In the City Council, February 1, in the year of Two Thousand and Eighteen Upon the recommendation of Councilor Marianne LaBarge, Councilor William H. Dwight, and Councilor James Nash R-18.031 Resolution calling for DHS to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for all nationals who cannot safely return to their home countries.
A regular meeting of the City Council was called to order by City Council President Ryan R. O Donnell. At 7:11 p.m. on a roll call the following City Councilors were present: At-Large Councilor William H. Dwight At-Large Councilor Ryan R. O Donnell Ward 1 Councilor Maureen T. Carney Ward 2 Councilor Dennis P. Bidwell Ward 3 Councilor James Nash Ward 4 Councilor Gina-Louise Sciarra Ward 5 Councilor David A. Murphy Ward 6 Councilor Marianne L. LaBarge Ward 7 Councilor Alisa F. Klein Public Hearing Announcement of a Public Hearing upon a Petition by National Grid for Underground Utilities on Atwood Drive Public Hearing:
In accordance with the provisions of Section 22, Chapter 166, of the General Laws, a public hearing will be held on February 1, 2018 @ 7:05 p.m. in City Council Chambers, 212 Main Street, Northampton, on the petition of National Grid to install underground facilities under a public way on Atwood Drive. Recognitions and One-Minute Announcements by Councilors Recognitions and One-Minute Announcements by Councilors
And, Wednesday, January 31st in the Hearing Room of City Hall, he is proposing to have an open Town Hall-style meeting to hear from members of the public about what they feel should be priorities for the next two years and to have an open question and answer session, Councilor O Donnell continued. The meeting will begin
607 at 6 p.m. Committee Assignments Committee Assignments Councilor O Donnell reviewed a letter presenting his assignments to City Council committees and his recommendations for Mayoral appointment to multi-member bodies. He reviewed the principles he followed in making same.
Councilor Dwight moved to approve the resolution. Councilor Klein seconded. Councilor Klein moved to recognize Sam Titelman. Councilor Bidwell seconded. Members voted unanimously to approve the motion by a voice vote of 9:0. As a sponsor of the resolution, Councilor Dwight described it as an appeal to the state legislature to act on legislation that will set realistic, achievable goals to move society away from its dependency on fossil fuels. It is a very lengthy document but contained in it essentially is the intention to set goals and adjust priorities locally to move away from reliance on fossil fuels and transition toward sustainable and renewable energy sources for this community and the state, hopefully setting an example for other communities throughout the state and country. What prompted greater urgency was the president s recent abdication of a national commitment to reducing factors that contribute to global warming, a/k/a climate change, while simultaneously expanding offshore drilling, he explained.
The CCE Plus collectively buys the competitive electric power and eventually generates local renewable power on behalf of its consumers. The incumbent utility, in Northampton s case National Grid, continues to perform the same functions it does now. It owns and operates the centralized electric grid, delivers the power the CCE purchases and provides consumers with consolidated billing and customer services. The charge consumers pay for electric service appears as a line item on their National Grid bill and National Grid transfers this payment to the CCE.
See Minutes of February 1, 2018 for 2nd Reading 17.419 Resolution to Support 15 Minimum Wage - 2nd Reading Councilor O Donnell proposed to waive the reading of the resolution since it was read at the last council meeting. There was no objection. Councilor LaBarge moved to approve the resolution. Councilor Sciarra seconded. They heard comments from Rich Cooper of State Street Fruit Store and Judy Herrell of Herrell s Ice Cream at the last meeting about the possibility of tiering for younger workers, Councilor Klein reminded. She wanted to share a personal experience that informs her thoughts about this concept. She worked from the age of 12 to help support her family and literally put food on the table. She was lucky enough to have a series of employers as a teenager that remunerated her based on what she was doing at the same rate as older workers. She comes from a family that was pretty ravaged by abuse and mental illness, and it was her and her older brother that put food on the table for the rest of their family and made sure their younger brother wasn t hungry.
610 this particular issue quite a bit, she related. At 14, she started working at a nursing home as a nurse s aide doing quite difficult work and was paid the minimum wage the same as older workers. Some of the concerns she had about the tiering system is that there is a competitive disadvantage for those placed in the lower tier. She doesn t support that and this is not part of the state legislation that the resolution supports. She does support the resolution and asked her colleagues to support it as well. Councilor Nash said he would like to support what councilor Klein mentioned about youth workers being paid fairly. When people enter the work place they are expected to perform the job and meet the job requirements regardless of their age. He can t support the concept of a scaled system and does know that it creates hardships. If someone can meet the standard of what s required in the workplace, they really should be paid, he concluded. Councilor Bidwell acknowledged the compelling nature of comments heard. He put in a plug for the Massachusetts Senate Task Force for Strengthening Local Retail, saying he is glad there is a body specifically charged with looking at this. Small businesses are faced with very real pressures, including growing rents and payrolls.
