February 29, 2008
February 28, 2008
a) charitable entities (non-profits)
b) governmental entities that both own and operate the property
are not required to pay the application renewal fee in Baltimore .
As I read the story, however, the plan proposes levying registration fees against ALL non-owner occupied properties, not just "problem properties". To quote Councilor Germain "it's not going to break the bank for landlords, just make them more attentive to their properties." What if someone is already attentive?
In addition Councilor Germain also wants to have annual inspections of renter occupied apartments. Do we have the staff to inspect every non-owner occupied rental unit, which would have to include all the apartments owned by the Worcester Housing Authority, the colleges and the CDC's?
Punishing all landlords of all non-owner occupied units clearly does not address the "problem properties", but merely drives up the costs for good landlords. How about this for an idea, why don't we simply crack down on existing code violations and enforce the Abandoned Building Ordinance?
Lastly what message does this send to the good landlords in the City of Worcester or potential investors considering buying property in Worcester?
February 27, 2008
OK folks … tired of a dormant downtown? … streets rolling up at 05:00pm? Do you want to breathe life into the downtown area and generate some economic spinoff while helping a worthwhile cause? Then come on down to the Dzian gallery on Water Street on April 19 from 06:00-09:00pm for good food , music , drinks & conversation for a fundraiser in my son’s memory with proceeds going to Ride With Pride at Forge Works Farm
The event will have a Mediterranean/Greek/Middle Eastern feel and will most likely sell out so get your tickets early by calling the gallery or stopping by and picking them up beforehand. Hippotherapy or therapeutic horseback riding therapy was started by Alexander the Great back in Ancient Greece to help recover soldiers wounded in battle. The Germans perfected this type of therapy back in the 1960’s and it is an accepted medical practice in the European community for neurological, behavioral and various physical handicaps. We are blessed to have such a facility such as this available in Central Massachusetts, let alone New England.
This type of therapy helped my son tremendously with his autism and I witnessed it help many children/young adults with cerebral palsy, MS ,Autism, stroke victims, etc. So come on down and help a worthy cause while rubbing elbows with yours truly!
During my lifetime I have had maybe 10-15 different mortgages. Each time I am given a choice between a lower adjustable rate or a higher fixed rate. Every single time I have gone with the higher fixed rate to lock in a payment and paid extra. Bad enough I know each year my taxes and insurance go up, at least my principal and interest payment stay the same. Again I feel bad for anyone in foreclosure but why should we bail someone out for their bad decisions?
Maybe if the City of Worcester did not give first time low-mod income home owners down payment assistance or "soft" second mortgages, the home-owner in trouble never would have been able to get the 1st mortgage that is now being foreclosed on. I umderstand the gut reaction to help someone, but their is no better teacher then the forces of the free market.
February 25, 2008
Instead of hiring another consultant to another study, maybe we should dust off the RKG report and read it again? It is pretty scary how right they have been.
February 24, 2008
February 23, 2008
I only hope that they are direct flights and not simply to Columbus, where you transfer. I personally would take a flight from ORH to Florida direct on Skybus, but if there is a stop in Columbus then I would most likely go JetBlue or Southwest.
February 22, 2008
February 21, 2008
Everything listed here are programs offered through the Economic Development Office. Some of these programs, specifically the Storefront Improvement and Facade Program I could spend the next week talking about. Listing National Grid as a reason to Choose Worcester???
Bottom line there is nothing original on this website but merely a compilation of other websites information and links back to these other websites. Again it is early but, for now, very unimpressed.
February 20, 2008
- The whole FOG (Fats, Oil and Grease) ordinance that has effected hundreds of eating establishments does anyone have any idea how the Chamber of Commerce feels about this ordinance?
- The airport has anyone ever heard the Chamber of Commerce really come out on this. Sure they will say something like "we support the airport", but what does that mean?
- Take an issue like the Wyman Gordon parcel where a developer wanted a zone change and did not get it, where was the Chamber of Commerce?
- The bedroom fees for new construction are now at $1,320 per bedroom when it was $660 bedroom three years ago, what does the Chamber of Commerce have to say about that?
- Political endorsements from the Chamber?
We desperately need a strong Chamber of Commerce more then ever and we simply do not have one.
February 19, 2008
It started out slow, but due to the leadership of former State Rep Jim Leary. representatives from CEO's for cities and a great group of college students, we put together a solid clear path for the City of Worcester. Let me recommend that you click here and read it. I am very proud of this 24 page concise report.
