Ty’s City Council News: May 17, 2022

The City Council was hybrid this evening: 5 councilors in council chambers, 5 councilors on Zoom. No public hearings were held, including a parking ordinance for the twins Mullaney parking lot next to the senior center. That public hearing was rescheduled for June 21st. There will now be seven public hearings on June 7th. (I will list them next week).

  1. License Committee: Ty Waterman, Chair.
  2. Approved 10-0: a “keep the stand” license/permit for “the Burgundian restaurant”, 55 Park Street. This permit will allow six (6) two person tables and chairs to be placed on the front sidewalk during operating hours between April and October.
  • Approved 10-0: A “Keep the Stand” license/permit for Morin’s Inc. restaurant, 16 South Main Street. This permit will allow three (3) two-person tables and chairs to be placed on the front sidewalk during operating hours between May and October.
  • Public Works Committee: Laura Dolan, Chair.
  • Approved 10-0: A grant announced by Governor Baker from the Winter Recovery Assistance Program. This state grant provides funding for Attleboro’s Road system in the amount of $616,254.81. Work must be completed by June 30, 2023.
  • Approved 10-0: $28,600 to cover the cost of police details and traffic control for road improvement projects funded by the winter recovery assistance program (wrap).

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A presentation was given by Rob Geddes, Vice President of the School Committee.

A long list of items from the old high school are being listed for sale including keyboards, electronic accessories, monitor, and printer stands, furniture and a table. In addition, a school fund raising auction is planned prior to the demolition of the old high school. All proceeds from the auction will go into the general fund. The list of items is extensive.

I suggest watching this meeting on-line to understand the large scope of items to be auctioned off.  These include music trophies, athletic banners, and trophies. Some special banners and trophies will be retained to go into the new school/gym. 

Ty’s City Council News: May 10, 2022

The City Council went on Zoom for the first time since February.  

The May 17 City Council meeting will be a hybrid meeting. Six councilors will be in City Hall chambers & five councilors on the screen via Zoom. The public is invited to attend on May 17. Please wear your mask and social distance.

May 10th City Council votes: 

1. License Committee: Ty Waterman, Chair.

  • Approved 9-0: the license application to serve alcoholic beverages on city sidewalks – Burgundian Restaurant, 55 Park Street. April thru October.
  • Approved 9-0: the license application to serve alcoholic beverages on city sidewalk – Morin’s Inc, 16 South Main Street, May thru October. 

2. Public Works Committee: Laura Dolan, Chair.

  • Approved 9-0: Transfer of $13,500 from Wastewater Enterprise Fund to replace Dimminutor screens. The Dimminutors help cut the solids that enter the headworks building. The stationary cutting screens have been working 16 years and are worn out, requiring replacement. Installation of new cutting screens will be performed by the Wastewater staff to reduce the cost. 
  • Approved 9-0: Appropriating $20,000 from Wastewater Enterprise Fund due to increase in treatment plant equipment costs. This will fund the cost of replacement parts in 2022.

3. Finance Committee: Richard Conti, Chair.

  • Approved 9-0: Authorized the school committee to pay a school bill totaling $11,858.75 from UMASS Medical School. This bill will be paid by school funds.
  • Chairman Conti explained why he had not brought out a senior citizen feasibility study motion for a vote. President DiLisio asked Chairman Conti to bring out the feasibility study motion for a vote before the end of the current fiscal year. There was no further discussion on the matter.

4. IT and Infrastructure Committee: Todd Kobus, Chair.

  • Approved 9-0: Appropriated $3,500 to fund e-mail encryption software and migrating data from old email servers.
  • Approved 9-0: A 48 month lease agreement with HP Financial Services for the lease of 1000 Chromebooks for the Attleboro Public Schools.

5. Zoning & Land Use Committee: Diana Holmes, Chair.

  • Approved 8-1 request by Old Colony Habitat for Humanity certain permit fees for the next Habitat building on Pike Avenue.

6. Personnel, Veterans, and Human Service Committee: Michael Angelo, Chair.

  • Approved 9-0: Appropriated $3,200 for a longevity payment to the Solid Waste Manager.

7. Ordinance Committee: Cathleen DeSimone, Chair.

  • Approved 9-0, to strike a previous motion from the docket of January 18, 2022.  
  • The motion that was struck was a proposed amendment to the Attleboro City Charter, Section 3-8 (a) regarding the filling of a vacancy in the Office of the Mayor, via a special election.

8.  Public Safety Committee: Peter Blais, Chair.

  • Approved 9-0: Transfer of $9,753.71 to a 911 grant to cover overtime costs.

9.  Special Committee for Tax Abatement: Richard Conti, Chair.

  • Approved 9-0: Motion to designate the position of Senior Tax Abatement workers as special municipal employees.

Ty’s City Council News: May 3, 2022

Attleboro City Hall was packed for the first time in several years. Forty-one senior citizens sat in the audience, wearing blue clad tee-shirts announcing on the back of their shirts that “SENIORS VOTE”. The entire Council on Aging was present, with their spokespersons, former Attleboro State Rep and City Councilor John Lepper, and retired City Council President Frank Cook. They both gave a presentation requesting the City Council to approve a feasibility study motion sent down from Mayor Heroux in February. 

