December 31, 2009
The Chamber of Commerce says that the dual-tax rate is stagnating Worcester’s commercial growth. Not true. What’s undermining Worcester’s commercial and residential tax base isn’t the dual tax rate, it’s the growing poverty rate. Jordan Marsh (Macy’s), Filene’s and Sears didn’t leave Worcester because of taxes. They left because of the growing poverty population, and because they couldn’t get customers to come to Worcester. And now, Diamond Chevrolet is following Sears to Auburn. Why? Customers!
Worcester’s galleria had the best stores in New England, yet couldn’t get enough customers. Many suburbanites and even Worcesterites would shop the Auburn Mall, and malls to the east of Worcester to avoid dealing with the poverty people downtown. Worcester lost its entire retail center to surrounding towns, and the Chamber of Commerce said nothing.
Under Judeo-Christian law, we are mandated to help the poor, but we aren’t mandated to destroy Worcester with poverty housing, which is driving out our upper-income residents to the suburbs. Upscale retail and other industries will follow the upper-income to the suburbs.
I’m disgusted with the Chamber of Commerce because it refuses to speak the truth. The truth is, to expand the tax base we must do three things.
- First, initiate a moratorium on the production of low-income rental housing.
- Second, upgrade the entire inner-city, starting with downtown.
- Third, get rid of the Chamber of Commerce that has done nothing for Worcester, and bring on the Worcester City Chamber of Commerce that will represent Worcester exclusively apart from the towns.
RICHARD L. CHERNISKY Worcester
December 30, 2009
December 29, 2009
Once we have it nailed down, I will post the income and expense statement here and hope the city administration requires the other 4 NRSA's to do the same so we all know exactly how all the NRSA's are investing these CDBG funds.
Guest blogger, Dave "Dewey" Zimage
I decided to get some facts from the U.S. gov't about Worcester, Somerville, Springfield, and Providence. I chose these 4 cities because most of us DO NOT think we should "aspire" to be Springfield but rather use Providence and Somerville as examples of where we should be going as a city. BTW, I concur with that thought process.
Here is the link to the site - http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/25/2582000.html
To be honest, I think what you, Paul and others do in the city is admirable but I don't think Worcester is nearly as bad as the recent tone suggests in some of the posts. Granted some of the data from the government is "old" but this is the type of data that prospective business owners look at when deciding if they want to locate in a particular community. I only looked at the city proper not their defined metropolitan areas which in the case of Somerville wouldn't be comparing apples to apples because they are part of the Boston metropolitan area. In fact, I believe that accounts for some (if not all) of the higher median family home price in Somerville (its proximity to Boston). I think Worcester would look substantially better statistically as a metropolitan area in all of the categories.
I highlighted some lines that I believe sheds some rather positive light on Worcester when compared to the others.
1) We are outclassed by Somerville in the number of persons 25+ with a Bachelor's Degree or higher but we're fairly close with Providence.
2) We were the leader in total retail sales and sales per capita by a quite significant amount of all 4 cities. So much for the perception that a store would not want to locate here or could actually be successful.
3) The poverty rate in Providence was 29% vs. 18% in Worcester and our median income is higher than Providence. Somerville was way ahead of both cities in this category and I applaud them for it. However, I have to wonder, is this because young professionals started discovering Somerville 20 years ago as a natural extension from the higher housing costs in Cambridge? Even Paul has to admit that Somerville didn't happen overnight.
I truly believe Worcester has a perception problem more than anything else and we constantly sell ourselves short. The locals (especially those that have lived their entire life in Worcester) don't see the positives as quickly as an outsider because we tend to focus on what isn't working. We need to sell what is good about Worcester while working on the issues that are before us.
For example, some of the good stuff, an incubator for Biotech - MCPHS - Hanover Theatre - Centrum/DCU Center which put us on the entertainment map - world renowned Mechanics Hall - world renowned Worcester Art Museum - St. Vincent Hospital relocating to downtown instead of the suburbs - our colleges - Union Station finally beginning to hit its stride - Worcester Academy - Mayo Group's aggressive makeover of downtown (have you seen their rehabs on Portland Street yet?) - locally owned 4 star restaurants (why does success have to be defined by having an Abe & Louie's, Capital Grille, or Morton's) - Canal District being driven by private investment - Paulie's NOLA Fest - First Night (we are the oldest New Year's Eve First Night after Boston) - our proximity to Boston, the seashore and the mountains - Worcester's affordable housing stock. And the list could go on and on and on...
That is why I truly believe that CitySquare will help us (locals) focus on some of the positive stuff. If everything Berkley Investments has promised comes to fruition with CitySquare ( and I'm realistic enough to know that the project scope could change significantly over the next couple of years), what a positive story to shout from the rooftops.
December 28, 2009
- The above-ground sewer line from May Street over to Main Street, is that legal.
- The closing off a public street next to the newest low to mod income project on Piedmont Street.
- The status of all the loans from the City of Worcester to the various tenants at Union Station.
- Exactly what price are we selling ORH to MassPort.
- Best Buy, although any reporting is way too late
- What is exactly going on with the former Royal Linen property on Mason Street, 4 years after it was sold via RFP
- Pharmasphere, the company who was suppose to start building in the spring of 2008 that has not even taken title to the property as we enter 2010. The latest story from the Telegram reporting Planing Board approval was more of a press release then reporting.
- Abe & Louie's
- Capital Grille
Very expensive, very good steak houses. Now do you think the City of Boston Economic Development Office should get credit for three great steak houses like this? Why do you think there are three great steakhouses like this in one neighborhood? Maybe there is alot of low mod income housing on Newbury and Boylston Street The more and more we talk about this on the blog, the more I know that it is the people. We need to get people with money to come back into the City of Worcester's downtown core and low mod income housing development is not doing it.
December 27, 2009
- Then why are we going into the lending business?
- Do we have a credit department that analyzes the credit worthiness of the said applicant?
- What type of billing department do we have?
