Holyoke City Council Meeting Text Size

Event takes place on February 03, 2015 at 7:00 PM
City Council Chambers, 536 Dwight St. Holyoke, MA

February 3,2015


1.    The Committee on Ordinance to whom was referred a special permit application for Carmen Garcia for a new motor vehicle repair garage at 640 South Bridge St. have considered the same and recommend that the application be approved under the condition that a letter is received from the plumbing inspector confirming that the building does have the oil/gas separator (MDC trap).

2.    From Jacqueline Harris, resident of the City of Holyoke, letter with suggestion on Northampton St. Shoprite, at Kmart plaza

3.    That the City Council advertise and fill the 2 other open positions on the Geriatric Authority Commission



4.    From Mayor Alex B. Morse, letter re-appointing Mr. Bellamy H. Schmidt to the position of Temporary Auditor, effective Tuesday, January 13, 2015.  Mr. Schmidt will continue working until the City Council fills the position, in his capacity as the Temporary Auditor, Mr. Schmidt will serve as a member of the Retirement Board for the City of Holyoke

5.    From Brenna Murphy McGee, City Clerk, minutes from City council meeting on January 20, 2015

6.    From Jon D. Lumbra, City Treasurer, letter of resignation as City Treasurer and Tax Title Custodian, effective February 13, 2015.

7.    From Jon D. Lumbra, City Treasurer, letter re:  property awarded to the City via land Court Decree (16 South Bridge St.)

8.    From Jon D. Lumbra, City Treasurer, letter re:  Property awarded to the City via  Land Court Decree, (17 South Bridge St.)

9.    From Bellamy H. Schmidt, Acting City Auditor, Monthly Budget Reports for the General Fund and Waste Water Treatment Plant as of November 30, 2014

10.    From Alicia M. Zoeller, Administrator Office of Community Development, letter re:  FFY 2015 Community Development Block Grant Applications

11.    From Board of Fire Commissioners, minutes from December 15, 2014

12.    From Thomas J. O’Connor Animal Control and Adoption Center, meeting minutes of Supervisory Board from August 20, 2014

13.    From Patricia Tenney, letter requesting to be removed from all accounts associated with the City Treasurer’s Office.

14.    From Holyoke parents, teachers, students and concerned citizens call on the Holyoke City Council to pass a resolution against the state takeover of Holyoke Public Schools

15.    From abutting landowner protest against Greater Holyoke YMCA zone change at 399 Appleton St.

16.    From Holyoke Catholic High School, annual beano report


17.    Petition of James Channing, Pride Limited Partnership for a special permit for a non-conforming structure at 1553 Dwight St.



18.    Ordinance Committee Reports (if any)

19.    Finance Committee Reports (if any)

19A.    The Committee on Finance to whom was referred an order that in accordance with M.G.L. Chapter 44 Sec. 53A, the City Council hereby accepts the provisions of the “Roving Archivist Strategic Assessment” grant and authorizes the establishment of a Fund or other method appropriate for the accounting of the receipts and expenditures of all resources associated with the administration of said grant.  Recommend that the order be adopted

19B.    The Committee on Finance to whom was referred an order that the City Council be given an update by the City Auditor regarding the local option meals tax and the revenue that this meals tax has generated for the city. This local option meals tax was adopted by a vote of 11-2 on May 6, 2014.  Recommend that the order has been complied with

19C.    The Committee on Finance to whom was referred Second Hand License application for ECOatm 28 Lincoln St. Holyoke MA  Recommend that the order be given leave to withdraw

20.    Public Safety Committee Reports (if any)

21.    Public Service Committee Reports (if any)

22.    Development and Governmental Relations Committee Reports (if any)

22A.    The Committee on Development and Governmental Relations to whom was referred an order that Holyoke City Council adopt a resolution in support of expanding the Massachusetts Bottle Bill.  awaiting disposition

22B.    The Committee on Development and Governmental Relations to whom was referred an order that the City Council approve Marcotte Ford’s TIF application.  Awaiting disposition