The recommendations were awesome and capitalized on the successes of other cities that have had the same problems as the City of Worcester. In the end, we had two main recommendations:
- A structure must be put in place to make the examples laid out by other cities a reality in Worcester. That was done in the form of the Univercity Partnership.
- "Specific reporting requirements and measurement tools must be established and enforced". This was never done!!!!!
As a result nobody has a clue who Armand Carriere is and the efforts of this task force have never been realized. By the way Armand Carriere is the Executive Director of the Univercity Partnership, who was suppose to make our recommendations a reality and our task force a success.
In the end although the process was great, the implemenation of the task force recommendations was awful and I would never waste my time to participate in another task force again. Versus the same PILOT issue coming up every two years at election time, maybe someone should ask about the "specific reporting and measurement tools" regarding the Univercity Partnership to see how we are doing with the recommendations of the task force?
February 18, 2008
Again I just want to emphasize that I take no satisfaction in any business going out of business. As a fellow business-owner I know how hard it is to run your own business and how devastating it must be to close something you work and worry about night and day. I only do this to point out the seriousness of the situation and hope someone takes notice and replaces rhetoric with action.
February 17, 2008
Typically a CDC sold a home, that they either renovated or built new, to a first-time homebuyer, Lets assume the sale price was $200,000 with a 1st mortgage for $150,000 that was paid back each month just like any other mortgage. On top of the 1st mortgage, however, there would be a $50,000 "soft" second mortgage. This mortgage would not have a monthly payment and after the "affordability period" expired, usually 15 years, the mortgage is discharged. The concept being that we are helping first time home-owners of low-mod income buy their 1st home while stabilizing targeted neighborhoods.
This all makes sense, but is based on the premise real estate always rises. What happens if real estate falls, like it has, and the home-owner in the above example stops paying the 1st mortgage forecloses? Nobody bids in this market since the property most likely is not worth the $150,000 that the bank is looking for and the property is taken back by the bank.
Two things happen. First the 2nd mortgage is wiped out. Second the owner is no longer a low to mod income person, which is a violation of the terms of the "affordability period" and HUD says the $50,000 needs to be paid back. Who pays it back? The CDC--NO. The City of Worcester does!!
Bottom line is this the City of Worcester, more or less, has millions lent out around the City of Worcester in the form of "soft" second mortgages and as these homes are lost by the original low to mod income 1st time home-buyer during the "affordability period", the City of Worcester could end up owing millions. Now the City of Worcester has a vested interest to help the person in the above example catch up on their original $150,000 mortgage, to save not having to pay $50,000 back to the Feds. Premise being it is cheaper to give $5,000 to help a person now to keep their house then have to pay back $50,000 later.
The City of Worcester never should have lent monies out like this without some type of indemnification from the underlying developer (usually a CDC) of the property. Just like we should not be in the airport or golf course business, we need to stop being in the real estate business.
January 2008 - 21,404 Passengers
January 2007 - 17,049 Passengers
AIRPORT ANNOUNCES NEW DESTINATION - MYRTLE BEACHJanuary 2008 also brought about the announcement by Southern Skyways of new non-stop service to Myrtle Beach, SC which is scheduled to start May 23, 2008. This will be RFD's eighth non-stop destination; over 300 tickets have been booked since the announcement of service. "The addition of this seasonal service will really help to grow our passenger numbers through the summer travel season," said Board Chairman Mike Dunn. "These leisure-based products, to world class destinations are helping to serve the niche market for Chicagoland - a niche that we continue to work at exposing," he continued.
"Eight World Class Destinations in 2008 and we hope to add a few more," said O'Brien. "We continue to grow existing markets as well as expose new opportunities. What we have here is rare and should not be taken lightly. Many other communities are losing air service, so to be growing by 25% and announcing new cities is really a huge compliment to the region."
AIRPORT OPENS GATE 1 AREA: SUCCESSFULLY MAXIMIZES USE OF COMMUNITY INVESTMENTWith the tremendous growth the airport has experienced in the last five years, the airport has recently completed renovation of former office space in the Main Terminal into additional gate space for passenger operations. The area, approximately 2,000 sq. feet is now part of the secured area where passengers await flights. O’Brien noted that the entire Main Terminal’s upstairs area is now completely secured.
The terminal’s original layout, which was designed over 20 years ago, was designed to service 200,000 passengers a year. The new configuration will support airport operations, as it forecasted to service upwards of 300,000 passengers in 2008. "We continue to review ways to expand flights and live within the box that the community invested in over 20 years ago. Airport staff is dedicated to working within the resources we have and still provide a world-class, hassle free experience for the passenger,” said Dunn.
