Sunday Notes February 22nd 2015

Separated at Birth Hudson Ex. Admin Tom Moses and Globe Columnist Thomas Farragher

Separated at Birth Hudson Ex. Admin Tom Moses and Globe Columnist Thomas Farragher

City Manager Kevin Murphy is having a heck of a first year. His Administration was in place for the worse fire this city has seen In a long time (Branch St) and facing the worst winter most of us can remember. Based on the winter, they are also already preparing for what could be a challenging Spring. When the snow melts, flooding is already on the mind of the administration and they are putting plans in place to quickly respond to any flooding issues that may occur.

Downtown residence need to be aware of the city’s plan for snow removal Monday and Tuesday Nights this coming week. To that end, here is the message posted on the City website.

Downtown Snow Removal

Downtown snow removal by the City of Lowell DPW will take place on Monday, February 23, beginning at 11:00 p.m. and ending at approximately 6:00 a.m. Operations will continue on Tuesday, February 24 during the same hours.

In order to remove the snow it will be necessary to close the Downtown streets including Merrimack, Bridge, Central, Market, Middlesex, Middle, Palmer, etc. while the work is being done. Please make every effort to remove your auto from the downtown area.

We apologize in advance for any inconvenience the closing of streets to traffic and noise from the snow removal equipment may cause.

It’s been great to see the city with the assistance of the Vermont National Guard ( by way of the Governor’s Office) in the neighborhoods clearing corners and sidewalks. Have they reached everyone? Probably not but they have tried to address all of the major traffic areas and areas near schools. Overall I’ve found the city in decent shape considering the volume of snow.

We find out in this weeks City Council Agenda that Lowell met its State mandated Net school spending requirement for Fiscal 2015 and that the Governor signed the special legislation that eliminated the Chapter 17 requirement that Lowell has had for many years.

This frees up a little over two million dollars that the manager is recommending be put into the general reserve acct. I asked him yesterday on Saturday Morning Live why he didn’t recommend moving it into the snow and ice account?

He feels and the Auditors last report would indicate he is correct, that the hiring freeze and mandatory review of any large purchases his administration put in place will leave enough money in places to cover the snow and ice cost. He also gives credit to his financial team (CFO Connor Baldwin and former Cambridge Manager Bob Healy) with refinancing bond debt and their commitment to keep reserves strong.

Many (myself included) were concerned when Murphy was named Manager that hiring would go up and reserves down but to date Manager Murphy has out performed his worst critics expectations and there isn’t a lot to bash this administration about.

That is also good news for the City Council, they were committed to education and met Net School spending. Added to reserves, added police and may have a buyer for the old Prince Plant. The downtown is still an issue has is the upcoming city budget but the hiring of Murphy will not be an issue.

If you’re interested in serving in public office, the Lowell School Committee could be your entryway,especially this year. They ran off the current Superintendent, can’t agree on the process of interviewing finalist, can’t agree on who or how to negotiate with the UTL and seem to be a ship without a rudder. This could be a year where whoever runs for the School Committee gets in.

I’m curious to see how the City Council reacts to packed chamber Tuesday Night of Lowell Citizens who feel they should have the right to not only bear arms but conceal carry them. I’m predicting a larger turnout than those in support of the bike lanes.

A friend who lives outside of Lowell told me when he took his firearms safety course to get his gun permit, you receive a listing of MA. city’s and towns that show the likelihood of your residence giving you an unrestricted firearms license. Lowell came in at under 30% and you have to already have been a victim of a violent crime to have the best chance to be able to carry. Many think you have to be a friend or family member of the police or politicians to get an unrestricted license if you were not a crime victim or a businessman/ businesswoman who carried large valuables or cash.

Is it just the weather and the fact we all are getting cabin fever or are we really living in such a “politically correct” world that the term maintenance man sets people off on a rant? The city of Lowell posted a job opening in the water dept for a water system maintenance man which caused some people to be upset at the wording. Why not maintenance person? Really, with all that is going on, we want to complain about the wording of a job posting? The city after receiving some “polite” concerns, reposted with the person title.

Spring can’t come soon enough!

2 thoughts on “Sunday Notes February 22nd 2015

  1. I am quite happy with Kevin Murphy’s performance so far. The city hasn’t gone to rack and ruin as many predicted and he appears to be making plans fro possible/probable flooding. As for the gun issue, I am not in favor of more people carrying concealed weapons. I know that some people with certain jobs need to carry guns for their own protection And I am reminded of the woman killed by her own child because she had a gun in her purse. ASLL it is going to take is one careless fool and we have a tragedy. I also hope that these people realize that they may be stopped by the police and asked for their permit if someone complains about them.

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