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Holyoke City Council Meeting 2-2-21

Feb 2 2021

7:00 pm Remote by Zoom

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AGENDA FOR THE CITY COUNCIL
February 2,2021

PUBLIC COMMENT

 

COMMUNICATIONS

1. From Crystal Barnes, Acting City Solicitor, letter re: New Ordinance Language.

2. From Sandra Smith, City Treasurer letter of resignation effective February 26, 2021.

3. From City Clerk Brenna Murphy McGee and Administrative Assistant Jeffrey Anderson-Burgos, minutes from the January 19, 2021 meeting.

4. From City Clerk Brenna Murphy McGee Grant Election report and Extension approval letter.

5. From Marcos A. Marrero Director Office of Planning & Economic Development re: Final Grant Reports (Small Business Relief Partnership).

6. Communication from DGR Committee re: scheduled meeting on January 25, 2021 regarding decision to refer the procedural of waiving 120 day Notice to acquire the parcel.

7. From The Community Preservation Committee, re: proposal to fund the Wistariahurst Repairs Project.

8. From Holyoke School Department, list of 100 Top Paid Employees.

9. Communication received from University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Saul Weing Arnstein & Lehr re: final investigative report Alex Morse matter.

10. From Ruth Bourquin, Senior & Managing Attorney & Jessica Lewis, Staff Attorney for American Civil liberties union foundation re: Notice of obligation under the SJU decision in Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless.

11. From Thomas J. O'Connor Animal Control, information on social media, disposition summary, adoptions. and holyoke animal calls.

12. CDBG/HOME Programs public hearing and meeting of the Citizens Advisory Committee Notice.

13. From Canna Provisions Inc. 380 Dwight St. re: Annual Special permit Reporting.

14. From Board of Fire Commission minutes of December 17, 2020.

PRESIDENT'S REPORT

 

REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

15. Ordinance Committee Reports (if any)

15A. The Committee on Ordinance to whom was referred an order that in an effort to enhance food access and security for our residents during these uncertain times that we expedite a backyard chicken ordinance as well as review of the permitting process for community gardens to ensure that it facilitates easy access and use of such sites. Recommended that the order be adopted.

15B. The Committee on Ordinance to whom was referred an order that Sec 86-97 of the City's Parking Ordinance be struck from the city's parking ordinances:
Sec 86-97. -All night parking
No person shall allow, permit or suffer any vehicles registered in his name, other than one acting in an emergency, to be parked on any street in the downtown area between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. of any day. Recommended that the order be adopted..

15C. The Committee on Ordinance to whom was referred an order that the ordinance committee consider an ordinance which would create a penalty for any driver handing out anything from the car window when in a traffic lane as a traffic safety violation. Recommended that the order be adopted.

15D. The Committee on Ordinance to whom was referred an order the mayor, the auditor, and the city’s financial team as needed, provide draft internal controls on how city grants are to be administered so that future governments (re: city taxpayers) are not faced with paying for administrative shortfalls. Recommended that the order be adopted.

15E. The Committee on Ordinance to whom was referred an order Zone Change Application from BL to BH for Holyoke Gas & Electric for alignment with municipal business operations at 91 Walnut St. Recommended giving a leave to withdraw wihtout prejudice.

16. Finance Committee Reports (if any)

16A. 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 "FY2021 HOLYOKE CITY HALL STAINED GLASS WINDOW PHASE III; CONTRACT AMOUNT $50,000, CONTRACT END DATE 06/30/2021, NO MATCH " 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. Recommended that the grant be accepted.

16B. 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 "GREENING THE GATEWAY CITIES MUNICIPAL ASSISTANCE, AMOUNT $20,000, CONTRACT END DATE 06/30/2021, IN KIND MATCH $5,210" 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. Recommended that the grant be accepted.

16C. The Committee on Finance to whom was referred an order that the city council accept the amendment to the grant contract already approved by the Council from the Community Preservation Committee to extend the funding deadline for MIFA/Victory Theatre. Recommended that the amendment be accepted.

16D. The Committee on Finance to whom was referred an order that there be and is hereby appropriated by transfer in the fiscal year 2021, ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND AND 00 /100 Dollars ($100,000.00) as follows:
FROM:
8810-59710 STABILIZATION-TR TO G/F $100,000.00
TOTAL: $100,000.00
TO:
14252-53100 SNOW REMOVAL SERVICES $100,000.00
TOTAL: $100,000.00 Recommended that the transfer be approved.

16E. The Committee on Finance to whom was referred an order that there be and is hereby appropriated by transfer in the fiscal year 2021, SEVENTY FIVE THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED TWENTY THREE AND 00 /100 Dollars ($75,823.00) as follows:
FROM:
11511-51101 PAY-SOLICITOR $75,823.00
TOTAL: $75,823.00
TO:
11512-53010 SPECIAL COUNSEL SERVICES $75,823.00
TOTAL: $75,823.00 Recommended that the transfer be approved.

16F. The Committee on Finance to whom was referred an order that, in accordance with Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 59, sec. 38H, the City Council approve and ratify an agreement between the City of Holyoke and Growing Holyoke, LLC for payment in lieu of taxes (“PILOT”) of certain personal property tax obligations for the property located at 150 Whiting Farms Road. Recommended that the order be approved.

16G. The Committee on Finance to whom was referred an order that, in accordance with Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 59, sec. 38H, the City Council approve and ratify an agreement between the City of Holyoke and Jackson Canal, LLC, for payment in lieu of taxes (“PILOT”) of certain personal property tax obligations for the property located at 84 Sargeant Street. Recommended that the order be approved.

16H. The Committee on Finance to whom was referred an order that, in accordance with Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 59, sec. 38H, the City Council approve and ratify an agreement between the City of Holyoke and Scannell Solar, LLC, for payment in lieu of taxes (“PILOT”) of certain personal property tax obligations for the property located at 75 Appleton Street. Recommended that the order be approved.

16I. The Committee on Finance to whom was referred an order that the City of Holyoke’s park and Rec dept rebuild a concrete outdoor Handball Court. Holyoke once had three courts and now they are down to one wooden one. Recommended that the order has been complied with, and referred to Parks and Recreation for a CPA and CDBG application.

17. Public Safety Committee Reports (if any)

17A. The Committee on Public Safety to whom was referred an order that In an abundance of caution and taking into consideration all of the continuous accidents on Walnut and Cabot, a bigger Stop Sign with lights on it would be most beneficial and would make this corner much safer. Lots of pedestrians utilize this intersection and although most of the accidents are involving vehicles, these measures will ensure pedestrian safety. Recommended that the order has been complied with

17B. The Committee on Public Safety to whom was referred an order that representatives from Action Ambulance come to a meeting of the public safety committee to discuss response times and other pertinent issues. Recommended that the order has been complied with.

17C. The Committee on Public Safety to whom was referred an order that the Police Department provide an update on drug overdose/deaths for the last two years. Also provide an update on drug dealing arrests and crime stats, including shootings & murders in the last two years, and to also include statistics that show a comparison of Holyoke residents versus those who are from out of the city. Recommended that the order has been complied with.

17D. The Committee on Public Safety to whom was referred an order that the public safety committee invite in David Conti and the water commissioners into discuss and get an update on the water filtration system. Recommended that the order has been complied with.

17E. The Committee on Public Safety to whom was referred an order that three additional speed limit postings of 30 miles per hour be placed in strategic locations on Mountain Road. Excessive speed on that road has become a severe safety hazard. Recommended that the order has been complied with.

17F. The Committee on Public Safety to whom was referred an order The Property Preservation Group (f/k/a problem property group), Building commissioner, and Mayor’s Office come before the city council’s public safety committee and provide an update to City Council regarding the “top 20” list of problem buildings, the efforts of the City to remove these buildings from the list, and an update on the balance of funds in the City’s vacant property budget. Recommended that the order has been complied with.

18. Public Service Committee Reports (if any)

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

19A. The Committee on Development and Governmental Relations to whom was referred an order Amendment to the FY2019 Annual Plan to incorporate CDBG-CV Funds (Part II - Round 3) in the amount of $486,324.00. Recommended that the amendment be approved.

19B. The Committee on Development and Governmental Relations to whom was referred an order Letter from Trustees of Reservations requesting support for waiver of 120 day notice period for DCR to acquire parcel. Referred back to committee without recommendation.

19C. The Committee on Development and Governmental Relations to whom was referred an order Pursuant 301 CMR 51.07(1)(b), I, Todd McGee, Chairman of the City Council of the City of Holyoke, hereby agree to waive the 120 day notice period as required by said section as to a parcel of land of approximately 21.745 acres in the City of Holyoke, shown on Exhibit A attached hereto, in which the Department of Conservation and Recreation is considering acquiring an interest. Map-Lot 217-00-006 Referred back to committee without recommendation.