- What steps do we take if a loan goes into default?
- How is our current loan portfolio performing?
December 26, 2009
- all existing loans
- status (current, behind etc)
- amount owed
Before any more loans are considered.
December 24, 2009
- A task force is convened to look at the dual rate tax system and review options like Citizens for Business Philadelphia Plan
- I lose my bet with Dave Zimage
- Al Maykiel is reimbursed for his facade project by the City of Worcester before 2010
- No more low-mod income housing developments in 2010
- The Chandler NRSA receives more monies to continue the good work that we have been doing
- The Chamber of Commerce does something, anything
December 23, 2009
Let me explain, We have done this twice at Union Station and both restaurants failed owing the City of Worcester money. True, both have been replaced by realtively (I think) successful new businesses. Does anyone know how much money is owed, however, on these prior loans? Did the new tenants take over payments? I do not know the answer to either.
Councilor Palmieri suggested that the loan was good and would help spur economic activity. I agree, the loan does spur economic activity so why not offer to any business looking to do a build out? The reason we are doing these loans for Union Station and the Major Taylor parking garage is because these are city assets and the city is trying to get tenants to help pay down their debt. Imagine the commercial spaces for the Union Station parking garage will be next.
In the end I do not think the City of Worcester should be giving out loans to businesses to do build-outs, just like we should not be in the airport business. Micro-loans for facades/storefronts should be the extent of the City of Worcester's lending portfolio.
December 22, 2009
Imagine if this happened on Montvale.
What do you expect to happen when you fill the inner core of the City of Worcester with low-mod income developments?
December 21, 2009
- Direct Air flew in and out of ORH yesterday. Kudos to ORH and Direct Air.
- Rumor mill cranking. Major chain announcement coming soon to the new Wal-Mart on Route 146
- My bet with Zimage looking good
- Another rumor mill item Heard Punta Cana in the Dominican from ORH?
December 18, 2009
Couple points were left out that I would like to add. This bid was awarded in January of 2008 (almost two years ago) with construction to start last Spring. To date the winning bidder has yet to take title. In addition the the City of Worcester is guaranteeing a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Section 108 loan program administered by the city in the amount of 2.5 million that was never in the initial RFP.
Bottom line nearly two years later,
- title has not transferred
- lot itself is still a mess
- no taxes have been paid
- City of Worcester is now on the hook on a 2.5 million dollar loan.
December 17, 2009
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez painted capitalism as the enemy of the earth — not to mention the cause of AIDS, poverty and war — in a speech to the UN Summit on Climate Change that invoked Mohammed, Jesus Christ and Simon Bolivar.
“The cause of all this disastrous situation is the destructive capitalist system,” the Venezuelan socialist leader told delegates Wednesday.“Capitalism is the road to hell.” “I would exhort the government and the people of the earth … to say that if the destructive nature of capitalism exists, let’s fight against it and make it obey us,” he said. “If capitalism resists, then we have to give battle against capitalism and open our way to save mankind.”
But, the Venezuelan leaders attacks on capitalism did not bother the leftist representatives at the summit meeting.They gave him a rousing ovation.Andrew Bolt reported: President Chavez brought the house down.
When he said the process in Copenhagen was “not democratic, it is not inclusive, but isn’t that the reality of our world, the world is really and imperial dictatorship…down with imperial dictatorships” he got a rousing round of applause.
When he said there was a “silent and terrible ghost in the room” and that ghost was called capitalism, the applause was deafening.
December 16, 2009
December 15, 2009
Answer. They figure by doing at night they will can avoid any permitting fees or engineered plans that may be required.
December 14, 2009
Click here for the story. Good story, but a couple things that were not able to make the story. First Steve Foley was able to download numbers from the Department of Transportation site for the first 7 months of this year.
- January, 2009 26 flights 1615 passengers 3874 seats
- February, 2009 24 flights 2248 passengers 3576 seats
- March, 2009 25 flights 1898 passengers 3347 seats
- April, 2009 31 flights 2401 passengers 4106 seats
- May, 2009 24 flights 1726 passengers 3171 seats
- June, 2009 20 flights 1720 passengers 2656 seats
- July, 2009 9 flights 971 passengers 1341 seats
12,579 passengers out of a possible 22,071 seats equates to a 56.99% load factor.
Secondly, I tried to emphasize how Cape Air with their JetBlue code sharing would have been perfect for ORH like it has been for Hyannis. Would have like to have seen some answers from the Airport Director as to why this has not happened.
December 13, 2009
- Commence land development within one year
- Complete development within two years
- Land shall not be used for the storing or dumping of trash or refuse
It has been four years, development has not started although the land was used to store fill when the new Worcester Sttate Parking garage was built.
- The City of Worcester should find a balance in its affordable housing needs that benefits all of its residents. Demographic indicators suggest that the increase in rental assisted living housing during the 1990's, coupled with the high supply of low value units, has attracetd lower income residents to the City. This, in turn, has not helped the residential tax base!
- The City should be less aggressive in providing rental assisted housing if the object of the residential housing stategy is to improve the tax base.
- Off street parking should be the priority for any vacant lot or available tax title property.
- The CCDC's in the future should be considered more of a developer of last choice.
Looking back at this study it is amazing how right they are and startling how we did the exact opposite of what they recommended in 2002.
December 12, 2009
December 11, 2009
I do, however, disagree with his Housing policy that focused on dense concentration of low-mod income developments in concentrated areas mainly through the CDC's. We need to completely change the focus of our Housing policy and as the RKG study said place " More emphasis should be placed on attracting a higher class of people, who in turn would improve the commercial vitality of the City, and allow the City to leverage more private investment to increase the amount of upper-end products."
There are many cities that do not have the required minimum low income housing units that would benefit from the skills of our former Housing Director, who was actually incredible (no exaggeration), combining and leveraging the various sources to build "affordable" units while obtaining all the underlying variances.