The proposed motion has sat without a committee vote since it was sent to the Finance Committee on February 15. It reads:

From the docket of February 15, 2022:

“I entertain a motion to appropriate $150,000 to fund a feasibility study for a new senior center.”

The following letter was submitted by the Council on Aging on May 3.

Dear Council President DiLisio and Municipal Councilors:

We, the Board members of the Council on Aging, strongly encourage you to vote, without further delay, to approve the mayor’s request that $150,000 be appropriated for a Council on Aging feasibility study. For many years the COA Board has understood that the current Attleboro Senior Center at 25 South Main Street is inadequate to meet the needs of Attleboro’s growing senior population.

While it is self-evident to us that a different, larger facility with adequate parking is needed, we understand that not everyone, even in city government, is aware of this. To document the extent of this deficiency the Council on Aging commissioned (in 2019), a study entitled, “Aging in the City of Attleboro”. We appreciate that nearly all of you, (the City Councilors) supported the appropriation that funded this study. The Gerontology Institute at UMass Boston conducted the yearlong study. It included over one thousand Attleboro seniors, and a peer community comparison with Barnstable, Chicopee, Haverhill, Leominster, Peabody, and Taunton. The study was published in June 2020 and is available on the Attleboro city website. 

The primary conclusion of the study was, “The physical space and location of the Attleboro COA does not currently meet the needs and interests of the Attleboro older adult population (pg. 9 of the study). Compared to its peer communities, Attleboro’s Senior Center is the oldest and smallest space.” (Page 78 of the study). Under the skillful leadership of Amanda Blount, director of Attleboro’s Literacy Center, a strategic plan was developed to implement the recommendations of this study.

The mayor submitted a request in February 2022, for a $150,000 appropriation to produce a feasibility study for a new senior center. The study will determine the parameters of the facility, what it will cost, and where it can be sited. COA Director Melissa Tucker has appeared before the City Council and the Finance Committee explaining the need for this feasibility study. She was accompanied by Jack Jacobi, Chair of the Municipal Building Commission, who explained the purpose of a feasibility study. The Finance Committee has asked for additional data and. to the best of her ability. Director Tucker has provided it.

It is now May. The mayor’s request has been before you for three months. The Council on Aging Board strongly advocates that you expedite a vote on the feasibility study. We fully understand the burden placed on the Finance Committee as budget determinations for fiscal year 2023 approach. 

Therefore, it is time to act on the feasibility study appropriation before budgetary considerations dominate the City Council’s time and effort.

Respectfully submitted.

Joseph Feroce, Chair

Carol O’Connor, Vice-Chair

Dr. Raymond Guilette, Secretary

Marion Aspinall

Dr. Steven Bensson

Frank Cook

Karen Hammond

David Larson

John A. Lepper

Juliet Teixera

Kurt Wheaton

One major piece of limited business occurred in the brief City Council meeting that followed the public hearings:

  1. The City Council voted 10 to 0 to approve a loan order of $5,2000,000 to replace the ozone system at the west street water treatment plant. This includes the design, permitting, bidding, construction, and construction oversight costs at the plant, located at 1296 West Street, Attleboro.

As explained by our Water Dept. Director recently, this loan is needed to keep Attleboro’s water treatment plant working effectively. This expenditure cannot be delayed or avoided.

All my best,

Ty

Ty’s City Council News: April 26, 2022

An extremely busy meeting this evening. We went through both committee meetings, followed by a full city council meeting. The following votes were made the City Council as a whole:

  1. Special Committee for Tax Abatement: Chair – Richard Conti
  1. Approved 8 to 1 a senior means exemption to relieve some of the property tax burden of qualified senior Attleboro residents.
  • The property must be owned and occupied by one or more persons who qualified for the state circuit breaker income tax credit the previous calendar year.
  • The property is owned by:
    • A single taxpayer aged 65 or older, or
    • Jointly by taxpayers as long as one is 65 or older and the joint taxpayer is 60 or over by December 31 of the previous year.
  • The property is the domicile (home) of the taxpayer(s).
  • The residential unit has been owned at least 10 consecutive years at the current Attleboro address.
  • The maximum assessed value of the property (home) is not greater than the prior fiscal year’s maximum assessed value to qualify for the circuit breaker income tax credit as set by the mass/ dept. Of revenue.
    Property taxes shall not be reduced more than 50% by this exemption.
  • Attleboro’s board of assessors has approved the application for the exemption.

There are more details that need to be explained by the board of assessors. However, first you would have to learn if you qualify for the circuit breaker income tax credit. Seniors can learn this information via Attleboro’s city assessor office.  Please give the assessor’s office some time before calling them. They need to be prepared for inquiries.

No exemption shall be granted under this act (which lasts three years unless reaffirmed by a vote of the Attleboro city council) unless the Mass. Dept. of Revenue certifies Attleboro’s residential tax rate including:

  • A burden shift within the residential tax levy. This means that all residents pay more property tax to cover the tax break that eligible seniors would get via the circuit breaker exemption.