19D. The Committee on Development and Governmental Relations to whom was referred an order Resolution related to GAH (Geriatric Authority of Holyoke) sale Referred back to committee without recommendation.

19E. The Committee on Development and Governmental Relations to whom was referred an order Special Permit Application of Gina and Raquel Fasoli Figueroa for a painting business at 145 Mountain View Drive (Map 135 Block 00 Parcel 006). Recommended that the application be approved with the following four conditions: 1. That there be no signage, 2. That all materials be stored indoors, 3. That the van be garaged from 7pm-7am daily, commencing 6 months from the date of the permit issue, 4. That there be no deliveries.

19F. The Committee on Development and Governmental Relations to whom was referred an order Special Permit Application of Jill LaBeau for a driveway at the front of the house, facing the house at 23 O’Connor Ave. (Map 074 Block 00 Parcel 024). Recommended that the application be approved.

19G. The Committee on Development and Governmental Relations to whom was referred an order that the DGR committee meet with Holyoke Media about the possibility of having more programming on Ch 15. Is it possible to have some regular half hour programs which could both entertain and inform residents? Recommended that the order has been complied with.

19H. The Committee on Development and Governmental Relations to whom was referred an order that the DGR committee meet with Holyoke Media, the mayor, the health director, and representatives from the Opioid Substance Abuse Task Force program, to present a five to ten minute video to be televised on Ch 15 on the importance of persons not contributing to panhandlers. The emphasis should be on the negative impact of doing so, in terms of panhandlers rejecting offers which could much more significantly improve the quality of their lives. Once the program is completed, it should be shown just prior to city council meetings on Ch 15. Recommended that the order has been complied with.

19I. The Committee on Development and Governmental Relations to whom was referred an order The Law Department provide an update to the City Council on the City’s Receivership program. This is our semi-annual review. Recommended that the order has been complied with.

20. Charter and Rules Committee Reports (if any)

21. Joint City Council and School Committee Reports (if any)

MOTIONS, ORDERS AND RESOLUTIONS

22. LISI -- that the Holyoke City Council adopt a Resolution Opposing
ANDERSON-BURGOS Internet Data Caps & Committing to Analyzing Internet
HERNANDEZ Access and Affordability (see attached for full text).
LEBRON-MARTINEZ

23. MCGEE -- that the DPW report before the public safety committee to address the city council chamber back room area (mainly addressing upgrades and fixing the odors associated with the area).

24. MCGEE -- Ordered that the Personnel Department post the position or Treasuer and the Public Service Committee begin interviews so the City Council can appoint a Treasurer to fill the unexpired term of Sandra Smith.

25. MCGEE -- that the city council call/have an executive session and invite in the legal department to get an update on cases.

26. MCGIVERIN -- that there be and is hereby appropriated by transfer in the fiscal year 2021, SEVEN THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED FOURTEEN AND 60/100 Dollars ($7,114.60) as follows:

FROM:
16101-51110 REFERENCE LIBRARY ASST. - NIGHT $7,114.60
TOTAL: $7,114.60
TO:
16101-51102 REFERENCE LIBRARY ASSISTANT $7,114.60
TOTAL: $7,114.60

27. MCGIVERIN -- that there be and is hereby appropriated by transfer in the fiscal year 2021, THIRTEEN THOUSAND NINE HUNDRED TWENTY SEVEN AND 39/100 Dollars ($13,927.39) as follows:

FROM:
16101-51111 LIBRARY ASSISTANT-NIGHT $13,927.39
TOTAL: $13,927.39
TO:
16101-51107 LIBRARY ASSISTANT $10,000.00
16101-51102 REFERENCE LIBRARY ASSISTANT 3,927.39
TOTAL: $13,927.39

28. MCGEE -- That with the reconvening of the review process and
LISI discussion on the middle school project- The Joint
committee of City council and School Committee meet
and invite in the Mayor, school department/receiver,
treasurer, members of the city finance team and members
of the community to review the feasibility study and
MSBA financing and collect the necessary data requested
by the MSBA in order to better assess the project/proposal.

29. SULLIVAN -- That the Holyoke City Council approve a grant to Wisteriahurst Museum for electrical upgrades in the amount of $55,000.  Unanimously approved by the Community Preservation Committee, this is to make up the difference for a shortfall in a previously approved project.  Shortfall was caused by an interruption in fundraising efforts caused by pandemic.  Total project cost is $356,876 of which 104,500 was approved in fy20.
Motion to receive and adopt.

30. BARTLEY -- The Ordinance committee and City Council consider removal of M.G.L. chapter 85, Section 17A, from the city of Holyoke's list of adopted state statutes.  The SJC recently ruled the law to be unconstitutional.  Moreover, the Law Dept. is recommending this

 

 

Addendum:
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

*** Meeting will take place remotely and can be accessed via www.zoom.us Meeting ID:  814 0787 0473 Meeting Passcode: 634568 or by call in at 1 (929)205-6099 with same Meeting ID and Passcode.  ***

REGULAR MEETING OF THE CITY COUNCIL
February 2,2021

The meeting was called to order by President McGee at 07:03 PM.

The Clerk called the roll. Absent members: 1 (Lebron-Martinez) Present Members 13 (Anderson-Burgos, Bartley, Greaney, Hernandez, Leahy, Lebron-Martinez, Lisi, McGee, McGiverin, Murphy, Sullivan, Tallman, Vacon ).

The name of Councilor Anderson-Burgos was drawn to head the roll call voting.

 

