Old Dominion Public Hearing (cancelled), Free Cash on the agenda for Wednesday’s rescheduled City Council meeting

Westfield City Hall

WESTFIELD – The City Council’s regular monthly meeting was moved to Wednesday at 7 p.m. this week, in order to avoid conflicting with Thursday’s Westfield Technical Academy graduation at 7 p.m. at Westfield Barnes Airport. The Westfield High School graduation will be held at the airport on Friday evening.
A public hearing (note: hearing cancelled) for a special permit for Old Dominion Freight Lines on Medeiros Way is on the agenda. Old Dominion withdrew its application in October for a truck terminal at the site without prejudice.
“It’s going to be interesting to see what their different plan is from last time,” said At-large Councilor Brent B. Bean, II. He said in reality their trucks are already on the road driving in Westfield , “and we’re not collecting a nickel on them.”
“I welcome any plan when it comes to commercial development. The devil is in the details,” added Bean, saying commercial development is one way to reduce taxes. “This Council right now has not been friendly to business development,” he said.

At-large City Councilor Brent B. Bean, II. (WNG File Photo)

Bean will also be reporting the recommendations from the finance sub-committee for appropriations from free cash. The Finance sub-committee will be meeting at 6 p.m. prior to Wednesday’s City Council meeting.
Included in the free cash appropriations is $930,327 to the snow & ice budget.
“It’s right around what we do every year. This is the only account that we can deficit spend in,” Bean said, adding that $300,000 is usually budgeted in the account, knowing that the rest will be coming from free cash.
Another $200,000 appropriation from free cash for the Department of Public Works, Wastewater Division, is to complete the sludge water treatment improvements currently being undertaken.
The finance sub-committee will also look at an appropriation of $350,000 from free cash for the overlay account, to reduce the FY2019 deficit in order to prevent having to raise the deficit in the FY20 Recap. Bean said the FY2019 deficit is due to business taxes forecast in 2019 that the city didn’t collect, usually due to movement or closure, such as the closing of Bon Ton last year.
The Legislative & Ordinance Committee will also be bringing out a new zoning ordinance for short-term rentals to the City Council for a vote on Wednesday. Ward 6 Councilor William Onyski said the recommendation by the L&O is for owner-occupied only short-term rentals.
L&O will also bring to a vote petitions for street acceptance for Devon Terrace, Gloria Drive, Hillary Lane, Nancy Circle, Frank Circle, Rachel Terrace and Hillcrest Terrace as public ways.
Other committees reporting out include Personnel Action, Public Health & Safety and Zoning, Planning and Development.
Under new items from the Mayor’s office are requests for immediate consideration of two grants from the MassDOT Aeronautics Division to complete work at Westfield Barnes Airport. The first is a grant of $901,280 to complete frost heave repair to Runway 2-20. The City Council has taken several votes to move this work forward, which Airport Manager Eric Billowitz described as critical.
The second MassDOT grant of $134,400 is for the removal of trees invading the approach paths for Runways 02 and 15.
Other requests for immediate consideration include acceptance of a grant of $2,694 from Ocean State Job Lot’s Charitable Foundation for the Westfield Regional Animal Shelter; and one for miscellaneous furniture from UBS Financial Services Inc. to the Purchasing Department.
Other items from the Mayor include a resolution from the City Council relative to the Columbia Greenway Rail Trail project; end of year budget transfers greater than $10,000, which require City Council approval; and personnel reappointments.
City Clerk Karen M. Fanion will also be submitting her reappointment request for a term to expire in July, 2022.

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