December 08, 2009
Remember last year when I commented on the fact the most, if not all the apartments, were low to mod income and Gabe countered that the second phase would consist of market rate condos. Let me ask you a question, Gabe do anyone really think market rate condos are coming to this location???
For now, I will even settle for a parking lot for the apartments that have been built. Drive by and check out the parking lot. Trick question, there is no parking lot. Sure there is an empty area, where cars park, but a up to code parking lot is suppose to have set backs for green area sand property drainage.
This lot has none of this. Imagine if a private developer did this?? Once again, another example, of two sets of rules. How does one get an occupancy permit when there is no parking lot for the apartments?
December 05, 2009
They only want 15 Billion, let me say that again BILLION over the next 10 years. If the Feds do not commit to that, then just 1 BILLION for this year. But there is more:
- Limit the deduction of mortgage interest to end at $400,000, not the current $1,000,000. Can you imagine the effect this would have on houses priced over $400,000, if you could not deduct the mortgage interest?
- Urged a federal tax credit for renters. Again effect would this have on the home building industry?
- Double the number of the nation's 2 million Section 8 vouchers
The one the blows me away was her line "home buyer tax credits, will not stimulate new housing, she said, but is directed at upper income housing purchasers, most of whom would have bought those homes regardless of the credit." Nothing could be further from the truth. Home buyer credit has been the impetus for many first time home-buyers, who are not upper income, to buy a house.
Bottom line is that the National Low Income Housing Coalition wants to promte rentals not the American Dream of home ownership.
December 03, 2009
For years, flying to Orlando on Allegiant Air meant a flight into Sanford International (SFB), the metro area's secondary airport. Not any more. In a move that highlights increasing competition with low-cost rivals, Allegiant announced Tuesday it will begin flying into Orlando International (MCO) – the city's primary airport – as well as to its longtime base at SFB.
Actually Cranky has a good blog on it too.
BOSTON — Gov. Deval Patrick is rolling out a new $150 million loan fund designed to help create more affordable housing units in Massachusetts.
The fund, created primarily using private resources, is intended to fill the funding gap faced by affordable housing developers unable to get financing for their projects from traditional lenders.
The announcement follows Patrick's decision last week to sign a bill aimed at preserving the state's existing supply of subsidized housing units.
Patrick said about 17,000 units are at risk over the next three years as their owners pay off publicly subsidized mortgages and are able to seek higher, market-rate rents.
Some tenants groups say the new law is too weak and doesn't offer enough protections.
December 02, 2009
Got to give Gary Vecchio credit for locking in councilors, up to 9 months, on this vote way before any numbers are ever released. Lets hope councilors realize their mistake, however, and wait for numbers to be released before they commit to anything? Truly believe some of the councilors last night realize they were making a mistake, but did not want to back off from a promise that they had made.
Lastly where is the Chamber of Commerce. Sure, they got up and talked last night, but this needs to be their number one mission (24/7) of the Chamber of Commerce. Today they should be on the front page of the Telegram, on all the radio shows and fighting the fight starting today not next year at tax classification time.
Bottom line Gary Vecchio is 100 times more powerful then our Chamber of Commerce.
Councilors were concerned that an affordable housing requirement would have led to more low income housing, saying the city really needs more commercial development. Also, there was concern that the rules would have made it difficult for abutters to challenge development plans.
December 01, 2009
I'm concerned that the elected officials only care about short term elections and appeasing the majority of homeowners (voters) in Worcester, instead of paying attention to the long term prosperity of the City as a whole. By rubber stamping a dual tax rate ("lowest residential"), Worcester is losing not just tax revenue, but the multiplier effect of jobs, higher home values, and fiscal budget sustainability that small and large businesses create. Without jobs (provided by private business), how can individuals afford to buy homes with the bonus side effect of increasing home prices/equity.
I'm the president of the Osgood Bradley Building at 18 Grafton St. I'm sick of watching my tax rate increase, while my tenants (unable to afford increases in rent to offset the increase in tax), go out of business. My building is now 80% empty. My tax bill is about $50,000. This is ridiculous on a building that loses about $75,000 a year. I have no spare money for maintenance or upgrades. There are few companies looking to move to Worcester, when they get a better lease rate in other towns.
I'm starting to examine selling my building, and non-profits seem to be able to pay the most. I wonder if it is because they will save $50,000 a year in taxes. How many vacant buildings and non-profits (not paying property taxes) do you want in the city?
Yes - you have a revenue problem in the City of Worcester, but the current dual rates compounds the problem, and doesn't lead towards a sustainable solution. As a elected official, you often have tough choices.
I would recommend a stepped program towards a single rate, and paying for it through complete wage/salary freezes for city workers (no cola, raises, or steps!), until the single rate is fully adopted. Also - I'd recommend rather than needing political favors, and time spent filling out paperwork for TIF's, that across the board, for all commercial property, that any improvements made in 2010-2012 will NOT increase taxable value of the property for 20 years. This would immediately spur investment, and start to restore jobs and prosperity in the city.
Your decision today on the Tax Rate, will help make my decision to shut down my building, sell to a non-profit, or explore investing in the property to land new tenants and businesses.
President Osgood Bradley Building Corporation
I think it is safe to say, after not winning a road game all year, the Pats are now in the 2nd tier of good teams. The Colts, the Saints and the Vikings are the top teams. Not saying the Pats can not pull this out, but they are going to have to improve alot and get lucky.
November 30, 2009
November 29, 2009
The sewer line in May Street is a combo sewer and drain line, which when it rains is near full capacity. As a result sewerage from 12 May Street can not enter the line and backs up into the basement and we have all seen the damage that has done.
On the other hand the sewer line on Main Street has capacity to handle the sewerage from 12 May Street. What to do? Just run a sewer line above ground through an abutting property that neither you nor the City of Worcester owns and tap into the Main Street line.
Imagine a private developer doing this?? The more I think about this, this really is incredible.