PUBLIC COMMENT
Jennifer Howard, representing Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). Stated that she was addressing an order for a 120-day notice and waiver request and concerning the request and statements when DCR was not represented. Noted that DGR discussed on January 25th. Clarified that DCR was not taking the property. Stated that DCR holds option on property granted by Mt. Tom, which was referenced in the deed for quarry. Noted that DCR acquired quarry parcel which is home to many rare species. Also stated that the plan to acquire what a final step from 2002 to protect Mt Tom and preserve outdoor recreational opportunities. DCR notified current quarry owners of plan to exercise right. Stated that regulations require notification to municipality, and that notification had been sent to Holyoke in October.
President McGee clarified the rules of public comment, including the need to share address. Also suggested that Howard may want more time to address the council through a formal order.
Andrea Quart recalled one councilor suggested that a fair way to address the hen ordinance would be through a vote of the city. Suggested it could be the best way to value the voice of the people.
John Rivera stated that he was in support of the hen ordinance, noting its positive impact on food security. Also stated agreement with the idea of putting the issue up to a vote of the city.
President McGee read an email from Daphne Board for public comment:
“I hope that my public comment from 12/1/20, below, that was not read into the public record at that date could be summarized and read into the record tonight, since the specific item (now #6 on this agenda) is now back on the agenda. Perhaps with a quick note that it got overlooked before? Happy to also just have this entire message, including the comment from before, read.
Thanks so much,
Daphne Board
197 Pine St
Hi Councilors,
I'm in favor of several agenda items tonight, including Items 23, 24, 28, 31, and 35. In this extended pandemic time that we all have had to deal with, I've been really grateful for the ability to get outside into some of our City's beautiful natural environments. I've noticed that everyone else seems to be doing the same! Trails and reservoirs are packed, especially on nice weather weekends.
I'm in support of Item 35, where the Council would waive the 120 day notification period to align with the timeline for the Department of Conservation and Recreation to exercise its Right of First Refusal to purchase the old Mt Tom Ski Area parcel. This simple formality will have a great impact -- let's continue to improve our parks and parkland, knowing that new pandemic habits of "getting outside" will carry on once this is all over.
Similarly, Item 23, the proposal to rehab and extend Scott Tower park will benefit us all, and both projects have broad appeal to the residents of Holyoke.”
President McGee clarified that the item numbers in the comment refer to the agenda for December 1, 2020.
Admin’s note: Items 23 and 24 refer to the acceptance of CPAC grants, one to Kestral Land Trust and the other to Wayfinders. Item 28 refers to accepting an offer for Gregory M. Virgilio to purchase 416 Appleton Street. Item 31 refers to an order encouraging department heads to provide correspondence in Spanish to Spanish-speaking persons.
President McGee read an email from Jenn Michelson for public comment:
“I am writing to support item 22 on tonight’s agenda. Comcast tightening of the reins at the most inappropriate time to make profit in unacceptable. The money that they have used to build the infrastructure to public money through the rate base and treat it as a tax. In addition, getting additional federal and state lawmakers on board will be useful in pushing toward the discussion regarding fiber internet in the near future of the residents of Holyoke. This will help to keep Holyoke on a level playing field for internet access and also assist in keeping it attractive for lower internet and energy rates. Thank you for your consideration.”
President McGee read an email from Paul Payer for public comment:
“Dear Honorable Councilors:
Please accept this letter as public comment regarding agenda item 19C regarding DCR’s request to waive a procedural requirement necessary to exercise its right of first refusal to acquire a portion of the former Mt. Tom Ski Area previously owned by Holyoke Boys and Girls Club (HBGC).
I was disappointed that the City Council did not debate or vote on whether to approve DCR’s request at the Council’s December 1, 2020 meeting. Representatives from DCR were present but not granted an opportunity to respond to questions and misconceptions expressed by City Councilors—including one Councilor’s attempt to clarify the time-sensitive nature of DCR’s request. As a result, DCR was foreclosed from exercising its right of first refusal and the HBGC property subsequently transferred to a local developer on December 30, 2020. Based on an extensive discussion with the local developer at the DGR’s January 25th subcommittee meeting, it appears the local developer intends to use the property as part of a deal to offset the environmental impact of a proposed commercial project on its adjacent quarry site. It also appears that the purchase price offered by DCR may have in fact substantially exceeded the $100,000 paid by the local developer to HBGC for the 22 acre site.
The City Council should make clear its reasoning for not acting on DCR’s request because the reasons given at the December 1, 2020 are not consistent with the facts as presently understood. First, this is not an instance where DCR’s request was not timely or properly presented. It has since been clarified that DCR’s request was properly addressed to all City Councilors and the City Clerk. Second, the City did not need to follow “typical” procedures for property disposition. Unlike the disposition of city owned property, nothing in the waivable 120-day notice to local officials confers authority to approve, disapprove, or modify the terms of DCR’s acquisition of property. Third, action on DCR’s request would not have exposed the City to liability as was suggested by at least one City Councilor. The City would literally be following the law in approving a waiver provided by DCR’s own regulations. A third-party could attempt to overturn the regulation by suing DCR. However, such an action would be maintained against DCR, not the City, and would almost unquestionably fail—particularly considering circumstances like those here where the agency faces a narrow time frame (i.e. 180 days) to acquire a property.
It is important to acknowledge that the former HBGC property was and remains subject to a
conservation restriction. The conservation restriction identifies permitted and prohibited activities on the property. This restriction was not referenced in any capacity during the December 1st City Council meeting or the January 25th DGR subcommittee meeting--perhaps understandably so as the local developer failed to incorporate the required legal reference to the conservation restriction in its deed recorded on December 30, 2020. Nonetheless, by its terms the conservation restriction remains applicable to all subsequent owners of property. A copy is enclosed for reference.
Last, this matter should call attention to how the City as a whole can more proactively, transparently, and meaningfully engage local and state governmental partners, particularly where competing local business or political interests are involved. During last Monday’s DGR committee hearing, the Committee Chairman began discussion of this agenda item by introducing an email communication from DCR’s Assistant General Counsel. The Chairman read the email into the record in a mocking and exaggerated tone, including a portion expressing the agency attorney’s understanding that several council members were aware of the third-party local developer’s competing offer at the time of the December 1, 2020 meeting. The Chairman characterized that particular portion of the statement as libelous. See DGR Meeting, January 25, 2021, at 1:13:30 – 1:14:30, available at https://boxcast.tv/view/development-and-government-relations-committee-1252021-215978 (“Well, if that’s not libelous, I don’t know what is”). I would urge the Chairman and City Council to reconsider those comments and the tone expressed toward its state government partners prior to disposing of Agenda Item 19C.”
Maurice Taylor spoke on Comcast internet capping and educational issues for the city of Holyoke. Noted that the captioning will make things worse for struggling families and children going to school. City should do what it can to give residents internet access. Noted this could be a way for city to create its own revenue.

COMMUNICATIONS

From Crystal Barnes, Acting City Solicitor, letter re: New Ordinance Language.
---> Received and referred to the Ordinance Committee.

Motion was made and seconded to suspend the necessary rules and take items 2 and 24 as a package.
From Sandra Smith, City Treasurer letter of resignation effective February 26, 2021.
---> Received.

MCGEE, Leahy Ordered, that Ordered that the Personnel Department post the position or Treasurer and the Public Service Committee begin interviews so the City Council can appoint a Treasurer to fill the unexpired term of Sandra Smith.
---> Received and referred to the Public Service Committee. Copy to Personnel.

From City Clerk Brenna Murphy McGee and Administrative Assistant Jeffrey Anderson-Burgos, minutes from the January 19, 2021 meeting.
---> Received and adopted.

From City Clerk Brenna Murphy McGee Grant Election report and Extension approval letter.
---> Received and referred to the Finance Committee.

From Marcos A. Marrero Director Office of Planning & Economic Development re: Final Grant Reports (Small Business Relief Partnership).
---> Received and referred to the Finance Committee.

Communication from DGR Committee re: scheduled meeting on January 25, 2021 regarding decision to refer the procedural of waiving 120 day Notice to acquire the parcel.
---> Received and referred to the Development and Governmental Relations Committee.

From The Community Preservation Committee, re: proposal to fund the Wistariahurst Repairs Project.
---> Received.

Motion was made and seconded to suspend the necessary rules and take item 29 out of order
SULLIVAN Ordered, that That the Holyoke City Council approve a grant to Wisteriahurst Museum for electrical upgrades in the amount of $55,000.  Unanimously approved by the Community Preservation Committee, this is to make up the difference for a shortfall in a previously approved project.  Shortfall was caused by an interruption in fundraising efforts caused by pandemic.  Total project cost is $356,876 of which 104,500 was approved in fy20.
Motion to receive and adopt.
UNDER DISCUSSION:
Councilor Murphy stated that there were electrical concerns two years ago, creating a danger and inability to use facility. Stated a need to make sure work is done as soon as possible.
---> Passed two readings and Adopted on a call of the roll of the yeas and nays --Yeas 12--Nays 0--Absent 1 (Lebron-Martinez).
Approved by the Mayor.

From Holyoke School Department, list of 100 Top Paid Employees.
UNDER DISCUSSION:
Councilor Greaney noted that seven positions on list are cabinet positions. Stated that clarification is needed on what the positions involve.
Councilor Murphy observed raises given out of several thousand dollars. Stated that council has no control over schools, but raises are beyond appropriate. Noted that people should be paid what they deserve, but it should be rational and reasonable.
Councilor Greaney stated that the Receiver’s salary was not listed.
Councilor McGiverin stated that Finance would be happy to look at salaries in committee, adding that there is no city council, school committee or mayoral vote over spending in schools. Observed that there should be a discussion, suggesting that the discussion might be more appropriate in the joint committee with the school committee.
President McGee observed item to just be a list of top 100 and questioned if filing a separate order would be appropriate.
Councilor Greaney stated information should be public so people can see what is going on in school system.
President McGee stated they may need a separate order to have the requested discussion.
Councilor Leahy agreed that it is an issue that Receiver’s salary is missing. Expressed concern about needing to take care of teachers and staff while the top few are making a lot of money. Stated that city has no control over spending from revenue that the city raises. Stated a need for accountability and benchmarks.
President McGee offered to file the necessary order.
Councilor Tallman agreed that the discussion should go to joint committee. Asked about the public having access to the numbers being discussed.
President McGee stated it is public record.
Councilor Tallman asked about people access it.
President McGee stated that the information being received allows people to contact the City Clerk for the information.
Councilor Murphy agreed with need for more discussion, noting a concern about the most significant raises not going to the educators who are with children every day.
Councilor Bartley made a motion to refer the salary lists to the administrative assistant for the purpose of posting the salary information on the City Council page of the city website. Councilor Leahy seconded the motion. All councilors voted in favor.
---> Received and referred to the Finance Committee.

Motion was made and seconded to suspend the necessary rules and take late file B out of order
GREANEY, JR., Leahy Ordered, that the City Council invite in School Committee and Receiver to discuss top 100 salaries.
---> Received and referred to the Joint Committee of City Council and School Committee.

Communication received from University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Saul Weing Arnstein & Lehr re: final investigative report Alex Morse matter.
---> Received and referred to the Charter and Rules Committee.

From Ruth Bourquin, Senior & Managing Attorney & Jessica Lewis, Staff Attorney for American Civil liberties union foundation re: Notice of obligation under the SJU decision in Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless.
---> Received and referred to the Ordinance Committee.

