March 31, 2009
Bottom line was that the valuation referred to various deductions from the price; for example, grants that have been received from the Federal Gov't, grants that have been received from the State Gov't and then monies that have been paid by MassPort during the various operating agreements. Versus debating these deductions, the one thing that nobody can tell anyone is what is the value of ORH before all of these deductions?
How are we doing to come up with that number? THAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT NUMBER!!!!! In the end although getting out of the airport business was the best course of action, we are going to regret not talking to any other potential buyers and just MassPort.
Let me also give a kudos to Councilor Eddy, who started askiing some very good questions.
Got this e-mail today. Does anyone know about this or can comment??
A life-long resident of the Worcester area, I am delighted that Worcester Airport is in service again. Knowing the fog potential there, I understood the need to divert to Boston for our safety on Mar. 29. The new Direct Air plane was wonderful and the staff was excellent. My disappointment was the way the re-routing was handled, basically leaving the passengers "on their own" at the end in Boston. It is unacceptable that the pilot asked for 2 volunteers to call for bus transportation and organize those who needed to return to Worcester. We circled Worcester for an hour. It was clear that we could not land there. Why wasn't a bus arranged for and waiting in Boston when we landed?
March 30, 2009
I swear on Sundays I read Nick K and Diane Williamson then every other month Sutner hits one out of the park, but other then that? I need to plug Rod Lee's Biz Buzz too except he is not in the Sunday paper. Even my friend Mr Nemeth has completely let me down by refusing to write about the airport anymore.
Over the years, I have become friendly with the guys, who stop by the store once per week to pick up the papers that have not sold and we reconcile the account. There was Mr Hester and, I forget the name of the most recent guy, but both were great guys?? Each of them had to have called on me for at least 4 years. The latest guy, however, had told me that he was accepting a "package" after 20 years and I knew that he would be leaving.
Today the new person came in and I went looking for the newspapers that have not sold, but I could not find them. I was then told that we just throw them away now under the new system and just keep track internally via the honor system?? O'kay. After calculating what we owe via the honor system, I write the check payable to the "Telegram". I have to rewrite the check, however, payable to the "Leominster News"?? Who the hell is "Leominster News" and how do they relate to the Telegram?
I could not help but see the ironies in that the newspaper the constantly editorializes about the need to recycle is now telling the stores that sell their newspaper to simply throw the unsold copies away.
- When a City Council meet goes pass 9:00PM and there is "yelling, shouting, hooting, whistling, singing or making of other loud noises", would they be in violation of the noise ordinance?
- I have had a tenant for close to 15 years when her and her boyfriend got out of college. They have since been married, have two children and both have jobs. This ordinance would have required me, since they were under 24, to have their lease signed by a "financially responsile person'? Trust me they had no financially responsible person to sign for them, so I would not be able to rent to them today?
March 29, 2009
The crux of the issue is "CSX wants each side to pay for damages to its own property and passengers; state officials say that policy that would unfairly hold taxpayers accountable for any misconduct or negligence by CSX." The newspaper article states that Government Accountability Office (GAO) has determined, as the article reports, that there is no national standard for railroad agreements that backs CSX.
Who cares what the GAO thinks? CSX owns the line and that is what they want or they will not sell the lines. A headline that says the talks are back on track when then number 1 roadblock is still unresolved makes no sense? It should read "Commuter rail talks at stalemate over liability".
- National Express--actually long termed leased Stewart in Neburgh, NY
- Avports- manage many airport currently via a lease
- Other Airport Authorities--New Port Authority recently purchased Stewart from National Express
- Private companies--Virgin, cargo companies, etc
We should in the very least have an appraisal like this in hand when negotiating with MassPort.
March 28, 2009
- Shopping Cart Ordinance
- Foreclosure Moratorium
- Knife Ordinance
- Street Vendors
- Zoning for the location of strip bars
- Additional fine for possession of marijuana at certain locations
- Noise ordinance
- Cab versus livery thing--forgot what happened?
- snow shoveling ordinance --added by Jahn
- plastic bag issue--added by Jahn
March 27, 2009
In fact I see two businesses that are already out of business-- New England Carved Sign and Wigwam. Jahn, what do you think?