22C.    The Committee on Development and Governmental Relations to whom was referred an order that the City Council redevelopment Committee invite Eric Suher and any casino developers to present any casino plans  awaiting disposition

22D.    The Committee on Development and Governmental Relations to whom was referred an order that the council invite the Planning Department to a meeting of the committee on D&GR to make a presentation on the nature, purpose, benefits and drawbacks of our current zoning system and zoning map.  awaiting disposition

22E.    The Committee on Development and Governmental Relations to whom was referred an order that the Development & Governmental Relations Committee invite in the Historical Commission and Office of Community Development, and OPED to discuss what is needed to update the City’s Historic Inventory and foster development of a plan to accomplish this task.  awaiting disposition

22F.    The Committee on Development and Governmental Relations to whom was referred an order that the Development & Governmental Relations Committee work with the Historical Commission, Office of Community Development, Building Commissioner, and Fire Department to develop a risk assessment tool with objective criteria to determine the level of each property’s risk of loss and of potential harm to neighbors or the public. This assessment tool should be performed on each property in the Historic Inventory. Such a tool would facilitate a triage for intervention and allow prioritization for attention.  awaiting disposition

22G.    The Committee on Development and Governmental Relations to whom was referred an order that the Fire Dept and Building Dept come in to discuss the status of 213-215 Chestnut St. and 108-116 Essex St. as it relates to this building being occupied  awaiting disposition

22H.    The Committee on Development and Governmental Relations to whom was referred an order that the Ordinance committee review the procedures for building demolitions and determine if new ordinances can and need to be adopted to have greater transparency and accountability during the process.  awaiting disposition

22I.    The Committee on Development and Governmental Relations to whom was referred an order that the park and recreation department come in and provide an updated report regarding the Scott’s tower revitalization project.  awaiting disposition

22J.    The Committee on Development and Governmental Relations to whom was referred an order that the park and recreation department develop an RFP for the redevelopment of the Scott Towers area. A committee should be established and community involvement/ideas offered in the manner that was done for the community field project.  awaiting disposition

23.    Charter and Rules Committee Reports (if any)


24.    MCGEE    —    that there be and is hereby appropriated by transfer in the fiscal year 2015, Thirty-five thousand and 00/100 Dollars ($35,000) as follows: (DPW)

*****-*****    General Fund Free Cash        $35,000
        TOTAL:    $35,000
1391-58000    Exhibit Hall HVAC        $35.000
        TOTAL:    $35,000

25.    SOTO    —    That a handicap sign be placed in front of 11 Temple St. for Christine Balise, Placard #P68810115, Exp:  Sept. 30, 2018

26.    VACON    —     That the Treasurer provide to the City Council a complete list of all accounts with his name and any other past or present named city employees on the accounts before February 13, 2015.  That an explanation be provided in writing as to why the Mass Depository Trust is seeking the release of funds from a past employee of the Treasurer’s office for an account at People’s Bank in excess of $11,000.00.

27.    VALENTIN    —    That the City of Holyoke explores ways to make the City website more accessible to Spanish-speaking citizens. Almost 50% of Holyoke residents are Latinos, and many are monolingual in Spanish

28.    VALENTIN    —    That in an effort to make city government more accessible to Spanish-speaking citizens and to promote more civic engagement among citizens whose first language is Spanish, that the City of Holyoke explores ways in which City Council meetings can be translated into Spanish

29.    ALEXANDER    —    Whereas: It is nearly impossible to follow legislative actions from original filing through committee to final disposition

Ordered: That all future agenda items be given a unique item sequence number as follows:  Using the date of the Council meeting where an item is first placed on an agenda and the item number on that agenda, the item will both on that agenda and henceforth on all subsequent committee or full council agendas be given a tracking number of YYMMDD-##, for example the first item on this agenda will be given the permanent tracking number 150203-01 and referred to as such on all subsequent agenda appearances.