Motion was made and seconded to suspend the necessary rules and take item 30 out of order
BARTLEY Ordered, that The Ordinance committee and City Council consider removal of M.G.L. chapter 85, Section 17A, from the city of Holyoke's list of adopted state statutes.  The SJC recently ruled the law to be unconstitutional.  Moreover, the Law Dept. is recommending this
UNDER DISCUSSION:
Councilor Bartley stated that there had been a good discussion in Public Safety. Noted the law pertains to panhandling ordinance on stats statutes which was ruled unconstitutional according to the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC). Observed that language needs to be struck from city ordinance but also observed a need to discuss more with state delegation.
Councilor Lisi asked for a public reading of the SJC ruling and the statute being referred to.
President McGee read the language of the letter.
“Notice of obligations under SJC decision in Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless, et al v. City of Fall River to cease all enforcement of G.L.c.85, section 17A and ordinances adopting its text.
Dear Ms. Barnes,
We wanted to bring to your attention the recent Supreme Judicial Court ruling decision in Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless, et al. v. City of Fall River, 486 Mass. 427 (2020) (copy enclosed), which struck down G.L.c.85, section 17A as an unconstitutional restriction on speech. Under this law, known to some as the panhandling statute, individuals who solicited contributions from, or attempted to sell item to, drivers on public roads could be subject to criminal prosecution.
It is our understanding that the City if Holyoke has adopted the text of this unconstitutional statute as an ordinance. In light of the Court’s unambiguous decision, we are writing to respect that you swiftly inform law enforcement officers and any other relevant individuals and agencies of the Court’s ruling that enforcement of either the state Statute or local ordinance is in violation of the United States Constitution and the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights. In addition to notification, we ask that you take any other necessary actions to ensure that State statute and the local ordinance adopting its text are no longer enforced in Holyoke.
If enforcement efforts continue—including through harassing, intimidating or charging individuals under the Statute—the officers and the municipality will be exposing themselves to liability under the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act and 42 U.S.C § 1983. The ACLU of Massachusetts is committed to protecting the First Amendment rights of all residents of the Commonwealth and is prepared to bring legal action in the event municipality fails to implement the Court’s decision and cease enforcement of G.L.c.85, section 17A.
Additionally, the decision’s logic – and that f the cases it cited – dictates that other laws, including local ordinances, which single out those who are seeking personal contributions are also unconstitutional. To avoid further litigation, we ask you to review and rescind any ordinances that engage in such content-based restrictions on free speech.
To provide assurance of your municipality’s compliance with the SJC’s decision in Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless, et al. c. City of Fall River, we ask that you please respond to this letter with confirmation that you will promptly inform all individuals and entities involved in the enforcement of G.L.c.85, section 17A or similar laws or ordinances, including local law enforcement, of the decision and their obligation to cease all enforcement efforts immediately.”
---> Received and referred to the Ordinance Committee and Senator John Velis and Representative Patricia Duffy.

From Thomas J. O'Connor Animal Control, information on social media, disposition summary, adoptions. and Holyoke animal calls.
---> Received and referred to the Development and Governmental Relations Committee.

CDBG/HOME Programs public hearing and meeting of the Citizens Advisory Committee Notice.
---> Received and referred to the Development and Governmental Relations Committee.

From Canna Provisions Inc. 380 Dwight St. re: Annual Special permit Reporting.
---> Received.

From Board of Fire Commission minutes of December 17, 2020.
---> Received.

PRESIDENT’S REPORT
(41:50)
President McGee noted that Treasurer would be leaving soon and observed that Marcos Marrero had recently left the position of OPED director. Offered thanks to both for their work and service to the city. Stated that Councilor Lisi represented the City Council in a meeting regarding the MSBA. MSBA is looking for info to talk about city’s plan for new schools. Noted an order had been filed. Thanked Dave Conti and Kevin Jourdan for providing updates and reports regarding water system.
Councilor Murphy stated he attended the Board of Health meeting. Noted that both Stop and Shop locations plan to become vaccine centers. Added that Baystate on Whitney Avenue has been providing vaccines. Stated that BOH for cities that ask are entitled to 100 doses a week.. Worked with senior center and Council on Aging to help seniors get through process, adding potential for vaccine distribution at senior center. Stated meetings have happened to work on interpreting meetings in Spanish.
Councilor Lisi added that Personnel Director Hector Carrasquillo would be leaving soon, offering thanks to him for his help in working through salary orders in the Ordinance Committee.
Councilor Greaney stated he attended BOH meeting and learned of a plan to set up a call center for those who lack computer access, with a plan to arrange vaccine appointments by phone. Also noted efforts to provide vaccine distribution thorough Action Ambulance and the nursing program at HCC.
Councilor Vacon stated that Council on Aging is working with people to make appointments when they cannot navigate the website. Number to call for that service is 413-322-5625,
Councilor Murphy stated that for those who are unable to get out, data is being collected so that vaccines can be brought to those people.

REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

The Committee on Ordinance to whom was referred an order that in an effort to enhance food access and security for our residents during these uncertain times that we expedite a backyard chicken ordinance as well as review of the permitting process for community gardens to ensure that it facilitates easy access and use of such sites.
have considered the same and Recommended that the order be adopted. .

Committee Members:
Rebecca Lisi
Juan . Anderson-Burgos
Linda L. Vacon
Terence Murphy
Libby Hernandez
(51:20)
UNDER DISCUSSION:
Councilor Lisi stated that the committee had gone line by line to make sure different forms of drafts were cleared up. Stated that amendments had been made to the Zoning ordinance and the uses ordinance. Noted that specified zones would allow up to 6 hens for buildings that have up to 6 units. Noted the criteria for size and spacing of coops and area of runs, as well as necessary distances for boundaries and abutters. Noted compromise through incremental changes, with some restrictions to gain broader support. Stated importance of beginning the process.
Councilor McGiverin asked if there were copies of legal forms available.
Councilor Lisi stated that it should be in the Drive folder.
Councilors Vacon Leahy stated they did not receive the legal form.
Councilor McGiverin made a motion to table. Councilor Vacon seconded the motion. Motion to table, by a show of hands, failed 6 yeas and 6 nays.
Atty Barnes stated she had signed both and provided to the Clerk’ office.
City Clerk McGee stated that the signed copies should be with the agenda documents and would have been attached to the committee reports.
President McGee stated that the forms he had were not the final, clean, signed copies.
Councilor Murphy stated that there had been many steps in the process, noting that changes had been made to keep the special permit fee and to clarify the 300-foot abutter requirement. Suggested that order be amended to increase 8 foot side and rear setback requirements to 15 feet.
Councilor Vacon suggested that Admin provide draft form through email rather than just through a Drive folder.
Councilor Greaney stated that he thought there were 7 hands for tabling the item.
Councilor Bartley stated that typed language, not amendments, are what prevail in an ordinance.
Councilor Lisi stated that reason for creating less prohibitive setbacks is to allow for option to create more restrictive setbacks as potential conditions in the special permit process whenever it may be necessary.
Councilor McGiverin stated the reason for asking for legal form, noting that what City Council votes on must be the precise legal language. Stated that with amendments on the floor, it requires sending back to the law department to draft a new legal form.
Councilor Murphy asked about the process of amending on the floor.
President McGee stated that amendments can be made, but that when the body votes on the legal form, the final product is what the Council should be voting on.
Councilor Lisi stated the item would have to go back through Ordinance to get back to a new legal form.
President McGee stated that going through Ordinance is the proper way to handle changes.
Councilor Murphy stated he attempted to make the suggested amendment in committee which failed and expressed his belief that the suggested amendment may have more success in front of the full Council body.
---> Received and referred to the Ordinance Committee.

The Committee on Ordinance to whom was referred an order that Sec 86-97 of the City's Parking Ordinance be struck from the city's parking ordinances:
Sec 86-97. -All night parking
No person shall allow, permit or suffer any vehicles registered in his name, other than one acting in an emergency, to be parked on any street in the downtown area between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. of any day.
have considered the same and Recommended that the order be adopted..

Committee Members:
Rebecca Lisi
Juan . Anderson-Burgos
Linda L. Vacon
Terence Murphy
Libby Hernandez
UNDER DISCUSSION:
Councilor Lisi stated that ordinance was discovered in work to create restrictions for overnight parking, noting that the ordinance no longer made sense. Observed that there was a discussion with representatives of DPW, who assured that it is not necessary.
President McGee asked if there needs to be legal form.
Atty Barnes clarified that the order is the legal form.
---> Report of Committee passed two readings and Adopted on a call of the roll of the yeas and nays --Yeas 10--Nays 2 (McGiverin, Vacon)--Absent 1 (Lebron-Martinez).
Approved by the Mayor.

The Committee on Ordinance to whom was referred an order that the ordinance committee consider an ordinance which would create a penalty for any driver handing out anything from the car window when in a traffic lane as a traffic safety violation.
have considered the same and Recommended that the order be adopted.

