport. The goal is to provide a strategy that integrates existing signage with new wayfinding to enhance the visitor and resident experience of Downtown Newburyport. This includes allowing visitors to park once in our long-term parking and explore Downtown attractions on foot. That process will be wrapping up in the next few weeks and we are planning on our consultant facilitating a public meeting on their findings next month.
C-10 Research and Education Foundation: The watchdog group for Seabrook Plant has relocated its offices to the Chestnut Innovation Center in Amesbury. The City will continue to support one of their monitoring beacons.
Important Meetings and Events
- State of the City: Thank you Councillors and Department Heads for attending the State of the City last week. We’ve accomplished so much as a community in the past decade by working together and I look forward to our continued collaborative work this year.
- Livable Streets Meeting on Hale St: I requested support from the Livable Streets group on finding ways to improve the pedestrian and cyclists’ safety and experience on Hale Street. Last week Jon-Eric White and city engineers led a discussion of the current issues, constraints, and opportunities for improvements. Thank you to Livable Streets for taking this on and I look forward to learning about their recommendations
- Merrimack River District Commission: The City hosted the MRDC on Thursday, February 6th. It was well attended with stakeholders and representatives throughout the Merrimack Valley and New Hampshire. Discussed was the Commission’s work plan.
- Donate Life Organ Donation Event: The City hosted Donate Life this morning and we commemorated Valentine’s week by joining heart recipient Jim LaFontaine and others touched by organ donation to celebrate National Organ Donor Day and ask people to “Have a Heart and get a Heart” by registering as a donor at the RMV when getting or renewing your driver’s license, Real ID, or ID.
Tourism Summit: Donna Musumeci represented Newburyport at the North of Boston Tourism 14th Annual Summit. The daylong event’s attendance included a wide spectrum of the state and region’s industry professionals representing tourism-oriented businesses, organizations and agencies, as well as state and municipal leaders.
Tourism roundtables were conducted to discuss destination attractions such as a Newburyport with our array of restaurants, retail and event venues to arts, culture, marketing organizations and chambers of commerce. Ted Reinstein’s, reporter and author from TV show Chronicle, keynote talk highlighted the magic and authenticity of New England, citing history and culture, but most of all the people, and what we bring to the state for tourism. A very positive summit, in which tourism is very much alive and well in the region!
Upcoming Meetings and Events
- Chamber Breakfast February 13 at 7:30 at the Senior Community Center: I will deliver Part II of the State of the City on Thursday with a focus on economic development to Chamber members.