30.    ALEXANDER    —    Whereas: The Community Preservation Act allows communities to preserve open space & historic sites and to develop recreational opportunities and affordable housing, and provides certain state funds to assist in these endeavors:

Ordered:  That the Council consider adoption of MGL 44B; The Community Preservation Act.

31.    ALEXANDER    —    Whereas: The first Council meeting of the year often includes brand new Councilors and year-end reviews are often incomplete at this point:

Ordered:  That no Council appointments be considered at this first meeting and that the Charter and any Ordinances mandating appointments by the Council be altered to defer such appointments to a more appropriate point in the annual cycle.

32.    ALEXANDER    —    Whereas:  Postal Mail is no longer the preferred method of communication of a majority of the Council members

Ordered:  That the Council adopt a new Rule requiring that each Councilor provide to the Administrative Assistant to the Council and to the City Clerk at the start of each year their preferred address, either conventional mail or email, to be recognized as that Councilor’s “usual address” for the purposes of communication.

33.    ALEXANDER    —    Whereas:  There will be no casino built in Holyoke

Ordered:  That the Council dissolve the Committee on a Holyoke Casino created in 2012

34.    ALEXANDER    —    Whereas: Minerals, Fossils and other natural resources on public lands belong to all the citizens of Holyoke

Ordered:   That the Council adopt an ordinance to prohibit such takings on lands owned by the city or any city controlled agency.

35.    ALEXANDER    —    Whereas:  The riverside cliff to the north of Jones Point Park has been the site of multiple accidents and at least one death,

Ordered:  That the DPW install prominent “Danger” signs at high rock indicating the risks present at the site.

36.    ALEXANDER    —    Whereas: Holyoke is an ecologically diverse city with multiple at risk ecological niches, a majority of the city is classified as endangered species habitat and the City is home to many state and federally listed endangered, threatened or protected species; and whereas invasive species represent a primary threat to at risk species and their habitats

Ordered: That the City adopt an invasive species ordinance banning the introduction, propagation or distribution of state listed invasive species and develop a plan for their eventual elimination on both public and private lands throughout the city.

37.    ALEXANDER    —    Whereas:  Extremely loud car and home music systems represent an unreasonable intrusion into others’ rights to quiet enjoyment

Ordered:  That Ordinance 38-73 “Prohibited Noises” be amended to include both stationary and mobile music sources.

38.    ALEXANDER    —    Whereas:  The City currently has zoning controls on public parking lots but less control on the parking of vehicles in residential areas

Ordered:  That the city adopt Ordinances to control the position, size and other attributes of parking areas in residential zones, and limitations on the number and type of vehicle appropriate for each zone.

39.    ALEXANDER    —    Whereas:  The Council and other bodies routinely receive requests to renew existing Special Permits for a variety of uses and activities:

Ordered: That all permit renewals applications include a list of any/all special conditions attached to the original Permit, plus a file documenting any complaints/violations/remedial actions taken before renewal can be granted.

40.    ALEXANDER    —    Whereas: The Commonwealth has authorized remote participation by members of public bodies for the purposes of
debate and voting when a member cannot physically attend but wishes to participate, and whereas the process by which the City adopt this procedure is via Mayoral Authorization:

Ordered: That the Council recommend to the Mayor that the Mayor authorize the City to adopt 940 CMR 29.10(2)(a),
 allowing remote participation.

41.    ALEXANDER    —    Whereas:

Ordered: That the Counsel to the Council be provided with a microphone at her desk, and internet connection and printer access at her laptop when in Council chambers so that s/he may address the Council from her desk and be better able to provide needed information and documents.

Further ordered that if needed a Rule be created to allow our Counsel to address the Council from her desk.

42.    ALEXANDER    —    Whereas:

Ordered:  That the parcel at 175 Oak Street (NW corner Oak and Appleton, parcel number 061-07-008) be declared surplus and put out for sale via RFP.