Committee Members:
Rebecca Lisi
Juan . Anderson-Burgos
Linda L. Vacon
Terence Murphy
Libby Hernandez
UNDER DISCUSSION:
Councilor Lisi stated that there are legal opinions that should be considered alongside the order in the Ordinance Committee.
---> Received and referred to the Ordinance Committee.

The Committee on Ordinance to whom was referred an order the mayor, the auditor, and the city’s financial team as needed, provide draft internal controls on how city grants are to be administered so that future governments (re: city taxpayers) are not faced with paying for administrative shortfalls.
have considered the same and Recommended that the order be adopted. .

Committee Members:
Rebecca Lisi
Juan . Anderson-Burgos
Linda L. Vacon
Terence Murphy
Libby Hernandez
UNDER DISCUSSION:
Councilor Lisi asked if a signed legal form was with the Chair.
President McGee stated that he did, but that there were notes on the form.
---> Report of Committee received and laid on the table.

The Committee on Ordinance to whom was referred an order Zone Change Application from BL to BH for Holyoke Gas & Electric for alignment with municipal business operations at 91 Walnut St.
have considered the same and Recommended giving a leave to withdraw without prejudice.

Committee Members:
Rebecca Lisi
Juan . Anderson-Burgos
Linda L. Vacon
Terence Murphy
Libby Hernandez
UNDER DISCUSSION:
Councilor Lisi stated that the applicant asked that the applicant be withdrawn. Also stated that the addition of “without prejudice” to the recommendation in case the applicant decided to pursue the zone change in the future.
---> Report of Committee received and recommendation adopted.

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 "FY2021 HOLYOKE CITY HALL STAINED GLASS WINDOW PHASE III; CONTRACT AMOUNT $50,000, CONTRACT END DATE 06/30/2021, NO MATCH " 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.
(Recommended by the Mayor)
have considered the same and Recommended that the grant be accepted.

Committee Members:
Joseph M. McGiverin
Peter R. Tallman
Michael J. Sullivan
James M. Leahy
David K. Bartley

(1:20:50)
UNDER DISCUSSION:
Councilor McGiverin stated they met with city engineer. Stated that the funding is a Mass Historical grant of $50K, going along with a CPA grant of $80K. Noted that acceptance would complete High Street side of stained-glass windows in City Hall.
---> Report of Committee passed two readings and Adopted on a call of the roll of the yeas and nays --Yeas 12--Nays 0--Absent 1 (Lebron-Martinez).
Approved by the Mayor.

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 "GREENING THE GATEWAY CITIES MUNICIPAL ASSISTANCE, AMOUNT $20,000, CONTRACT END DATE 06/30/2021, IN KIND MATCH $5,210" 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.
(Recommended by the Mayor)
have considered the same and Recommended that the grant be accepted. .

Committee Members:
Joseph M. McGiverin
Peter R. Tallman
Michael J. Sullivan
James M. Leahy
David K. Bartley
UNDER DISCUSSION:
Councilor McGiverin stated that Conservation Direct Yoni Glogower joined the conversation. Noted that he provided a thorough outline of the grant. Stated that $20K has an in-kind match. which would come from work done by city employees. Noted that the grant is to handle stump removal and soil remediation toward the intent of planting new trees.
Councilor Murphy stated it was an excellent presentation. Noted the need to address the concerns where trees create buckling of sidewalks creating a hazard, especially for areas that need to be ADA compliant.
Councilor Bartley observed importance of the grant. Observed that the in-kind match comes from work that city employees will do as part of their job. Observed that may calls come into councilors to address dead and diseased trees.
Councilor Tallman stated a hope that more of this kind of grant would be available in the future.
Councilor Leahy observed that stumps often get left when trees are removed and expressed appreciation for the work that will come from this grant.
---> Report of Committee passed two readings and Adopted on a call of the roll of the yeas and nays --Yeas 12--Nays 0--Absent 1 (Lebron-Martinez).
Approved by the Mayor.

The Committee on Finance to whom was referred an order that the city council accept the amendment to the grant contract already approved by the Council from the Community Preservation Committee to extend the funding deadline for MIFA/Victory Theatre.
(Recommended by the Mayor)
have considered the same and Recommended that the amendment be accepted. .

Committee Members:
Joseph M. McGiverin
Peter R. Tallman
Michael J. Sullivan
James M. Leahy
David K. Bartley
UNDER DISCUSSION:
Councilor McGiverin stated the item is a grant proposal already adopted by the Council for $100K for light fixtures at the Victory Theater. Noted that MiFA took over the Victory after the city inherited the property. Stated that nothing had been spent, and that around $31 million of the planned $46 million had been raised. Also stated that MiFA may be able to seek funds from the Cares Act. Noted that extension is being sought because money cannot be spent until total fundraising goal is raised, and the $100K would be returned to the CPA fund if it does not get spent.
Councilor Leahy stated he voted for it in committee but had questions. Stated a plan to file an order seeking info on funds raised for the project. Expressed concern about CPA funds being tied that could go to other projects.
Councilor Bartley stated he voted against it. Supported filing an order to get fundraising numbers. Observed that he supported it last year but had strong concerns about MiFA’s ability to close the gap on the needed funds. Added that support for the project would be there if it appears to be going forward.
Councilor Greaney noted his appreciation for the arts. Stated he had worked with the Admin to get some numbers on MiFA’s fundraising totals for the Victory. Expressed concern about reaching the $46 million goal in a year, noting that it took around 15-20 years to raise $31 million. Stated a need to see concrete progress. Stated he would support project if it appears to show progress.
Councilor Sullivan stated his belief that CPA likely wouldn’t support another extension. Also noted that no money would be spent until the entire goal is raised. Also noted that no requests lack funding due to the $100K being encumbered.
Councilor McGiverin: stated significance of $100K, noting that a negative vote would send a message to potential backers of the project. Also stated that the extension is for money already pledged, not new funds. Stated support for inviting Don Sanders to attend a council meeting to discuss the Victory and other MiFA projects.
Councilor Tallman stated support for inviting Don Sanders to attend a meeting. Stated that extending would not hurt other projects. Also noted that 134 Chestnut had been acquired to use for staging room for Victory. Noted the symbolic message of the city supporting the project through the $100K.
Councilor Vacon stated her optimism on this last effort, noting that the federal government had spent money on less worthy projects. Stated that project would be good for the city and the region.
Councilor Lisi noted the lost time on the project due to Covid.
---> Report of Committee received and Adopted on a call of the roll of the yeas and nays --Yeas 10--Nays 2 (Bartley, Greaney, Jr.)--Absent 1 (Lebron-Martinez).
Approved by the Mayor.

The Committee on Finance to whom was referred an order that there be and is hereby appropriated by transfer in the fiscal year 2021, ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND AND 00 /100 Dollars ($100,000.00) as follows:
FROM:
8810-59710 STABILIZATION-TR TO G/F $100,000.00
TOTAL: $100,000.00
TO:
14252-53100 SNOW REMOVAL SERVICES $100,000.00
TOTAL: $100,000.00
(Recommended by the Mayor)
have considered the same and Recommended that the transfer be approved.

Committee Members:
Joseph M. McGiverin
Peter R. Tallman
Michael J. Sullivan
James M. Leahy
David K. Bartley
UNDER DISCUSSION:
Councilor McGiverin stated that the mayor proposed using $100K from stabilization for sow removal line item. Noted that funds are within interest, not from principle. Observed that City Council made a cut in budget for this line item, tripping a law that prevents deficit spending. Stated that encumbered funds are near zero, and that there would likely be more snow in the season. Stated that a small storm can require $20K-$30K to handle and increasing with storms of more than 3 inches.
Councilor Vacon questioned if mayor looked at other potential transfers before reaching into stabilization fund, noting that $1 million had been found in other areas of budget.
Councilor McGiverin stated that the mayor was not present. Observed that auditor identified surpluses available in other departments. Noted the value of looking at surpluses in other areas, but that funds were needed for transfer immediately.
Councilor Bartley observed that free cash would normally be available for snow removal supplementation. Also expressed concern about using stabilization funds in the future. Stated that snow removal funds had been used for purposes other than snow removal, including repair of vehicles. Stated a need for a capitalization budget. Observed a need to tighten up budget process so that funds are being used as intended.
Councilor Lisi noted that the DLS (Division of Local Services) stated that money has been getting lost from free cash since 2014 but accumulated to the point that it is only being felt recently.
Councilor Sullivan noted that some vehicles are 35 years old, with much of the wear coming from snow plowing. Also noted that many employees with years of experience were no longer with the city. Stated that many leave for better paying jobs after only 6 months to a year of experience. Stated a need for overdue equipment replacement with DPW.
Councilor Leahy stated he filed an order to check on moisture levels of salt to assure city isn’t paying for water weight, noting that city used to get rebates as opposed to getting more salt.
Councilor Vacon noted that the free cash situation had been predicted. Stated that the budget exceeds ability for taxpayers to support it. Will not support use of stabilization funds.
Councilor Tallman stated a need to support the transfer, observing that more storms will likely require future transfers. Also noted the need to get newer vehicles. Observed that DPW manpower had also been depleted due to illness and Covid concerns.
Councilor McGiverin noted that the DPW budget line item was $400K, roughly the same as the last 3 budget cycles. Stated that City Council cut $150K, with a plan to return funds after looking into budgets from other departments. Also note that $120K had been used to purchase salt, as well as roughly another $60K from responding to snowstorms. Also noted many years since capital outlay had been in the budget.
Councilor Greaney stated support for transfer, but that a communication to mayor should be sent to find funds for future storms.
Councilor Lisi asked about ability to deficit spend for snow removal line item.
Councilor McGiverin clarified that the cut in the budget from the previous fiscal year prevented deficit spending.
Councilor Vacon stated she sent a late file to request that the auditor find funds to transfer to DPW.
---> Report of Committee passed two readings and Adopted on a call of the roll of the yeas and nays --Yeas 11--Nays 1 (Vacon)--Absent 1 (Lebron-Martinez).
Approved by the Mayor.