One comment I particurlarly like from Doug Cutler:
I own commercial real estate in Worcester as well as some of the surrounding towns. I can tell you from firsthand experience that businesses will choose the lower tax location outside of Worcester, unless they have some overriding attachment to Worcester. For example, a very small business owner who rents or owns 1000 square feet of space in the city of Worcester might pay $2.50 to $3.00 per square foot in taxes.
This is in addition to his rent or mortgage, and other expenses. That translates to $2500 to $3000 every year. That may be 2, 3 or 4 times what they would pay for the same space in some of the towns around Worcester. That is a significant sum and pushes many business owners, and the jobs they provide, outside the city. The costs for larger companies with greater numbers of employees is significantly higher.
As we push more businesses out of the city, the value of our property goes down. The net long-term effect is probably to reduce the overall taxes collected. In other words, taxing businesses at a significantly higher rate than the surrounding towns, ultimately costs the city more than it produces in taxes for the city.
March 26, 2009
In fact many newspapers are starting to require that you must register to make comments. Honestly enough is enough. Here is an example, click here.
I was thinking today about all of this money being spent on Low Income Housing. I swear not once have I ever seen a Worcester Contractor as the General Contractor on any of these projects. In fact I hardly ever see any Worcester based subs on these jobs.
March 25, 2009
Not having any, however, I noticed a big difference already. We need to bring back some of these officers.
The first was to ask a local college to investigate and analyse, something along those lines, the costs and benefits of a single tax rate??
Her second, was to look into a four tiered tax rate:
- owner occupied residential
- non-owner occupied residential
- small commercial businesses
- large commercial businesses
Kind of confused by either of these requests? Then the City Council passed an order for the task force looking into this to look into a couple issues, which prompted Councilor Clancy and Rushton to ask the legality of the 2nd request and the status of the task force?
Got to tell you the whole thing was kind of confusing. In the end I still really could not tell you when the task force would be organized.
March 24, 2009
City on The Move
1) Parker Companies
4) Tatnuck Boookseller
5) Morgan Construction (sold real estate)
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
34) Struck Cafe
35) KB Toys
36) Friendlys on Lincoln Street
37) Blackstone Harvest
38) Bancroft Liquors
39) 80's Club
40) Stowe & Degon
41) Woodfire barbeque
42) Zoots on Grafton
43) Hollywood Video on Grafton
44) African Museum on Canterbury Street
45) Robert's Fish & Chips (Lincoln)
47) Bank of America (Front Street)
48) Prime Mortgage
51) Bradford Stephens
52) Amity Flight School
March 23, 2009
Putting that aside the comments need to be read. My favorite is from Gary Vecchio, a guy I only hear on the radio an read in the Telegram but have never met. He seems like a very nice guy and seems to have his heart in the right place, but I can not disagree more with his comment.
The City Manager reported that 75 new businesses opened in Worcester last year. Also, a few weeks ago the Manager's office reported that a business in West Boylston was moving to Plantation Street in Worcester and bringing 28 jobs here. This same business has plans to expand once they move to Worcester.Let's deal with facts, not fiction.
Before I disagree with his comment, let me commend Gary for stating clearly what he thinks and not being anonymous.. Again I do not agree with him, but at least I have someone to address my questions to.
- I would love to see the list of he 75 new businesses.
- Do we have to redo my list of businesses that have gone out of business in Worcester the past couple of years?
- One only has to look to look at the empirical evidence from the Assessor's Office that clearly depicts the dwindling commercial tax base to realize that businesses are leaving the City of Worcester.
Those are the facts and although I wish I was wrong and that surely is not fiction. If you have not looked at it yet, you should check out the Worcester Citizens for Business Website. In particular check out this link..
Just send a out a ticket saying that the records on file from a vet indicate that you have an unlicensed dog. The ticket, however, will be waived if you license the dog within the next 30 days or you can prove that it is licensed under someone else's name or maybe another town. Maybe there is a reason why they need to legally send out an animal control officer in order to send a ticket?
That said, rumor has it (unconfirmed at this point) that the animal control officers may have gotten pink slips, a casualty of the budget cuts. Can anyone confirm? I hope this is not true.
March 22, 2009
Would it not be nice to see our elected officials have their own blog where they could state and explain their positions and accept "moderated" "non-anonymous" comments from people like you and me?
