City Council preview, Feb. 1

WESTFIELD—The City Council is expected to address several older items during this week’s meeting.

The City Council will meet Thursday, Feb. 1, at 7 p.m., with communications from Mayor Brian Sullivan beginning at 6:30 p.m. in City Council chambers at City Hall. The agenda has many items on it this week, though several are in excess of a year old.

In “Communications from the Mayor,” there are several items expected to be brought forth.

First, there are two requests for immediate consideration for grant money for SAFE grants that were previously awarded to the city’s fire department.

Westfield City Hall

Then, another immediate consideration is being requested for a transfer of $136,000, which Sullivan said is a “transfer of money” that should have been put into a different account.

Sullivan is also expected to request an appropriation of $175,000 from the city’s Free Cash Account to the Westfield Police’s Overtime Account. According to Sullivan, the city had cut from this budget two years ago, and now funds are needed to get through to the end of this fiscal year due to a myriad of reasons.

“This year we’re hit with more disability, police out on disability, and also military leave, as well as a couple [at the Police Academy], so we had a lot of shifts that had to be covered with overtime,” Sullivan said.

Then, two transfers are expected related to the Technology Center. Also, two transfers, both from the Engineering Department’s Full-Time Salary Account, to different city accounts.

Also, Sullivan is expected to submit a resolution related to adding 21.643 acres to the Barnes Air National Guard’s base, which was originally proposed Jan. 14, 2016. The proposal, according to Sullivan, is in relation to looking to move the entrance to the Guard’s Southampton Road property.

Westfield Mayor Brian Sullivan (WNG file photo)

Sullivan said that it was previously agreed to be discussed and that this would be related to moving forward with that discussion.

Finally, he is expected to submit an appointment of Douglas A. Morash to be a member of the Parks and Recreation Commission ward six, which will be a replacement.

Then, in “Reports of City Officers,” the City Council is expected to have two items. First, Ward Two Councilor and liaison to the School Department Ralph Figy, is expected to present the report from the school superintendent.

Then, City Solicitor Susan Phillips is expected to address council with a memo related to Massachusetts General Law Chapter 44, Section 5B.

According to At-Large Councilor and City Council President John Beltrandi, this is in regards to a memo presented during their last meeting by At-Large Councilor David Flaherty from the Department of Revenue. This is also in relation to the stabilization account and the local meals and hotels tax, according to Beltrandi.

Then, under “Petitions, Remonstrances and Other Papers,” the City Council is expected to have before them two pieces of land that the city has first right of refusal on. The parcels are part of a larger parcel on Furrowtown Road.

Then, “Reports of Committees” is expected next.

The first committee, Finance Committee will be expected to have four items in the meeting.

Their first item is for the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission, submitting the FY 2019 appropriation total, which is nearly $10.5 million.

Then, a motion related to establishing a special purpose stabilization fund is expected, with a proposal to utilize funds from the Westfield Local Option Meals and Room Occupancy Taxes for road and sidewalk repairs and maintenance. This was previously addressed in a City Council meeting, and Beltrandi said that City Solicitor Phillips is expected to address this earlier in the meeting.

The third item is for the purchase of two vehicles, one for Westfield Police and one for Animal Control, with the funds coming from the Westfield Police’s Special Towing and Storage account. This was also previously brought forth in their last meeting.

Then, they are expected to address the appropriation of Public, Education and Government (PEG) funding for Internet and Fiber, which is expected to be used for PEG operating expenses. The total is $1,800.

Next, the Legislative and Ordinance Committee is expected to bring forward five items, all of which have been in committee for over a year. During their meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 30, all of these items were voted on to have motions to remove from committee without action.

Then, Personnel Action Committee has three appointment submissions that are expected. According to Beltrandi, all three of these are for replacing two individuals on Council on Aging and one individual on Commission for Citizens with Disabilities who resigned.

Then, from Zoning, Planning and Development Committee, there are six more items expected.

The first is from At-Large Councilors Dan Allie and Nick Morganelli, Ward Six Councilor Bill Onyski, Ward Five Councilor Robert Paul, as well as Surprise and Flaherty, in looking to strengthen the abutter notification ordinance.

According to Beltrandi, this could extend the distance that abutters must be within to receive notification of pending developments from 300 feet to 500 feet.

Then, Beltrandi has an item related to flag lots, which he may ask to leave in committee.

Then, an item related to unregistered vehicles, which Beltrandi said is in regards to these sorts of vehicles on property in the city, is expected. Also, an item on a temporary sign ordinance from Allie is expected, as well as cultural overlay district from Surprise.

Finally, a previous item related to clothing drop boxes and newspaper vending machines is expected from Figy and At-Large Councilor Brent Bean.

Moving on to “Unfinished Business,” the City Council has tabled a first reading “of an Ordinance to repeal the City’s sex offender ordinance,” which was discussed during their last meeting.

Then, a second reading is expected for the transfer of land on Montgomery Road, known as the West Farms Schoolhouse, to be transferred from the School Department to the Westfield Historic Commission.

The final set of items expected is “Motions, Orders or Resolutions.”

The first is a tabled discussion related to Flaherty attempting to gain internet access for City Council on computers at their respective stations, according to Beltrandi.

Then, Bean and Beltrandi are putting forth a motion to move the start time of City Council meetings from 7 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Beltrandi noted that majority of meetings are now completed before City Council and take place on days different than when Council meets, so the regular meeting could be moved.

Then, a motion from Figy, Flaherty and Surprise is expected to review and possibly amend an ordinance related to snow and ice removal. According to Beltrandi, this has to do with off-street parking and “trying to get who the responsibility lies with.”

Beltrandi noted that following snowstorms, parking in the off-street lots can become an issue as snow piles up.

Then, several motions are expected from Flaherty. First, a motion is expected that would look to eliminate automatic acceptances of job descriptions by City Council if they are not acted upon in two meetings. This motion is expected to be sent to the Legislative and Ordinance Committee.

Then, a motion to “edit the Code of Ordinances in several places” in order to change the appointment term of department from “a period of three years” to “a period not to exceed three years.” This is also expected to go to the Legislative and Ordinance Committee.

Another item from Flaherty is a motion to add a new section to the Code of Ordinances’ Personnel Section. This would be related to common elements that are included in Personal Service Agreements, according to the agenda. This is expected to be investigated by Government Relations Committee before being referred to Legislative and Ordinance.

The final motion expected from Flaherty will be a request from the law department for a written explanation related to a ruling from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court related to accrued sick time. This is expected to go to the law department and Government Relations Committee.

Finally, Surprise and At-Large Councilor Emmershy are expected to request from the city’s Director of Facilities, a summary of the previous year’s activities and accomplishments.

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