The Committee on Finance to whom was referred an order that there be and is hereby appropriated by transfer in the fiscal year 2021, SEVENTY FIVE THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED TWENTY THREE AND 00 /100 Dollars ($75,823.00) as follows:
FROM:
11511-51101 PAY-SOLICITOR $75,823.00
TOTAL: $75,823.00
TO:
11512-53010 SPECIAL COUNSEL SERVICES $75,823.00
TOTAL: $75,823.00
(Recommended by the Mayor)
have considered the same and Recommended that the transfer be approved.

Committee Members:
Joseph M. McGiverin
Peter R. Tallman
Michael J. Sullivan
James M. Leahy
David K. Bartley
UNDER DISCUSSION:
Councilor McGiverin stated the transfer is to take from a line item that is not being used because the position has not been filled by the mayor. Noted that Barnes had been doing the job for over a year, and that she has not received enough for the work done. Stated that she is unable to be appointed due to city residency requirements, noting that she cold be appointed as acting solicitor. Expressed confidence in the work Barnes does. Line item pays for contract with labor attorney, monthly contingency and per diem costs.
Councilor Greaney stated support for the transfer, noting the importance on the city doing its business.
---> Report of Committee passed two readings and Adopted on a call of the roll of the yeas and nays --Yeas 12--Nays 0--Absent 1 (Lebron-Martinez). Copy to 12.
Approved by the Mayor.

Motion was made and seconded to suspend the necessary rules and take items 16F, 16G, 16H, as a package
The Committee on Finance to whom was referred an order that, in accordance with Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 59, sec. 38H, the City Council approve and ratify an agreement between the City of Holyoke and Growing Holyoke, LLC for payment in lieu of taxes (“PILOT”) of certain personal property tax obligations for the property located at 150 Whiting Farms Road.
(Recommended by the Mayor)
have considered the same and Recommended that the order be approved.

Committee Members:
Joseph M. McGiverin
Peter R. Tallman
Michael J. Sullivan
James M. Leahy
David K. Bartley
UNDER DISCUSSION:
Councilor McGiverin stated that Councilor Sullivan has been on top of PILOT agreements. Stated that the projects are all solar projects. Described location of each project. Stated reminder that all will be profit-making entities. Noted the high expense of starting solar projects, with a tax cost being potentially prohibitive.
Councilor Sullivan noted that orders are a formality, as required by the state. Noted that property owners could not take advantage of agreements in the first year.
---> Report of Committee passed two readings and Adopted on a call of the roll of the yeas and nays --Yeas 12--Nays 0--Absent 1 (Lebron-Martinez).
Approved by the Mayor.

The Committee on Finance to whom was referred an order that, in accordance with Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 59, sec. 38H, the City Council approve and ratify an agreement between the City of Holyoke and Jackson Canal, LLC, for payment in lieu of taxes (“PILOT”) of certain personal property tax obligations for the property located at 84 Sargeant Street.
(Recommended by the Mayor)
have considered the same and Recommended that the order be approved.

Committee Members:
Joseph M. McGiverin
Peter R. Tallman
Michael J. Sullivan
James M. Leahy
David K. Bartley
---> Report of Committee passed two readings and Adopted on a call of the roll of the yeas and nays --Yeas 12--Nays 0--Absent 1 (Lebron-Martinez).
Approved by the Mayor.

The Committee on Finance to whom was referred an order that, in accordance with Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 59, sec. 38H, the City Council approve and ratify an agreement between the City of Holyoke and Scannell Solar, LLC, for payment in lieu of taxes (“PILOT”) of certain personal property tax obligations for the property located at 75 Appleton Street.
(Recommended by the Mayor)
have considered the same and Recommended that the order be approved.

Committee Members:
Joseph M. McGiverin
Peter R. Tallman
Michael J. Sullivan
James M. Leahy
David K. Bartley
---> Report of Committee passed two readings and Adopted on a call of the roll of the yeas and nays --Yeas 12--Nays 0--Absent 1 (Lebron-Martinez).
Approved by the Mayor.

The Committee on Finance to whom was referred an order that the City of Holyoke’s park and Rec dept rebuild a concrete outdoor Handball Court. Holyoke once had three courts and now they are down to one wooden one.
have considered the same and Recommended that the order has been complied with, and referred to Parks and Recreation for a CPA and CDBG application.

Committee Members:
Joseph M. McGiverin
Peter R. Tallman
Michael J. Sullivan
James M. Leahy
David K. Bartley
UNDER DISCUSSION:
Councilor McGiverin noted that the presenters shared love of handball and the work they do making it more accessible to people of all ages. Stated an intent to have City Council endorse the plan, with the potential of seeking funds for CPA and/or CDBG.
Councilor Leahy observed it had been a great discussion. Recalled competing against Councilor Anderson-Burgos in a city handball tournament many years ago. Stated support for building courts that are within the rules, which would allow the city to host tournaments. Note the potential benefit to the city.
Councilor Tallman stated nephew is a player. Recalled watching games in younger days. Noted game started in Ireland. Supported looking for funding through CPA and CDBG.
Councilor Anderson-Burgos stated appreciation for the history. Recalled playing the game, observing the sense of community built around it. Stated a desire to be a part of it.
---> Report of Committee received and recommendation adopted.

(2:29:35)
Councilor Murphy made a motion to take items 17A through 17F as a package. Councilor Anderson-Burgos seconded the motion. All councilors voted in favor.
The Committee on Public Safety to whom was referred an order that In an abundance of caution and taking into consideration all of the continuous accidents on Walnut and Cabot, a bigger Stop Sign with lights on it would be most beneficial and would make this corner much safer. Lots of pedestrians utilize this intersection and although most of the accidents are involving vehicles, these measures will ensure pedestrian safety.
have considered the same and Recommended that the order has been complied with.

Committee Members:
Terence Murphy
Joseph M. McGiverin
Todd McGee
UNDER DISCUSSION:
Councilor Murphy stated that on 17A for the stop sign, DPW would be looking at traffic incidents at the location over the last 5 years to determine what can be done to improve safety. A flashing stop sign could be the solution, but a less costly larger stop sign could also be used.
Councilor Hernandez expressed appreciation for the work done on the order.
Councilor Murphy stated that on 17B, Action Ambulance provided data on response times, transport times, number of calls, types, location of transport destinations. Stated that they hoped to get back to posting vehicles at fire stations after Covid concerns are gone. On 17C, noted that Sgt Hart reported on drug complaints and arrests, incidents, crimes, fatalities, and overdoses.
Councilor Vacon expressed appreciation for the amendment requesting Holyoke specific statistic led, noting that it led to informative discussion. Stated that a significant number of overdose victims are from out of the city. Expressed a hope that the HPD could come up with new strategies to address the factors driving the activity.
Councilor Bartley noted that panhandlers accounted for 26 overdoses and 6 deaths. Stated that money for panhandlers is largely going to drug use. Noted the need to assure they get the right kind of help. Pointed out situation of city paying thousands to get someone out of a house they didn’t own.
Councilor Murphy stated that a majority of victims appear to not be from Holyoke. Stated that the goal of organizations is to get people help. Encouraged people to avoid giving money which allow problems to persist. On 17D: stated that water commissioners, Dave Conti and Kevin Jourdain, attended to discuss filtration of water. Stated that Holyoke has 1 of 2 statewide waivers for filtration, meeting all state and federal standards. Noted that because Holyoke has received waivers, city has avoided costly upgrades and would be at an advantage when the city eventually does need to upgrade.
Councilor Bartley encouraged fellow councilors to follow up with Dave Conti. w up. City of Holyoke is one of two entities. Conti noted that even with treated water without filtration, water in Holyoke is close to average.
Councilor Leahy noted discussion of flooding of towns for water to Boston.
President McGee noted receiving many emails about the issue. Noted that new compounds are being seen in water, adding that treatments Holyoke water receives to address these are an advantage over other cities as older filtration systems aren’t set up to address new compounds.
Councilor Murphy: on 17E: stated that plan is to designate Mountain Road area as thickly settled to create a 25 mph speed zone. If needs aren’t met, a study could be conducted to look at 30 mph area, requiring approval from MassDOT.
Councilor Greaney noted he is always in contact with residents and expected to hear about it when the signs go up.
Councilor Vacon noted that further legislation action wasn’t needed for the designation.
Councilor Murphy on 17F: noted that the group used to be known as the Problem Property Group. Stated that major issues with properties had been described. Noted that 60 properties are currently on the list. Observed that some properties are city owned, some are privately owned, some are in receivership proceedings. Stated that the demolition team is strapped, and the resources need to be there to help address these issues and improve quality of life for people living in these neighborhoods.
---> Report of Committee received and recommendation adopted.