November 28, 2009
November 27, 2009
Reading the headline I assumed that during a public hearing a Holy Cross official went after Councilor Haller rudely. Then I read the story. The reporter was not even there; however, "several neighborhood residents told the Telegram that there was a private exchange after the meeting. How about the names of the neighborhood residents??? Do you really think "several neighborhood residents" called the Telegram about this exchange?
Then the reporter quotes comments from Mr Vellaccio, the Holy Cross official, from the person being "lashed out" it?? Wouldn't that be somewhat biased?? Did anyone else confirm these quotes? I would not even run this on the blog if someone reported this to me.
Next time Paul Colyer and I get into a heated arguement and he lashed out at me, I am going to call the Telegram and tell them how Paul "lashed out" at me and see if they run a story on it?
November 26, 2009
- 10/1/9 Main South CDC $1,700,000 for 189 Beacon Street
- 9/21/9 Main South CDC $1,700,000 for 20 Charlton Street
- 9/6/9 Worcester Stabilization LLC (David Zisskind) $700,000 140 Eastern Ave
If I am reading this right Main South CDC has received 2 of 3 loans (which are really grants)granted for Neighborhood Stabilization to the tune of $3,400,000. I was told just the opposite that these Neighborhood Stabilization monies were suppose to be funneded to private property owners not just the CDS's.
In addition the Worcester City Economic Development
- 9/25/9 Main South CDC $400,000 for 93 Grand Street and 58 Gardner . Not to mention most of their NRSA monies went to this project also.
Over the last two months it looks $3,800,000 has gone to Main South CDC. What credit crisis? Ironically the Chandler Business Association, who has done ever thing that we were suppose to do regarding our NRSA, can get no monies for Year 3 funding when we have nearly $300,000 representing some 25 projects lined up.
A member send me a message today. Maybe we should call ourselves the Chandler Street CDC and we would get whatever we want? Starting to think he is right. Just another example of the unfair playing ground between the developers of low to mod income housing and the private developer in the City of Worcester.
Does anyone know the status of this facet of the project?
November 25, 2009
November 24, 2009
How much is this going to cost? Appears to be two loans:
- Book 43717 page 1 Mass Housing/EONS 2,756,012
- Book 43716 page 343 Banknorth 520,800
In other words in the 3,200,000 - 3,300,000 million dollar range. Please note this project has absolutely no off street parking. Ironically I am listening to the D4 Councilor at the City Council complaining how a project on the corner of May/Woodland that has provided off street parking, but the tenants are parking in the street not the said lot, thus putting a strain on the neighborhood.
Where do you think the people who live at 1-7 Piedmont Street will park, when in fact there is no off street parking at all? ZBA waived all parking requirements here. Just another example of the double standard between private developers and developers of low to mod income housing.
November 23, 2009
- Book 43505 Page 314 Deed 130,000
- Book 43505 Page 326 Mortgage 100,100 from Bank of America
- Book 43505 Page 342 Mortgage 26,000 from Bank of America
- Book 43505 Page 358 Mortgage 7,510 from Mass Housing Partnership
So far so good. Bottom line it is mortgaged to the hilt. Here is where I get confused there is a 4th mortgage
5. Book 43505 Page 365 Mortgage 66,519 from the City of Worcester
Jahn, help!!! Here you have a property sold for 130,000, but now has 4 mortgages in excess of 200,000? Bottom line it appears to me that the Main South CDC can sell a unit for $130,000 get it 100% financed and then get the city of Worcester to kick in another $66,000!!!! Bottom line Main South CDC gets about $200,000 for a unit that they sell for $130,000???
Same with 8A Kilby on 12/22/8
- Book 43615 page 289 deed 130,000
- Book 43615 page 301 mortgage Bank of America 100,100
- Book 43615 page 317 mortgage Bank of America 26,000
- Book 43615 page 335 mortgage City of Worcester 66,519
In total it looks like both side of this duplex were sold for $130,000 each, but the Main South CDC received about 400,000, not 260,000,, since the City of Worcester gave out over $132,000 in HOME funds? Worse part is that these mortgages helld by the City of Worcester are in last position. If the mortgagee ever goes into default on any of the "hard" mortgages and a non low to mod income person takes title during the affordability period, the presiding jurisdiction (City of Worcester) needs to pay back the HOME funds.
November 22, 2009
Same here, I like Scott Hayman, although I have questionned many of Scott's Housing policies and decisions over the past ten years. In fact, about 5 years ago an empty building went out for RFP on Gardner Street, right behind Moynihan's, that was awarded to Main South CDC. About 6 months after the award, I was told that Main South CDC was not interested and I could buy it through direct negotiations, since I owned the abutting empty lot.
About a month later, the Main South CDC changed their mind and now wanted to buy it? I questioned this since the initial RFP stated the winning bidder had to buy the property within either 30 or 60 days? It was now some 7 months later!!! The Executive Office of Neighborhood Services (EONS) disagreed with me and continued with the sale to the Main South CDC until I called the Inspector General, who agreed with me and ordered the property to be rebid. This prompted the Executive Director of the Main South CDC proceeded to call me a "pain in the ass" in Worcester Mag. Evidently asking for terms of an RFP to be enforced, which the Inspector General agreed was the right thing to do, is being a "pain in the ass"?
This one transaction exemplifies the whole problem with the City of Worcester Housing Policy and their over-reliance on CDC's, whose main function is to create more low to mod income housing in the City of Worcester. If Jahn, I or you had won the bid, you can bet that that we would not have gotten any extension to put up the cash to buy the property.
Exactly what the City of Worcester is looking into?? Don't know, but I have a couple of requests:
- Review all LDA (Land Disposition Agreements) that have been signed the past five-seven years on properties conveyed via the RFP (Request for Proposal) process. Look no furter then the former Royal Linen property on Mason Street that was conveyed over 4 years ago, are they in compliance with the LDA?
- Review the financial statements of the 5 NRSA's. How can the Beacon Brightly NRSA invest practically all of their monies to benefit the Main South CDC?