February 16, 2008
If he agrees I will e-mail 4 or 5 questions, any suggestions would be welcome, which he will reply in writing and then be posted here.
February 15, 2008
To date we have had three blog interviews:
- Bob O'Brien, Airport Director at Rockford
- Jahn, he needs no introduction
- Tom Bona, writer on Rockford at the Rockford Register
I will let you guys, and girls, decide. Potential questions welcome.
February 14, 2008
Fiscal Ending 2007 592,594
Fiscal Ending 2006 1,005,619
Fiscal Ending 2005 1,241,001
These were the only reports on-line, I am going to get the prior amounts. I just do not see how it will reach 10 million, however, as written this past Sunday in Mr Nemeth's article.
February 13, 2008
"Massport is actively involved in trying to attract commercial airlines to the city, currently negotiating with an Ohio-based start-up carrier that has expressed interest in Worcester."
I am guessing that this needs to be Festival Airlines. That said, how can the fact MassPort is in discussions with an Ohio-based start-up not appear in any of the Airport Commission Minutes?
Seriously why is Bob Nemeth privy to this and not in any of the official minutes of the Airport Commission Minutes? ...
February 12, 2008
Intergovernmental 592,594 (Massport Subsidy from the Previous fiscal year 2006)
Salaries & Benefits 1,251,211
Debt Service 664,018
Total Loss 1,520,760
I have changed this about 10 times, but I am starting to think Dick 100% right. For fiscal 2007 it cost the City of Worcester 1,520,760 from the general fund and MassPort 592,594. How the hell the 592,594 was arrived at, I have no idea?
- $2,000,000 dollar loss
- $600,000 of debt service
The $2,000,000 loss is broken down into two types:
- Debt Service: $600,000 that is paid 100% by the City of Worcester, no MassPort subsidy
- Operational Deficit or loss: $1,400,000 which equates to the overall loss (2,000,000) less the debt service (600,000). This is the loss that MassPort pays a subsidy.
- Total Loss: debt service plus operational loss or, in this example, $2,000,000.
Everyone understand, now for the discrepencies in Mr Nemeth's column:
- "MassPort currently picking up 68% of the 2 million-plus operating deficit." This is just plain incorrect. MassPort pays 68% of the operating deficit, which was approximately 900,000 last fiscal year.
- "City has budgeted for a 100% subsidy for fiscal year 2008, expecting a retroactive payment." Just so we are all clear this is 100% subsidy of the operational deficit and does not include the debt service, which is 100% the City of Worcester.
- "the operating agreement, which expires on June 30th, at a higher rate of subsidy". Again plain incorrect. The subisdy was 68% of the operational deficit before June 30th and remains at 68%.
- "Massport, which has invested more then $10 million in the airport." Don't get me wrong we owe a big THANK YOU to MassPort, but I hate it when numbers are not accurate. My guesstimate looking at the numbers is more in 7.5-8 million dollar range.
I may be over-critical here, but it is important that we all have a clear understanding of the numbers and they need to be accurate!
February 11, 2008
The rest of the week I am going to take a closer look at this article and pick a part every day to analyze. From the article, "MassPort does not seem to be in a hurry."
They may not be in a hurry, since $800,000 per year in subsidies paid for ORH by MassPort is a drop in the bucket. On the other hand the $1--$1.2 million dollars paid per year by the tax-payers of Worcester, between 32% of the operating and deficit and 100% of the debt service, is huge.
I do blame MassPort for not being in a hurry. In fact we should thank them for the $10 million that they have given us. On the other hand, we need to replace studies and consultants with action and hurry.
February 10, 2008
I know that I am overly critical of Mr Nemeth, but after all this time this is what has been happening in the background? We already knew that "direct access" is the "key" to the long-term success of the airport. At the same time, we have always maintained that considering direct access off Route 290 at Hope Ave or Cambridge St, was a waste of time, economicly not feasible, would not be finished in my lifetime (43 years old) and most importantly only cause unneeded fear and resentment towards the airport. Bottom line the City Council did the right thing by not supporting these plans.
Instead an exit off the MassPike on to Route 56 could provide the much needed access to the airport, alleviate traffic traveling east-west across the city, pay for itself with toll revenues and be finished within 5 years. Click here for a map. In fact a Pike Entrance proposal has been resurrected, click here for the story.