The Committee on Public Safety to whom was referred an order that representatives from Action Ambulance come to a meeting of the public safety committee to discuss response times and other pertinent issues.
have considered the same and Recommended that the order has been complied with.

Committee Members:
Terence Murphy
Joseph M. McGiverin
Todd McGee

---> Report of Committee received and recommendation adopted.

The Committee on Public Safety to whom was referred an order that the Police Department provide an update on drug overdose/deaths for the last two years. Also provide an update on drug dealing arrests and crime stats, including shootings & murders in the last two years, and to also include statistics that show a comparison of Holyoke residents versus those who are from out of the city.
have considered the same and Recommended that the order has been complied with.

Committee Members:
Terence Murphy
Joseph M. McGiverin
Todd McGee

---> Report of Committee received and recommendation adopted.

The Committee on Public Safety to whom was referred an order that the public safety committee invite in David Conti and the water commissioners into discuss and get an update on the water filtration system.
have considered the same and Recommended that the order has been complied with.

Committee Members:
Terence Murphy
Joseph M. McGiverin
Todd McGee

---> Report of Committee received and recommendation adopted.

The Committee on Public Safety to whom was referred an order that three additional speed limit postings of 30 miles per hour be placed in strategic locations on Mountain Road. Excessive speed on that road has become a severe safety hazard.
have considered the same and Recommended that the order has been complied with.

Committee Members:
Terence Murphy
Joseph M. McGiverin
Todd McGee

---> Report of Committee received and recommendation adopted.

The Committee on Public Safety to whom was referred an order The Property Preservation Group (f/k/a problem property group), Building commissioner, and Mayor’s Office come before the city council’s public safety committee and provide an update to City Council regarding the “top 20” list of problem buildings, the efforts of the City to remove these buildings from the list, and an update on the balance of funds in the City’s vacant property budget.
have considered the same and Recommended that the order has been complied with.

Committee Members:
Terence Murphy
Joseph M. McGiverin
Todd McGee

---> Report of Committee received and recommendation adopted.

2:54:40)
The Committee on Development and Governmental Relations to whom was referred an order Amendment to the FY2019 Annual Plan to incorporate CDBG-CV Funds (Part II - Round 3) in the amount of $486,324.00.
have considered the same and Recommended that the amendment be approved.

Committee Members:
David K. Bartley
Michael J. Sullivan
Peter R. Tallman
Howard B Greaney, Jr.
Gladys Lebron-Martinez
UNDER DISCUSSION:
Councilor Bartley stated that it is Covid-related money. Described the various purposes for the money, such as administration, public services, Board of Health, food, rental services, legal services, and child care, as well as small business grants. Also noted a discussion on where the grants would be advertised.
---> Report of Committee received and Adopted on a call of the roll of the yeas and nays --Yeas 12--Nays 0--Absent 1 (Lebron-Martinez).
Approved by the Mayor.

The Committee on Development and Governmental Relations to whom was referred an order Letter from Trustees of Reservations requesting support for waiver of 120 day notice period for DCR to acquire parcel.
have considered the same and Referred back to committee without recommendation.

Committee Members:
David K. Bartley
Michael J. Sullivan
Peter R. Tallman
Howard B Greaney, Jr.
Gladys Lebron-Martinez
UNDER DISCUSSION:
Councilor Bartley stated he had nothing to report.
---> Received.

The Committee on Development and Governmental Relations to whom was referred an order Pursuant 301 CMR 51.07(1)(b), I, Todd McGee, Chairman of the City Council of the City of Holyoke, hereby agree to waive the 120 day notice period as required by said section as to a parcel of land of approximately 21.745 acres in the City of Holyoke, shown on Exhibit A attached hereto, in which the Department of Conservation and Recreation is considering acquiring an interest. Map-Lot 217-00-006
have considered the same and Referred back to committee without recommendation.

Committee Members:
David K. Bartley
Michael J. Sullivan
Peter R. Tallman
Howard B Greaney, Jr.
Gladys Lebron-Martinez
UNDER DISCUSSION:
Councilor Bartley expressed concern about the statement on this item during public comment. Observed that anyone interested had been invited and allowed comment from anyone attending. Noted that members of DCR had been invited. Stated there had been great discussion with the purchaser of the property, noting the deal was between private entities of Boys & Girls Club and an LLC. Stated that the waiver of the permit was the only item before the City Council. Stated confidence in the LLC’s attorney’s claim that the LLC had attempted to get a meeting with DCR.
---> Received.

The Committee on Development and Governmental Relations to whom was referred an order Resolution related to GAH (Geriatric Authority of Holyoke) sale
have considered the same and Referred back to committee without recommendation.

Committee Members:
David K. Bartley
Michael J. Sullivan
Peter R. Tallman
Howard B Greaney, Jr.
Gladys Lebron-Martinez
UNDER DISCUSSION:
Councilor Bartley noted it was a resolution relative to the sale of the former Geriatric Authority building. Observed there were good speakers in attendance, noting one was former city council president for Greenfield. Noted that many of the resolution’s points are likely already agreeable to Baystate. Stated that considering the sale approval, the resolution didn’t set the right tone.
Councilor Lisi clarified that Councilor Leahy signed on. Noted that the contract had been negotiated and approved. Noted that the resolution is an expression of values for an entity doing business in Holyoke, items such as care, working conditions, benefits, and union organizing.
Councilor Greaney expressed confidence that Baystate would not do anything but the best for their employees.
President McGee noted the motion is the receive.
Councilor Lisi made a motion to amend the original motion to receive and adopt. Councilor Leahy seconded the motion.
Councilor Murphy expressed agreement with the values. Noted concerns about closing other facilities. Expressed hope that in future negotiations, city would recognize its authority to make the best decisions. Questioned impact of the resolution at this point.
Councilor Vacon stated that conditions were in the purview of the mayor during negotiations, adding that Council’s role was to compete a sale.
Councilor McGiverin observed that the site fits the needs of the organization seeking property, adding the importance of the city not being left with the cost of demolishing the building.
Councilor Anderson-Burgos expressed respect for the order, adding concern about the tone that would be set.
---> Report of Committee received and Denied on a call of the roll of the yeas and nays --Yeas 3 (Hernandez, Leahy, Lisi)--Nays 9--Absent 1 (Lebron-Martinez).

The Committee on Development and Governmental Relations to whom was referred an order Special Permit Application of Gina and Raquel Fasoli Figueroa for a painting business at 145 Mountain View Drive (Map 135 Block 00 Parcel 006).
have considered the same and Recommended that the application be approved with the following four conditions: 1. That there be no signage, 2. That all materials be stored indoors, 3. That the van be garaged from 7pm-7am daily, commencing 6 months from the date of the permit issue, 4. That there be no deliveries.

Committee Members:
David K. Bartley
Michael J. Sullivan
Peter R. Tallman
Howard B Greaney, Jr.
Gladys Lebron-Martinez
UNDER DISCUSSION:
Councilor Bartley noted that this would be new business in the city. Stated that there were members of the public who had important input. Noted their support, but with concerns in a residential neighborhood. Noted the applicant and the abutters accepted the conditions. Described the process of the renewal and the appeal period, noting the ways that neighbors with concerns can get remedy.
Councilor Anderson-Burgos stated that one of the owners is from the city. Expressed appreciation for a new business from within the city.
Councilor Tallman noted appreciation for the participation of the neighbors.
Councilor McGiverin stated that conditions are appropriate for the situation. Noted the restrictive nature of a home occupation special permit. Stated appreciation that the applicant understood the necessity of respecting the integrity of a neighborhood.
Councilor Greaney observed that the applicant and the neighbors were receptive of the conditions. Stated a belief that this kind of support would be an improvement for the city.
---> Report of Committee received and Adopted on a call of the roll of the yeas and nays --Yeas 12--Nays 0--Absent 1 (Lebron-Martinez).
Approved by the Mayor.