- Review the policy, whereby a private party partners with a local non-profit partner, moves the property temporarily into the non-profits contol so that they can get EPA Brownfield Grant monies only to transfer it back when the clean-up is done. This was done on Mason Street and is proposed to be done at City Builders. Is this legal?
- How do the same contractors time and time again get all the contracting work, who by the way, many of which are not based in Worcester?
Maybe this is a good time for the City of Worcester to review the whole direction of our Housing Policy. In 2003, we paid RKG some $25,000 to do a Housing Study and it was awesome. They nailed it and told the City of Worcester it was over-reliant on the CDC's and their quest to build low to mod income housing developments everywhere. RKG even suggested that we tear down three deckers to provide off street parking for the neighborhood, versus spending $600,000 to rehab a three decker.
At that time their conclusions were attacked, by those with a vested interest to see the current policy continue, and the City of Worcester caved, disregarded all the recommendations in the study and continued to do everything that RKG told us not to do. Check out my map. City Manager O'Brien and the City Council should not pay for another study, but merely dust off the RKG study, read the conclusion and change the whole direction of our Housing policy.
Lastly get ready for the wave of people, the same ones who attacked the RKG Study without knowing any of the facts that need the gravy train of Federal and State monies to keep building more low to mod income housing to support their livelihood, come to Scott's defense .
November 19, 2009
Now this is completely unconfirmed but my opinion, but how many times had this bank been held up the past 3-4 years? How much business do you think the retail tellers actually did here??
I would chalk this up as closed business.
November 18, 2009
“I think we’re very focused on getting the lease settled. So again, I want to assure, we are absolutely committed to that project. We’re very excited about that project and, again, getting the development under way.”
Please note the absence of a date. My January 1st deadline bet is looking with Dewey.
November 17, 2009
This was the only time since Direct Air has been at the airport that passengers had to be bussed to Hartford. It does not happen a lot as was stated. Also, I just tried to book a flight around Xmas, and it looks like Direct Air has added many flights to the schedule! Great sign!
November 16, 2009
November 14, 2009
Good e-mail and Lew is a good man, I would consider him for my vote and I would not even have to change my address to Worester.
Sorry I took so long but do not think we will use this airport again. It was foggy so we had to be bused to Hartford. From what I hear this happens a lot. The computers were down at the airport also. We also had bought our seats but they said that did not matter it would be open seating. But I must say it sure did seem like a good idea and a very nice airport.
I was impressed with the planes, very clean, very spacious and modern. The crew was good too. I just think it is the fact that I can not depend on them if it has rain or fog.
They did give me a $100 credit to fly if I book again within a year because they did change our flight dates also as we were supposed to leave on Thursday and they cancelled Thursday flights.
November 13, 2009
On a serious note I don't really know the whole story so I am not taking sides. My point is I only wish the ZBA was as tough when a CDC comes in front of them asks for 100 different variances and gets them? The people on the board are all good people and they think they are doing the right thing (low to mod income housing), but they really need to take a step back and rethink this.
November 12, 2009
I agree with her. In fact I already thought we had been doing this:
- some politicos vote whereever no matter where they live
- State Senators live in Boston while representing Worcester
- city councilors change to voting addresses to their mom's house
On a serious note maybe we should consider letting people who do not live in the City of Worcester serve on boards? The only requirement being that they must be a tax-payer in the City of Worcester.
November 11, 2009
I talked to CVS' Director of Real Estate for this region. She said that, with the acquisition last year by CVS of the over 500 California based Long Drug Stores for $3 billion, CVS now has over 7000 stores to manage in the USA.
CVS intends to open the new Park Avenue (at May St.) store on January 24, 2010. Thats more than two months away for a store that appears to have been completed a few months ago.
This new CVS store will be replacing the small store doing business now on Park Avenue near Pleasant St. At first I was told that there might be some legal issue with the lease at the small store, issues that require CVS to keep that store open for so many months more before a new store can replace it within such close proximity. Perhaps the landlord receives more rent if the store's sale figures reach a certain plateau. She said if that's the case, the lease could have a clause in it to protect the landlord from decreasing sales caused by the actions (closing) of this CVS. This issue was one that she was not completely sure of.
She also suggested that, with the acquisition of Longs stores, their limited number of setup teams have been working hard on those transitions and probably haven't been available to the Worcester and other new stores around the country. In scheduling Worcester's new Park Avenue store for setup and opening, they also didn't want to disrupt the Christmas and Hanukkah shopping season at the present small store.
I asked her why the word "Pharmacy" is covered on the new store. She said that laws provide that a pharmacy can't be advertised at any new store until the MA Board of Pharmacy has officially licensed a pharmacy to operate at that location. That won't happen until much closer to the grand opening in January.
I have been told it has something to do with their occupancy permit?? Strictly unconfirmed, but something along the lines if they get an occupancy permit now they need to pay taxes for the whole year but if they wait until January 1st--they will save alot of money????
Again strictly rumor. Anyone out there know what is going on.
November 10, 2009
Also work may continue on other floors. 25???
November 09, 2009
I have note read the flier and have reviewed the website. Is this card free or does it cost money to earn the discounts through the WooCard. If it does cost money, how much? Actually, I just found it costs $20 bucks to start wooing.
Here are some of the benefits:
- 50% discount off the Christmas Carol at the Hanover
- Ecotarium $2 off adult and $1 off children tickets
- Music Worcester $3 off regular admission
- Museum of Russian icons-buy one ticket get one free
- Fruitlands-buy one ticket get one free
Too bad restaurants could not sign up and off a discount if you use the WooCard?
November 07, 2009
What caught my eye was when Nick wrote Mr. Palmieri recently changed his voter registration address to 247 Shrewsbury St., which is where his mother lives, where he grew up and in Mr. Pedone’s legislative district. Mr. Palmieri’s previous voting address at 28 Buckingham St. is outside Mr. Pedone’s district and is instead represented by state Rep. James O’Day, D-West Boylston, whom Phil ran against and lost.