Unlike the opposition in Worcester, although some in Leicester will oppose, most will see what an exit off the Mass Pike onto Route 56 will do for their property values and tax base. Does Mr Nemeth discuss any of this? No.. What is the answer to our "direct access" problem? Another study, the Worcester Regional Mobility Study!! A study that will cost $425,000, will take 15 months and has not even started yet.
In addition without this mobility study, "Massport management and the agency’s board of directors cannot justify a takeover". Translation, MassPort will not take title to ORH this year, even when the the 3rd six month extenstion ends on December 31st 0f 2008. Looks like another 6 month extension and a decision from MassPort, if the study is done. Bob, what if they do not like the results of the study and vote "no" to a take-over of ORH?
For now lets add this to the other studies and consultants that were suppose to be "the answer".Click here for a more detailed explantion of the studies, but they are:
- ORH Master Plan--final results have not been released
- Airport and Aviation Strategic Planning and Marketing by IMG, who have been retained at a cost of $100,000 from the DOT Small Community Air Service Grant to help retain and recruit a commercial airline.
- New England Regional Air Study Plan
If this mobility study was the "key" to any decision the MassPort Board of Directors would need to make a decision, why hasn't it be done already or in the very least started and close to completion?
Lets all agree that "better" access is the key to long-term success of ORH. We have, however, always argued that the airport in the short-term could be a viable secondary airport with direct leisure flights to popular destination with shuttle service to a major hub. At the very least a break-even operation, not one that loses $2,000,000 per year. Mr Nemeth again blames "direct access" and the reason why Allegiant "bolted" in 2006. If Allegiant passenger loads were excellent, how can you possibly blame access as the reason Allegiant "bolted"?
According to Mr Nemeth, "in the final analysis, however, Massport ownership is the only solution." Can I pose this question for the 1000th time, why are we only talking to MassPort? Additionally the current problems at ORH are our fault because we did not support the acccess roads off 290, which showed a lack of support for the airport to MassPort. As a result we can not blame MassPort now for not wanting to take title, until the Worcester Regional Mobility Study is done. In the meantime keep extending the current agreement, but budget for a 100% retroactive subsidy. In other words Mr Nemeth did his job, we did not listen. Bob, I am deeply sorry please forgive us.
The truth is the real mistake made was that the MassPike onto Route 56 should have always been the "direct" access, not Route 290, that we needed to be discussing for the long-term success of ORH. The short-term failures are simply mismanagement have nothing to do with "access". I myself am not cautiously optimistic.
February 09, 2008
1) Parker Companies
4) Tatnuck Boookseller
5) Morgan Construction (sold)
7) TiNova (I have a gift certificate)
8) Allegiant Air
9) Salter School
10) Barbers Crossing
11) EB Luce
12) DeScenza Jeweler
13) Bancroft Tire and Car Sales
14) Applebee's downtown
15) Mayfield Plastics to Millbury
16) Palsons Office
17) Union Station Restaurant
18) Blues Club at Union Station
19) Vincent Jewelers
20) Bob's at Webster Square
22) Parker & Harper on Dewey Street
23) Manoog Plumbing
24) Fidelity on Belmont
25) Sheraton Lincoln on Lincoln
26) L Hardy
27) Shaws on Grafton Street
28) Java Hut
29) Marshall's Greendale Mall
30) FDR Library
31) Plumber's Museum
35) Struck Cafe
36) KB Toys
37) Friendlys on Lincoln Street
38) Blackstone Harvest
39) Bancroft Liquors
40) 80's Club
February 08, 2008
I'm an industry person who is rooting for the success of ORH.I think the airport could/should become viable. The political infrastructure is better aligned than most of ORH's peers. You get the feeling that with a couple of calls O'Brien, McGovern and others will be ready to smooze with an airline...and that's a very good thing.
Airline expertise and networking, however, is lacking. There is none at the airport as far as I can tell.
Massport is far more concerned about the success of BOS than ORH. ORH seems to be a pawn in their broader chess game. IMG is tied into Massport too. An alignment with Massport is ok, but the city needs to control the airline process as it is the only one with a vested interest in its success...and I mean that not from the P&L of the airport, but for the broader economic development of the city/western suburbs (which is far more important than the airport's finances in the mid/long run).
Does the business community really believe in ORH? If so, they need to be ready with a package now to offer when the right carrier shows an interest. Engineering something during the courtship rarely works out.