Repeat: this act shall expire after three years unless the Attleboro City Council reaffirms this senior tax exemption.

Ty’s comments: This landmark tax policy gives those seniors who desperately need help a way to afford their property taxes. Meanwhile, that break is supported by the rest of Attleboro’s property tax owners. This means we are truly one community… A city where those who can help…. Assist those who might otherwise lose their homes during their senior years. I supported this senior tax exemption with the understanding I would not personally benefit. I, like many others, will pay a bit more in taxes to help fellow Attleboro seniors who need our help to stay in their homes. Seniors like myself will be helping fellow seniors who need the help.

  • License Committee:  Chair – Ty Waterman
  1. Approved 9-0 Leach Garner, Inc. application to sore flammables (hydrogen refrigerated liquid) at 49 Pearl Street, Attleboro.
  • Public works committee: Chair – Laura Dolan
  1. Approved 9-0 to appropriate $1,097,000 to construct a sidewalk (on one side of the street) on Read Street. Many residents have testified to the dangers of walking on the side of this long street and it will allow folks to safely live alongside this busy, major road in Attleboro.)
  • Finance Committee: Chair – Richard Conti
  1. Approved 9-0 the 2022 CDBG entitlement program – (Attleboro programs supported via the US Dept of Housing and Urban Development) for fiscal year 2023. 
  • Approved 9-0 a five-year plan for capital improvement program, 2023-2027. The plan includes the following projects, but is yet funded:
  • Management information systems; replace cisco switches.
  • Council on aging: replace rooftop HVAC system (with ARPA funds).
  • Fire department: Twin Village renovation phase 1 design.
  • Library: carpeting.
  • Planning & development: upgrade comprehensive plan.
  • Recreation department; Bartek HVAC system.
  • School department: Hill Roberts HVAC, Hyman Fine HVAC, Willett HVAC, Willett roof

The projects total $3,228,657 in recommendations. The city believes the ever-growing list of capital improvement projects need a line item to minimize the bigger cost of deferred maintenance.

  • IT & Infrastructure Committee: Chair – Todd Kobus
  1. Approved 9-0 a motion to transfer $160,000 from cannabis impact free money to the Attleboro police records room digital storage project. All police files would be scanned and indexed. The garage which currently houses the police records would then be converted back to the original use. 
  • City property Committee: Chair – Sara-Lynn Reynolds
  1. Approved 9-0 to accept the generous donation of three printers to the Attleboro Public Library from Sensata Technologies. Estimated value: $1,500. This is another of several nice donations from Sensata to our library!
  • Approved 9 to 0 to approve $9,996 for a consultant to assist the Attleboro Historical Commission with ranking the inventory included in the Mass. Historical Commission.
  • Approved 9-0 to accept the generous donation of 108 N95 masks from Seabra foods.
  • Approved 9-0 to accept the generous donation from the Martin Luther King Committee of Greater Attleboro for a painting The Beloved Community Triptych” for display at City Hall. Local artist Sandy Coleman created the painting – a wonderful gift from Sandy Coleman and the MLK committee.
  • Personnel, Veterans’, and Human Services Committee: Chair – Michael Angelo.
  1. Approved 9-0 to accept generous donations from the Holiday Spirit Committee of $435 to
    • the Health Department’s outreach office
    • the Council on aging for $325 in gift cards
    • the veterans’ office of $275 in stop and shop gift cards and $125 in market basket gift cards. 
  2. Approved 9-0 to accept a generous donation of $1,000 in stop & shop gift cards from Sons of the American Legion Post 312 to the Veterans’ Office.
  3. Approved 9-0 to accept a generous donation in CVS, Cumberland Farm, and Stop & Shop gift cards to the Veterans’ Office from Edith Meehan.

These wonderful donations illustrate the generosity of Attleboro residents and city employees for people in need.

  • Ordinance committee: Chair – Cathleen DiSimone
  1. Approved 9-0 to amend fees to the Capron Park Zoo. These are the first fee upgrades in many years and needed to continue quality care for the animals and the zoo.
  • Public safety committee: Chair – Peter Blais
  1. Approved 9-0 for $5,742.00 for new bedding throughout the fire department. 

This was the first time in recent memory that new bedding was purchased for our firefighters. Many thanks to each of our firefighter’s for their expertise, commitment, and protection of all our citizens!

Public hearings – May 3, 2022

  • Waive ordinance 11-15.2 to allow serving alcoholic beverages or wine on city property, from the Burgundian restaurant at 55 Park Street from April thru October.
  • Waive ordinance 11-15.2 to allow serving alcoholic beverages or wine on city property, from Morin’s at 16 South Main Street from May thru October.
  • Address the request from Old Colony Habitat for Humanity to waive certain permit fees for the construction of the next habitat building on Pike Avenue.
  • Discuss the proposed amendment to ordinance 10-4.11 “isolated stop signs” by adding westbound drivers on Jewel Avenue at Hawthorne Street.