Say that again? You can just change you voter registration to your mom's address. Does this mean I can just change to my mom's address too and vote in the City of Worcester elections? Maybe I can do that and run for City Council.
Guess if we allow a person to be our State Senator for four years, who lived in Boston but declared his mom's address as residency, nothing should surprise us.
November 05, 2009
Last night I go to bed with the Yankees leading game 6th in the 8th inning. Today I pick up newspaper and go right to the sports section and see a listing for Game 7 and time, Think to myself somehow the Phillies must have won only to see a subtitle under the picture with a score from the 6th inning.
For all my fellow bloggers, there will be no Game 7. The Yankees won last night 7-3 and are the World Series Champs of 2009. Maybe tomorrow the Worcester Telegram will have that on the front page of the sports section.
Just got to work and the newspaper had the Yankees winning the World Series.. Must have been the Holden edition.
November 04, 2009
Council will vote to tap into the last $12 million. Dewey, looks like I will win the UNUM bet which is less then two months away. Double or nothing on this one.
First, it is very difficult to beat a sitting district councilor.
Second, since there are only 6 at large spots it is pretty hard for someone to break in on a city wide basis.
In other words, at most we may get 1 maybe 2 new councilors every two years under the currrent system. If it was the top 11 , I think you would see more turn over and more interest.
November 03, 2009
With the city struggling to attract new business in a slow economy, the City Council voted last night to continue to tax all property at the same rate.
During a public hearing before the vote, City Assessor Dennis Comee told councilors that charging industrial or commercial taxpayers more than residential ones would hamper the city’s economic development efforts.
November 02, 2009
November 01, 2009
- 11/2/5 book 37717 page 51 48 Mason Street 66,853
- 11/2/5 book 37717 page 59 47 Mason Street 43,147
- Total 110,000
Two months later Mason Winfield transferred 48 Mason Street to one of the minority owner stake-holders (Worcester Common Ground, a non profit entity) for $10,
- 1/1/06 book 38185 page 55 48 Mason Street $10
Since that time Worcester Common Ground has received a grant in the amount of 170,000 from the EPA BCRLF to remediate 48 Mason Street. Since Common Ground is a non-profit they (Common Ground) will not have to pay the 170,000 back. It is grant.
Some four years later not a thing has been build on 48 Mason Street. Since this property was dispensed via an RFP (Request for Proposal), there must be a corresponding LDA (Land Disposition Agreement), which spells out the timeline of development that the buyer agreed to honor.
Lets hope the terms of the LDA are enforced.
First, the private insurance sold through the Connector Authority has had very little success. Why? There simply is no savings for a person to go this route. Although alot of people complain about the cost of health insurance (including myself), the private carriers competing in the marketplace simply do not have the waste and extravagances that many allege. This begs the question why would anyone want to pay more to go through any of these government exchanges, if there is no savings? They will not and have not in Massachusetts unless of course it is the only place for them to get insurance which typically will lead to adverse selection, bad claims experience for the underlying exchange and even worse rates.
Second, the public option. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts offers a highly subsidized plan for people earning up to 300% of the Federal Poverty limit called Commonwealth Care, without any questions pertaining to a person's assets. An applicant can literally be worth millions of dollars, but if there income falls below the guidelines below, they can get Commonwealth Care.
- 1 $32,496
- 2 $43,716
- 3 $54,936
- 4 $66,156
- 5 $77,376
- 6 $88,596
- 7 $99,816
- 8 $111,036
A family of 4 earning under $66,156, even one of substantial wealth, qualifies for Commonwealth Care. These plans have good benefits and great rates, much less then the private marketplace. This has been wildly successful and far exceeded estimates with nearly 200,000 subscribers. The cost to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, however, has been hundreds of millions per year now rumored to be close to 1 BILLION dollars in the read, also far beyond initial estimates.
The Federally run public option will even have a larger pool of applicants since it increase the guidelines to 400% of the Federal Poverty limit! If 200,000 members costs the Commonwealth of Massachusetts 1 BILLION, what will 6 million members cost the Federal Government. Now keep in mind that the 6 million will most likely be 20 million, since the rates are cheaper then the marketplace and a person earning up to 400% of the Federal Income limit, without any regards to net worth, can qualify.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results. The public option will merely see a huge migration from the private marketplace to a tax-payer subsidized option costing the Federal Government hundreds of billions of dollars.
October 31, 2009
October 29, 2009
How many times did Councilor Rosen ask the same question??
Well here you go, Great piece with the Worcester Business Journal. The key line being
The city should not expect to make any money on the sale of Worcester Airport to Massport. In fact, the city may find itself putting any proceeds from the sale of the airport right back into the airport's operating budget, according to Ed Freni, Massport's director of aviation.
Freni spoke this morning during a panel discussion entitled Getting from Here to There: The Central Mass Transportation Network put on by the Worcester Regional Research Bureau. The city currently owns the airport and pays about 20 percent of its operating deficit with Massport paying the rest.
Freni said if Massport were to buy the facility, any profits gained by the city in the sale "would be placed back into the airport. Any funds paid to Worcester in the sale would be applied to the operations of the airport." He said the city and Massport could arrange a profit sharing partnership subsequent to the sale.
What push back do we have?? None!! We never tried to find another buyer to compete against MassPort so now we are really at their mercy.
October 28, 2009
In Boston do you have any idea how strong the Chamber of Commerce is? Or for that matter any of the Chambers that surround the City of Worcester, It is, however, tax classification time so we should be getting the annual letter to the Telegram, appearances on the local radio shows and a cameo at the City Council until the same time next year.
Our current Chamber focuses on entertainment:
- business after hours
- recruitment of sport teams
- tv shows
Where were they on:
- the FOG ordinance, grease trap issue
- bedroom hook-up fees for builders
- parking over lay districts
- facade program outside the NRSA districts
I don't know if any tax monies go towards the Chamber, although I bet we do, but we should consider to stop funding them.