611 IN SUPPORT OF A 15 MINIMUM WAGE IN MASSACHUSETTS WHEREAS, Northampton s local economy depends on many low-wage, hourly workers who are struggling to meet to their basic needs, including many restaurant workers earning less than the full minimum wage; and
WHEREAS, California, Minnesota and Maine have eliminated the sub-minimum wage for tipped workers, and made it equal to the minimum wage; and WHEREAS, Northampton adopted a Fair Minimum Wage Ordinance ( 5-6 of the Code of Ordinances) that requires employees of the city s legislative and executive branches to be paid at least the state minimum wage; and WHEREAS, In Massachusetts, H.2365 and S.1004 would raise the state minimum wage by a dollar a year over 4 years until it reached 15, after which it would be automatically adjusted to rise with cost of living increases; and WHEREAS, These bills would also increase the sub-minimum wage over a period of 8 years until it matched the minimum wage; and
Councilor LaBarge moved to approve the consent agenda. Councilor Dwight seconded. The motion carried unanimously 9:0 by voice vote. The following items were approved as part of the consent agenda: A. Approve Minutes of January 2, 2018 Organizational Meeting B. 18.014 Appointments to Various Committees Referred to City Services Council on Aging Dennis Helmus, 176 North Street, Northampton, MA; Term: January 2018 - June 2021 (Filling the expired term of Michael Ahearn, Jr.)
Councilor LaBarge moved to approve the order in 1st reading. Councilor Klein seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously by roll call vote of 9 Yes, 0 No. Councilor LaBarge moved to suspend council rules to allow two readings at the same meeting. Councilor Klein seconded. The motion passed unanimously on a voice vote of 9:0.
Ordered, that WHEREAS, the Northampton Conservation Commission and Office of Planning Sustainability submitted a CPA application for purchase of five open space parcels totaling 63 acres in the Mineral Hills and Rocky Hill Greenway; WHEREAS, the Mining Heritage project will provide opportunities for a cultural and geological outdoor classroom, in what may be Northampton s last example of an 18th century mine, and the Rocky Hill Greenway will add to a valuable wildlife and plant habitat linkage between the Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary and Connecticut River floodplain; WHEREAS, the project meets the goals of the Sustainable Northampton Plan, Northampton Community Preservation Plan, and Open Space, Recreation and Multi-use Trail Plan to protect open space, provide for passive recreation, and protect heritage landscapes; WHEREAS, on November 15, 2017, the Northampton Community Preservation Committee voted unanimously to recommend that 125,412 in Community Preservation Act funds be used to support this project. NOW, THEREFORE BE IT ORDERED, That 125,412 be appropriated from Community Preservation Act funding to the Northampton Conservation Commission and Office of Planning and Sustainability for the Priority Open Spaces Acquisition Project. And, that the grantee meets the conditions approved by the Community Preservation Committee, the Mayor, and City Council. Specifically, 111,000 is appropriated from the CPA Open Space Reserve (account 2344930-359931), and 14,412 is appropriated from the CPA Undesignated Reserve (account 2344930-359930).
The additional language about Committee Study Requests and Referral of Matters to Committees is based on what he sees as the desirability of having a few more of the items that come before them referred to committee for further discussion and investigation, Councilor Bidwell explained. Regarding the other proposed amendments, there was a time when council rules called for the council to annually adopt by resolution a legislative agenda, or list of the legislative matters they as a council would like to see their legislators take up, he reminded. That rule was stricken, but he thought there would be some value in having a yearly discussion with the Mayor about the Mayor s state legislative priorities. He
615 has mentioned this to the Mayor, and he said he would entertain the idea of participating in such a discussion. Regarding conduct, he has suggested some language to add a little more substance to the instruction that city councilors and members of the public at all times conduct themselves with civility and respect. Re; state legislative priorities, she would like to resurrect what she thinks was originally a good idea by Councilor O Donnell but never used, Councilor Sciarra shared. She noticed in the past term that quite a number of the council s resolutions were based on legislation before the state legislature. At this moment, she feels like there is an increased interest in state legislation as state officials try to protect against what s happening at the federal level. The Mayor does a great job of lobbying for Northampton and she thinks they could have a very informative conversation with him about what he sees on the horizon and how they could play a part in it. Regarding decorum in the chamber; when there are conversations or banter it is extremely hard for her to hear what other councilors are saying. She appreciates everyone s enthusiasm, but it is disruptive and not always momentary. At the last meeting, she didn t hear the motion to adjourn and didn t vote. She thinks it is helpful to be able to point to a specific policy when enforcing this rule. The proposed change to 5.2.1 it is a slight emphasizing of what is already in the rules to stress that it applies to any matter, not just binding legislation, she suggested. It has come up a couple of times recently and there has been some discussion about it, particularly about whether it is appropriate to refer resolutions. She sees this as an opportunity to have a fuller discussion about that. With regard to the proposed change to section 4.7, while he was speaking last week there was a very vocal response to his rhetorical question, Councilor Nash observed. Were he not so much in the zone of his own thoughts, it probably would have thrown him off track, and that s basically what they re trying to avoid. He thinks it s good that they outline expected behavior so that their deliberations do not get interrupted. Regarding legislative priorities, connecting what they do to what s going on at the state house is critical, Councilor Nash agreed. Legislators can put those resolutions in their hip pocket and it becomes part of their ammunition to make their case. With regard to referring matters out to committee, once things come before the full council, council rules prevent them from interacting with the public, he pointed out. The great thing about committee is that more interaction can happen there.
Councilor Dwight said he would be interested in having the amendments referred. The very first rule change he proposed when first elected was to call for more decorum and civility within the chamber, he advised. At the time there were pronounced antipathies expressed by councilors towards the mayor, audience members screaming and yelling; demonstrations; protestations, etc.; there was lots of drama. The mayor left in tears at one point and there were physical threats. As a new councilor, that kind of shook him to the core and he proposed a civility rule. There was pushback from the ACLU, which said it was laudable to aspire to that but wrong to codify it. There was a time after he was re-elected when the council was actually occupied and its proceedings ground to a halt.
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