The Committee on Development and Governmental Relations to whom was referred an order Special Permit Application of Jill LaBeau for a driveway at the front of the house, facing the house at 23 O’Connor Ave. (Map 074 Block 00 Parcel 024).
have considered the same and Recommended that the application be approved.

Committee Members:
David K. Bartley
Michael J. Sullivan
Peter R. Tallman
Howard B Greaney, Jr.
Gladys Lebron-Martinez
UNDER DISCUSSION:
Councilor Bartley observe that nobody from the public spoke for or against the permit. Described the situation where ethe petitioner needed the change to help alleviate the burden of the mother needing a shorter walk to get into the house from parking. Noted the short time needed for construction.
Councilor McGiverin noted the unique circumstances for this property, with different elevations for the front and back yards on this street.
---> Report of Committee received and Adopted on a call of the roll of the yeas and nays --Yeas 12--Nays 0--Absent 1 (Lebron-Martinez).
Approved by the Mayor.

Councilor Bartley made a motion to suspend the rules to take items 19G and 19H as a package.
The Committee on Development and Governmental Relations to whom was referred an order that the DGR committee meet with Holyoke Media about the possibility of having more programming on Ch 15. Is it possible to have some regular half hour programs which could both entertain and inform residents?
have considered the same and Recommended that the order has been complied with.

Committee Members:
David K. Bartley
Michael J. Sullivan
Peter R. Tallman
Howard B Greaney, Jr.
Gladys Lebron-Martinez
UNDER DISCUSSION:
Councilor Bartley stated that the discussions provided valuable information. Noted some concerns about financing. Described the contributions of the various people participating in the discussions.
Councilor Murphy noted the discussions he has had with the people involved, such as Holyoke Media, the Police Department, the mayor, Veterans Services, etc. Noted the importance of helping people understand the negative impact of contributing to panhandlers.
Councilor Greaney expressed positive sentiments on the media impact to help educate the public.
Councilor Tallman expressed belief that this would be informative and positive for the community.
---> Report of Committee received and recommendation adopted.

The Committee on Development and Governmental Relations to whom was referred an order that the DGR committee meet with Holyoke Media, the mayor, the health director, and representatives from the Opioid Substance Abuse Task Force program, to present a five to ten minute video to be televised on Ch 15 on the importance of persons not contributing to panhandlers. The emphasis should be on the negative impact of doing so, in terms of panhandlers rejecting offers which could much more significantly improve the quality of their lives. Once the program is completed, it should be shown just prior to city council meetings on Ch 15.
have considered the same and Recommended that the order has been complied with.

Committee Members:
David K. Bartley
Michael J. Sullivan
Peter R. Tallman
Howard B Greaney, Jr.
Gladys Lebron-Martinez
---> Report of Committee received and recommendation adopted.

The Committee on Development and Governmental Relations to whom was referred an order The Law Department provide an update to the City Council on the City’s Receivership program. This is our semi-annual review.
have considered the same and Recommended that the order has been complied with.

Committee Members:
David K. Bartley
Michael J. Sullivan
Peter R. Tallman
Howard B Greaney, Jr.
Gladys Lebron-Martinez
UNDER DISCUSSION:
Councilor Bartley noted a couple of informative articles on the subject, showing the effort being made. Acknowledged the work that went into establishing and maintaining the receivership program. Stated that the properties are from all over the city. Noted the investment being put in by the receivers, with the potential risks that come with the investment. Stated appreciation for judges who work with the program for the benefit of neighborhoods and the city. Stated that the program is meant for residential properties.
---> Report of Committee received and recommendation adopted.

ORDERS AND TRANSFERS

(3:41:20)
LISI, Anderson-Burgos, Hernandez, Lebron-Martinez Ordered, that the Holyoke City Council adopt a Resolution Opposing Internet Data Caps & Committing to Analyzing Internet Access and Affordability (see attached for full text).
UNDER DISCUSSION:
Councilor Lisi noted she had sent the full text to the body for cosponsors. Stated that data cap is a big issue for the community, noting the monopoly Comcast has on internet access. Expressed concern about a new policy on data caps. Noted the necessary increases in use of data among residents due to the pandemic. big issue for community. Noted industry publications believe the caps are arbitrary and financially motivated, with a series of decisions to apply and suspend the caps. Observed a letter form state legislators opposing the caps, with a potential of imposing regulation. Stated a need for more consumer choice in the city.
Councilor Vacon suggested the item go to committee. Expressed the issue has more factors that need to be discussed. Stated intent to vote against without more discussion. Questioned if the matter is in purview of the body.
Councilor Bartley stated that the order should go to committee, potentially public safety. Stated he may be inclined to support but would like to hear a response from Comcast first. Noted value of debating in committee so that everyone can understand the issue.
Councilor Greaney stated he cannot support a resolution that he doesn’t yet fully understand.
Councilor Anderson-Burgos stated that the resolution is about standing up to bullies. Shared personal experiences with repeated service interruptions.
Councilor Hernandez stated she supports the resolution because she believes Comcast to be taking advantage of people during the pandemic, when people are most vulnerable to the need for internet access.
Councilor Lisi stated that the resolution is about sending a message to state legislators and to the FCC. Observed that the message sent from state lawmakers had an impact. Noted issues include data caps, consumer choice, and the potential for better access from HG&E.
---> Received and Adopted on a show of hands --Yeas 7--Nays 4 (Bartley, Greaney, Jr., Sullivan, Vacon)--Absent 1 (Lebron-Martinez). Councilor Leahy did not vote or participate in discussion on this item.

MCGEE Ordered, that the DPW report before the public safety committee to address the city council chamber back room area (mainly addressing upgrades and fixing the odors associated with the area).
---> Received and referred to the Public Safety Committee and DPW.

MCGEE Ordered, that the city council call/have an executive session and invite in the legal department to get an update on cases.
---> Received and adopted, scheduled for 6pm on Monday, February 8th at 6pm.

MCGIVERIN Ordered, that there be and is hereby appropriated by transfer in the fiscal year 2021, SEVEN THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED FOURTEEN AND 60/100 Dollars ($7,114.60) as follows:

FROM:
16101-51110 REFERENCE LIBRARY ASST. - NIGHT $7,114.60
TOTAL: $7,114.60
TO:
16101-51102 REFERENCE LIBRARY ASSISTANT $7,114.60
TOTAL: $7,114.60

To the City Council:
I hereby recommend the passage of the above order at the meeting of your Council to be held Tuesday, February 2, 2021.

Alex B Morse, Mayor
---> Received and referred to the Finance Committee.

MCGIVERIN Ordered, that there be and is hereby appropriated by transfer in the fiscal year 2021, THIRTEEN THOUSAND NINE HUNDRED TWENTY SEVEN AND 39/100 Dollars ($13,927.39) as follows:

FROM:
16101-51111 LIBRARY ASSISTANT-NIGHT $13,927.39
TOTAL: $13,927.39
TO:
16101-51107 LIBRARY ASSISTANT $10,000.00
16101-51102 REFERENCE LIBRARY ASSISTANT 3,927.39
TOTAL: $13,927.39

To the City Council:
I hereby recommend the passage of the above order at the meeting of your Council to be held Tuesday, February 2, 2021.

Alex B Morse, Mayor
---> Received and referred to the Finance Committee.

MCGEE, Lisi Ordered, that That with the reconvening of the review process and discussion on the middle school project- The Joint committee of City council and School Committee meet and invite in the Mayor, school department/receiver, treasurer, members of the city finance team and members of the community to review the feasibility study and MSBA financing and collect the necessary data requested by the MSBA in order to better assess the project/proposal.
---> Received and referred to the Joint Committee of City Council and School Committee.

 

LATE FILED ORDERS & COMMUNICATIONS

 

MCGEE Ordered, that the City Council invite in Jennifer Howard and other members of DCR to discuss Mt. Tom.
---> Received and referred to the Development and Governmental Relations Committee.

VACON Ordered, that our auditor review accounts to find any available funds in departments that are available for transfer to DPW for snow removal.
---> Received and referred to the Finance Committee. Copy to Auditor.

LISI Ordered, that the City Council create a revolving fund to be set up for the Cities municipal rideshare funding received by the state through the Transportation Network Company (see attached).
---> Received and referred to the Finance Committee.

 

Adjourn at 11:08 PM.
A true record
ATTEST:

______________________________
City Clerk


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