- have some pride....evah hear someone from Philly say they can't be Pittsburgh?
- support yer baseball team....even during lean times!elect officials who actually come up with idea's like the "real" Philadelphia Plan......leave the vendor and personal property leash law ideas to town officials from Weston, MA
- support yer hockey team.....even during lean times!
- start giving incentives to the productive.......it's okay to be good to those who create and contribute!
- begin to work together instead of fighting like the little fiefdoms of past.....Philly & Pittsburgh didn't re-create themselves by squabbling about pools for 22 months:>)
Are we the only municipality in the country to have a dual tax rate? No!!
Here is a better question. Has there EVER been a municipality that had a sual tax rate that switched back to a single rate?
Here goes. First you doadmit that the commercial base is leaving the city or worcester and costing residents on their annual taxes, right? Assuming you agree with that, my question is how do we reverse this trend? In other words, what is your plan?
Second, for some of your points. The final version of the Philly Plan are not done--obviously. The Citizens for business have targeted what are referred to as the Commercial Area Revitalization Districts in the City of Worcester:
- Canal District
- Lower Lincoln Street Corridor
- Main South
- Pleasant/Chandler Streets Corridor
- Shrewsbury/Arctic/Grafton Streets Corridor
- Southbridge Street/South Worcester Industrial Park (SWIP)
Our initial plans were to merely target new commercial projects or expansions on existing commercial projects, not residential projects. Now for some of your questions (I changed some of your words around):
1) So if I own an existing commercial property that is not in one of these districts, I basically end up subsidizing these new projects more then ordinary because I now pick up some of the taxes that the new construction are not paying?
Jahn. look no further then Demers Goodyear and Manoog Plumbing. These were two properties in a CARD district, let me ask you how much do they now pay in property taxes? Answer--nothing!!! Both were bought by churches. Maybe if we had a Philadelphia type plan, a commercial entity would have bought these properties and kept the properties on the tax rolls.
Do not understand how attracting commercial development in targeting areas that have none can possibly increase the taxes of other commercial, or for that matter residential property owners.
2) Do we know if there is a nexus between reduced taxes and new construction?
We don't. Once we pass this type of plan, we will track results to see if in fact there is.
Jahn, the Phliadelphia Plan that the Citizens for Business is merely attempting to attract commercial development in targeting areas to help increase our tax base that will help all the current tax-payers, both commercial and residential. Again , I leave you with, if you do not like this plan, what is your plan?
October 27, 2009
Request City Manager review the Philadelphia Plan and soon provide a recommendation to the City Council on what legal and legislative steps must be taken to implement it in the City of Worcester. The highly successful Philadelphia Plan allows residents and business owners the opportunity to apply for an abatement that freezes for a decade real estate taxes on new industrial and commercial construction, as well as on renovations to deteriorated properties. (Rosen, Clancy)
October 26, 2009
The Chandler Street Business Association will be sponsoring it's final debate on October 26, 2009 - 7:00 P.M. at the Chandler Community School between District 4 City Councilor Barbara Haller and her challenger Grace Ross...the debate will be moderated by Gary Rosen & Brendan Melican.This Debate is open to the public and all who have a stake in District 4 are encouraged to attend.
October 24, 2009
Every problem Worcester has can be traced to its oversupply of rental housing. Problems like blight, crime, noise pollution, high taxes, no pools, no sidewalk repair and no tax base are the result of poor housing policy. For example, if Worcester increased its homeownership rate to 60 percent, the crime rate would plummet.
Voters must understand that housing policy controls everything about a community, and too much rental housing is a killer. In fact, it was rental housing that brought down the city of Springfield. The City Council needs to take action.
- First, initiate a moratorium on the production of rental housing, the only exceptions being senior housing and mixed-use developments.
- Second, push for the condominiumization of Worcester’s three-deckers. Worcester has about 4,000 three-deckers, and we need to condominiumize 2,000 of them, adding 6,000 new homeowners, strengthening and upgrading the inner-city neighborhoods.
- Third, all three-deckers west of Park Avenue must be condominiumized to protect the integrity of the West Side as an upper-income area. City government should offer big financial incentives to condo converters to get the job done.
Remember, Worcester has many good rental people, but a lot of bad ones too, and the noise pollution alone from these bad guys can destroy a neighborhood. That’s why our goal should be 60 percent homeowners. RICHARD L. CHERNISKY
October 22, 2009
October 20, 2009
I believe Virginia Buckingham, ex Executive Director and CEO, still works for IMG. We are using them as our consultant in negotiations for the sale of ORH?
How about hiring a company like airport Jack Randal Poteet and Associates that specialize in airport valuations?
The airport is transferred whether there is an agreement in place on June 30th of 2010. On our side handling the negotiations City Mgr, the Assistant City Mgr, Tom Z and David Moore with help from IMG. Come again??
The same guys who charged us 100,000 of thousands of dollars for a report and successfully recruited one airline are advising us at to how to structure the deal with MassPort??? In fact these guys even advised us in their recommendation not to put the airport out to bid and sell to MassPort..
Let me ask you this, lets assume IMG beats the hell out of MassPort during their negotiations, do you think MassPort would want to hire them? Wasn't an old head of MassPort work at IMG???
I am glad that the City of Worcester is out of the airport business. MassPort will be a huge improvement but I don't like the way this is being done and question whether or not the tax-payers will get the highest return for this asset.
The New York-based carrier said in a statement that five daily nonstop flights from Boston to Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport will begin on March 1, 2010.
The airline, on Sept. 9, launched new service to Baltimore with four daily flights to complement its existing six daily flights between Boston and Washington Dulles International Airport.
October 19, 2009
My point is if you (the city of Worcester) says you will pay what is provided under the Quinn bill in a contract, you need to pay it. Plain and simple?? I am not saying it is right or wrong, but I am saying is that a signed contract trumps.
It so happens that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, who paid a portion of the Quin bill, changes their mind and stops, the City of Worcester is on the hook unless the signed contract has provisions for this condition. Since they do not (as far as I understand), they need to honor the contract.