Ops is a problem and probably why Skybus overlooked ORH as they were hyper-sensitive to it during their New England swing a couple of years ago. But it's not that much of a problem. If the city had a detailed (not pie-in-the-sky)plan for the fog/ILS when Skybus walked through the door, then they probably would have remained interested.Bottom line: A package incorporating the ops piece, revenue assurances via the business community, an overall business case of why ORH makes sense from the revenue side of the equation, and generic incentives (landing fees, parking, etc.) needs to be put together and then properly marketed to the right airline people...and not just your average "Director- Market Planning".
February 07, 2008
I'll second one of the anonymous replies, though: the taxiway and the ILS need some serious attention. The taxiway could/should be extended to the end of 11/29 without much hassle. And better ILS would mean more reliability in marginal weather -- that's a huge deal.
Right now, Rwy 11 is Cat. I, and there's no ILS on 15/33, which is more than long enough to handle turboprops like the 1900. (By the way, 15/33 IS the second runway. And no, a third runway isn't necessary. Likewise, moving the terminal, fire station, etc., isn't a wise move unless there's demand for a bigger terminal.) Upgrading ILS to Cat. II (preferably on both 11/29 and 15/33) would get a lot more bang for the buck.
February 06, 2008
Since that time I have seen alot of comments from the likes of Harry Tembenis and the Tim McDonalds, people who have no vested interest other then they want to see a vibrant ORH like myself. At the same time, I can understand how some might not want to identify themselves, which is fine. Maybe they are shy or maybe they are at work, but why would elected officials who insist on transparency in governement not put up a post??? Not one elected official has ever put a post on this blog, so does that mean not one elected official has ever read this blog.....
What truly confuses me, however, are the "anonymous" posts from people, who actually work at the airport? Seriously, if I worked and believed in the airport and knew of this blog, I would check this blog every day to check the facts, dispel any falsehoods and leave comments with my phone, e-mail and cell phone.
Bottom line is that it amazes me that "powers to be", who have a vested interest in ORH, do not realize how much support that they could actually gather from wackos like us on this blog . Think about it, we were actually excited to simply see a charter from JetBlue land and take off from ORH. Maybe hereine lies the problem???
The people in charge who do not know how to build alliances within the community, how can we expect them to attract an airline? Instead they hide behind Airport Commission minutes and consultants and blame the rest of us for not supporting them?? Maybe it is their job to sell the benefits of ORH to us so we can support them, versus remaining "anonymous"??
I am not comparing downtown with Harrington Corner days of yester-year, but back in the mid to late 80's downtown was a hopping place and somewhat exciting for a person out of college starting his career. Granted it was not Boston, but it was not bad. Can not imagine starting a career now walking around downtown every day?
Maybe, I hope it does, things like the Hanover Theatre, the new restaurant on Pearl Street, some movement with City Square and the Mayo Group will change this, but we need to call a spade a spade. Downtown Worcester is in the worst shape that I have seen it the 20 years that I have worked down here.
February 05, 2008
- no commercial flights
- little general aviation activity
- required never to finish the Master Plan
- never spend the DOT grant monies
- quiet surroundings
- you can lose millions and nobody will question you
- do not have to answer any questions to the press or anyone else
- great benefits
- annual salary $106,370
When was the last time anyone has heard or seen our Airport Director?
February 04, 2008
February 03, 2008
Three years back he came to my office when he was on the Airport Commission (he may have even been the chairman), to size me up after I created the FlyORH website and this blog. Basically he told me that if I wanted to get anything done at the airport, I needed to go through the "proper channels" (him). Even if I had a good idea, he could crush it if it did not have his blessing and "he knows where all the bodies are buried".
I realized how bad things were, when during our meeting, I had to explain to him what privatization of the airport meant? He also had a very tough time with the wifi concept? Needless to say he did not like me and I did not like him, but what really scared me was he was more concerned about his "power" then the airport's success.
Every Sunday since then I always read his story first, although it is getting harder and harder to find each week. Today's story on the Super Bowl is a must read "Super Bowl a Super Bore".
- Peyton Manning's sense of humor? Am I missing something..
- Belichick is the world's most boring human being? This guys management and motivational skills are amazing and if he was on the ORH Airpord Board the past ten years, I guarantee you that ORH would be successful today.
- Bruschi, Seau and Maroney are inarticulate jocks? Although I have not heard many interviews with Maroney, Bruschi and Seau most definately are not inarticulate.
Bill Belichick and the Patriots organization are more then just a football team. They represent how a business should be run and that with the proper organization, top to bottom, you can have success. Tonight when we are all watching the Super "Bore" and hopefully watch the Pats go 19-0, we should all think of Mr Nemeth and the 0-19 team he has put together at ORH.