City Council Bits & Pieces 01.13.2017
Following each New Bedford City Council meeting, Bits & Pieces will look at some items too small for a full story, but too ignore.
Most of these items have been referred to one of the council's committees, where more discussion will take place before returning to the full city council for final action.
• Councilors approved an amendment by Mayor Jon Mitchell to a loan order (previously approved by the council Dec. 17, 2015) appropriating $5,039,280 for renovations to the Elm Street Garage. The amendment removes language requiring the use of $511,254 toward the Federal Land Access Program grant so more funds are available to secure a bid to complete the project. Funds will be borrowed in two phases, the first of which in the sum of $3,179,088.
• Councilors approved a loan order of $8,336,514 for a repair project at John Avery Parker Elementary School.
• Councilors Ian Abreu, Naomi Carney, Brian Gomes, Council President Joseph Lopes, Councilors Steven Martins, Linda Morad, James Oliveira and Kerry Winterson requested Peter Boswell, Park Board Chairperson, and Mary Rapoza, Director of Parks, Recreation and Beaches, to appear before the Committee on Appointments and Briefings to address rumors of charging the Fort Taber Military Museum for rent as well as event fees. Boswell and Rapoza appeared before the council in December, though councilors said their questions were not adequately answered. The matter will be taken up by the Committee on Appointments and Briefings.
• Ward 3 Councilor Henry Bousquet requested the Committee on Ordinances look at alternative forms of advertising Ordinances. Bousquet said "it's awful expensive" to place just one ad for one ordinance in the newspaper's legal section, and people just aren't reading that section unless it's their job. He believes there are better platforms such as online and via social media. The matter will be taken up by the Committee on Ordinances.
• Councilors Winterson, Abreu, Bousquet, Martins, Council President Lopes and Councilor Carney requested the Department of Public Infrastructure and address potholes along Hawthorn Street and Grape Street in response to several complaints by EMS personnel. The roadways are used by New Bedford EMS and other surrounding communities to transport patients to St. Luke's Hospital, and the "deplorable" conditions make it difficult to place an IV and stabilize patients in transit.
• Councilor Abreu, Council President Lopes, Councilors Winterson, Martins and Bousquet requested the City Solicitor and Mayor's Office work with the Committee on Ordinances to reevaluate the proposed "municipal marketing" strategy of placing ads on city property. According to Abreu, a simple ordinance amendment could allow the City to pursue the project and potentially generate a substantial amount of revenue. The matter will be taken up by the Committee on Ordinances.