Again, I am not picking sides. Two parties who sign a contract, each side needs to honor it. If during the terms of the contract, either party is not happy with a provision then they deal with it at the next contract. You can not contest during the term of the signed contract.
Can someone tell me who represented the City of Worcester during the last contract, who failed to address this possibility, while other cities and towns did?
That is how I feel about the WPD. In the last contract negotiations, the City of Worcester made no stipulation as to what would happen if the Commonwealth of Massachusetts stopped funding their portion of the Quin bill. The City of Worcester needs to honor their contract.
On the other hand, there were other cities and towns in their contract negotiations clearly stipulated that they would not pick up the Commonwealth side of the Quinn bill if the Commonwealth stopped funding it. In those cities and towns, there is no fight since that possibility was covered in their contract.
Obviously this needs to be brought up in the next contract, but as far as not honoring the current contract? How can we not? Better yet, I hope that whoever we used in the last contract negotiations, who made this mistake, is not being used in there negotiations.
October 18, 2009
October 17, 2009
October 15, 2009
Tomorrow we are meeting with Ron Charette of the South Worcester to:
- Review the monies spent from inception thru today in the South Worcester NRSA
- Work on future budgets
Will update here results.
The state will put $50.3 million in federal stimulus money into 10 stalled housing development projects, including four in Central Massachusetts.
Gov. Deval Patrick's office said the money is intended to make up for the lack of equity in the low income housing tax credit market. The U.S. Treasury is providing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds and allowing states to convert tax credits into grants.
In Central Massachusetts, the Southgate Place project, which is part of the planned revitalization of the South Worcester Industrial Park, will receive $3.8 million.
Although the neighbors do not want the project, Worcester has way too much low to mod income housing, thee is no market for low income housing tax credits-- Southgate Place is getting 3.8 million dollars..
- 1 Hollis St (Bk 27314 pg 329)
- 196 Beacon St (BBk 30709 pg 148)
- 194 Beacon St (Bk 30709 pg 142)
- 190 Beacon St (Bk 30709 pg 137)
- 25 Hollis St (BK 30709 pg 131)
- 11 Gardner St (Bk 30709 pg 125)
- 19 Kilby St (Bk 30709 pg 118)
Total Sale price $6,410. Now that was not the average sale price but the grand total sale price for 7 buildable parcels.
October 14, 2009
October 13, 2009
- Summer work crew
- Nola Fest
- Candidate night
- now the debates
Also a big thank you to Brendan and Gary. I was there for about 45 minutes. Very well attended, mostly parishioners of the Buddhist Temple as well as some area business-owners. Check out Paul's blog for more details.
Got to be honest, I was actually impressed by all the School Committee Members and the 3 new people running.
October 12, 2009
The other night after more trash was thrown in the planters that we put on the street, why buy city bags and Paul told them about it. Check this out. Makes you want to move there huh? The City Manager's office is well aware of these problems and lets hope they do something to assist good people like Paul and we somehow make our urban core a place people want to live, work and bring up a family.
Not a place to move from?
I know comparing Boston to Worcester is unfair, but the private monies that are bing invested in the core of Boston is unreal. Meanwhile in Worcester there are only public subsidized projects in the urban core. Right now I can count two projects in the CARD districts:
- Piedmont Street
- Kilby Street
Projects on deck:
- City Builders--South Worcester
- Old Trade School-- Winn
- Mason Street-Common Ground and partner
- 93 Grand Street-Main South CDC
We need to waive permitting fees and freeze assessed values for privately funded market housing.
October 11, 2009
Everyone knows about Faneuil Hall, but over the past couple of days I have found out how much the Back Bay/North End has changed. You can not believe the number of young families, walking their dogs spending their day hanging out at Christopher Columbus Park. Actually I am sitting here on the free wifi watching Vangella on the playground, waiting for the concert and parade (Joe's Grille in background).
You can build a pocket park, build a skating rink on the common, build a brand new pool on Crompton Park, pass street vendor ordinance but nothing will change in Worcester for the better until we get quality people (with income) that want to live in Worcester. The answer is not in low to mod income housing.
Councilor Rosen the playground and sidewalks in the park seem to be the rubber that I have heard you mention many times.
October 10, 2009
October 08, 2009
Additional units of affordable housing are needed in the area and the City of Worcester. The neighborhood will benefit from the development of this parcel because the property is often used for illegal activities, and therefore has become a source of insecurity for abutting neighbors and area in general. There is adequate on-street parking for which there is little demand from abutting parcels.
1) Additional affordable units are need in the area and the City of Worcester?
2) The neighborhood will have less illegal activities with this development?
3) This one amazes me-- there is adequate on-street parking for which there is little demand from abutting parcels?
Before anyone says I have anything against Common Ground or any of the other CDC's, I do not!!! They have a valuable role to play in our community but we have invested way too much into these CDC's developing low to mod income housing. It needs to stop!!
We really need to look back and think about the variance we gave for this project. There is very little parking for these 46 units. Maybe we never should have given them the variance in the first place. By the way who did pay for the brand new sidewalk??? And how are the sewer betterments going to be paid?
I feel bad for Common Ground and the tenants having to deal with this, but maybe people will start finally asking questions about large variances to these high density low to mod income housing projects. If a person tried to develop this same project into high end condos, I doubt they would have gotten this variance, but would have most definately paid for any sidewalk and sewer repairs.
How many times has the City of Worcester dug up Main and Chandler Street the past 6 months in front of the Hadley?
October 07, 2009
- On Southbridge Street years ago there were two huge piles of Sand/Gravel. Some kids were playing there and they were buried alive.
- The Route 290 Bridge over McKeown Rd near the Holy Cross Football field collapsed during construction.
- A bunch of kids built a fort with one exit. Somehow a fire started at the door and they got trapped, could not get out and were all killed.
I am 99 percent number 2 is true but 1 and 3???