43.    ALEXANDER    —    Loan Order
(Boiler and HVAC Projects – Morgan and E.N. White Elementary Schools)

In City Council:

Ordered: That the City of Holyoke appropriates the amount of Seven Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($750,000) for the purpose of paying costs of replacing or modernizing boilers, heating and ventilation systems at the Morgan Elementary School, located at 596 South Bridge Street in Holyoke, and the E.N. White Elementary School, located on One Jefferson Street in Holyoke, including the payment of all costs incidental or related thereto (collectively, the “Projects”), which proposed repair projects would materially extend the useful life of the schools and preserve assets that otherwise are capable of supporting the required educational program, for which the City has applied for a grant from the Massachusetts School Building Authority (“MSBA”), said amount to be expended under the direction of School Committee. To meet this appropriation the City Treasurer, with the approval of the Mayor, is authorized to borrow said amount under M.G.L. Chapter 44, or pursuant to any other enabling authority. The City acknowledges that the MSBA’s grant program is a non-entitlement, discretionary program based on need, as determined by the MSBA, and if the MSBA’s Board of Directors votes to invite the City to collaborate with the MSBA on this proposed repair project, any project costs the City incurs in excess of any grant that may be approved by and received from the MSBA shall be the sole responsibility of the City; and that, if invited to collaborate with the MSBA on the proposed repair projects, the amount of borrowing authorized pursuant to this vote shall be reduced by any grant amount set forth in the Project Funding Agreement or Agreements that may be executed between the City and the MSBA with respect the Projects.

Further Ordered: That the Treasurer is authorized to file an application to qualify under Chapter44A of the General Laws any and all of the bonds or notes authorized to be issued pursuant to this Order, and to provide such information and execute such documents as may be required for such purposes.

 Further Ordered: That in order to reduce interest costs, the City Treasurer, with the approval of the Mayor, is authorized to refinance any bonds issues pursuant to this Order and in connection therewith, to issue refunding bonds in accordance with Chapter 44, Section 21A of the General Laws.

44.    BARTLEY    —     “Ordered: That the Council accept an easement from the Connecticut River Watershed Council that will grant the City of Holyoke the right to construct a pedestrian hiking trail on a parcel of land located off of
Mountain Road identified within the City Assessor’s database as Map Block Parcel 194-00-004.  Furthermore, order that the council authorize the Mayor to execute any and all documents necessary to accept said easement.  Finally, this Easement shall be held under the custody and control of the Holyoke Conservation Commission under the authority granted it under MGL Chapter 40, Section 8C, to be managed for passive recreation only, under the rights and responsibilities of Article 97 of the Amendments to the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”

45.    BARTLEY    —    To ordain 2 parking spaces for use only of ZIP Car at either the Mayor Proulx or Mayor Taupier garage.  To request that the Mayor renegotiate the city’s contract with the company to charge and collect a rental fee.

46.    JOURDAIN    —    That the City Council adopt the following Resolution and send a copy to the state education commissioner, our elected state officials, and school committee.
Resolved, that the Holyoke City Council officially goes on record in strong support of the preservation of local control of our public schools, and is opposed to a potential state takeover of our school system.  The City of Holyoke is blessed to have so many outstanding teachers, administrators and staff working for the best interests of our children.  They need and deserve our support.  We have confidence in their ability to effectuate positive change for our children and to obtain the ambitious goals to improve test scores.  While we would appreciate any feedback and additional educational and financial resources the state can further provide us, a potential takeover by the state of the entire school system is wholly premature and inappropriate.  The Holyoke School department through its school committee and Superintendent is implementing a comprehensive plan to improve the educational experience of all students. It  also need time to be implemented fully; 18 months is not sufficient time to assess the implementation of this plan.

47.    JOURDAIN    —    That the City Council invite in and hear from the School Superintendent and other appropriate school personnel on their plans to improve the school system as well as a discussion of the potential for a state takeover of our school system. 

The listing of matters are those reasonably anticipated by the chair which may be discussed at the meeting.  
Not all items listed may in fact be discussed and other items not listed may also be brought up for discussion to the extent permitted by law

                  City Clerk

Posted on January 30, 2015 by