Budget passes 9-0: What’s the concern about surveillance?


Last Night the Lowell City Council with little suggestions for cuts approved the 2015 City Budget which goes into effect July 1, 2014. The vote was 9-0 even with a 3.5% Tax Increase included.

The City Council unanimously approved a $333.98 million budget last night and yet the most noise made was asking about the Surveillance cost to the City of Lowell.

The City Solicitor stated the cost to the City is about $6,000 – $10,000 a year. I’m no math major but percentage wise this is a drop in the bucket compared to the savings to the city it could generate.

Mayor Elliot asked twice what the city paid in surveillance and seemed flummoxed that the actual city cost was so low, Still after the City Manager stated his reasoning for raising that line item, the Mayor and two other councilors still tried to cut $25,000.

So why is the Mayor for the past few weeks and again last night and City Councilor Corey Belanger on City Life this morning so concentrated on such a small amount of money?

We learned last night that any money’s used for surveillance for Workers Comp. comes out of the Workers Comp line item. Not out of professional services. Still a motion was made to cut $25,000 out of that line item.

I pointed out last week, that if a person at age 40 goes out on disability @ $35,000 A YEAR for let’s say 30 years at a cost to the city of over a Million Dollars isn’t it worth $6,000 – $10,000 to insure that this person isn’t landscaping or building in the private sector when they claim they can’t work their city job?

Councilor Belanger this morning stated twice, I’m No Expert. For once I 100% agree with him.

He seems to not understand that in the private sector, when a company pays an insurance company for workers comp insurance, that insurance company usually has a team of investigators on staff to make sure claims are real. The City has to and should do the same to protect the taxpayers. Why is that not a good thing for the taxpayer?

Why can’t the Mayor and a few of these Councilors understand that simple premise?

Do these Councilors also understand that the City has to pay in some cases for city employees who want to have their own lawyer representing their interest NOT the city’s interest in a court case they are named in, if they are being sued due to their job? They are entitled by law to have this and unless and until a Councilor brings in a motion to either do away with this or limit the dollar amount that the city will cover, they are mandated by law to have this coverage.

Interesting that the 3 Councilors, who voted to cut $25,000 out of professional services for the Law Dept. all have a mutual acquaintance that because of surveillance, is being forced back to work.

Coincidence? Maybe… Not understanding fully the issue? Apparently!

[ser-vey-luh ns, -veyl-yuh ns] Show IPA
1.a watch kept over a person, group, etc., especially over a suspect, prisoner, or the like: The suspectswere under police surveillance.
2.supervision or superintendence.

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