Kudos to Tracy O'Connell Novick.
2.1 million goes to elderly nutrition programs at senior centers and home delivered nutrition programs. This was the main reason for the meeting at the Marble Street apartments yesterday and to me, they both seem like good programs.
Where does the other 297.9 million go. Formerly known as Food Stamps, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will get the rest, which will result in an on average increase of 18% in food stamps, sorry SNAP benefits, to the nearly 600,000 low income individuals and families in Massachusetts who receive benefits.
This is good for the economy since, according to the story, $5 spent in SNAP benefits generates $9.20 in econmic activity. If $5 spent in SNAP benefits is good for the econonmy then wouldn't less taxes and expenses on me be good for the economy too??
Very interesting story about the Town of Easton and their battle with a low income housing developer. To be honest it does not seem like a bad project to me. The developer is proposing 28 cottages at two different locations with 7 being sold at a reduced price to low mod income buyers.
What amazes me is how the Town of Easton has battled this. That has been my point recently. Why spend time and money battling in a town like Easton, when you can come to Worcester, where you can not even build under the protection of 40B.
Under 40B, the town has far less leverage. The board of appeals could deny Mirrione's application, but he could then appeal to the state and would likely win. That's because under the law, at least 10 percent of a town's housing units must be permanently set aside for low- to moderate-income residents before it can safely deny a 40B project; Easton's stock of affordable housing barely tops 3 percent.
On the other hand, Worcester is somewhere in the 15-18 ranges, way about the 10 percent. In other words, a developer in Worcester can not go through 40B. It really makes no difference since do not oppose any projects and give them whatever they want.
As more developers run into problems in towns liks Easton or in Springfield, they will flock to Worcester.
March 21, 2009
What better place to make the announcement then the No Income District of Worcester.
Here is how it goes:
- both people received $75 tickets in the mail for not having a dog license
- both tickets cited days and times when they both knew their dog was inside since they were at work, how could anyone know if the dog did not have a license?
Both people bring their dogs to the vet who needs to report to the City of Worcester when shots are given. One can only assume the city cross references this listing with the listing of renewed licences to make sure a license is in force. O'kay I am fine with that.
To just send out citations without seeing the dog, but stating you did???
March 19, 2009
Low to mod income housing is not a bad thing. Actually I think there is definate place for these developments. My problem is the concentration of this housing in the urban core of Worcester. In fact this is the only residential housing that we see.
Right now in the City of Worcester there is no balance. Maybe we should start providing incentive for high end residential units???
- Worcester Court House
- Worcester Aud
- Lincoln Square Boys Club/Old Trade School
- The City Owned Building Across the street from Elm Park
I need to relax and take a walk around the Winslow Pocket Park.
Gabe asked and here it is, click here.The Boston-based developer, I am pretty sure is Winn. The same company being opposed by Springfield Forward and the one that is accused of giving monies to ex State Senator Wilkerson. Here are the key parts this story:
- 32 of the 64 units will be low income rental housing. This does not mean, however, that you can not have more then 32 units
- represented by one of the three powerful law firms in Worcester-Mirick, Fletcher or Bowditch. In this cse Mirick.
- another variance on parking. If Donald Trump wanted to build 64 luxury apartments, I guarantee you that he would not get a variance for parking nd be required to build a garage for the 128 parking spots-2 per unit.
- another historic building lost to low income housing development
Allen Fletcher, president of the Canal District Alliance, spoke in favor of the project as I predicted in a comment earlier this week. Considering the amount of money he is looking for to uncover the Blackstone, he is not going to, excuse the pun, rock the boat. There is no stopping no income housing development in Worcester.
Now tell me this, what makes more sense in the Chevalier Building 1) upscale apartments/condos or 2) low income housing?
March 18, 2009
- Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA), a non-profit affordable housing organization will connect banks that own foreclosed properties with local non-profit organizations, which will purchase the properties and upgrade the homes for low-and moderate-income families.
There you go "low to and moderate income" families. Lets say there is a young professional company who are making $100,000 per year, who like the vibe on Chandler Street and want to live next to Paul and they want to buy one of these properties from the local non-profit. They will not be able buy the property since they are not "low to moderate income".
Trying to get away from the topic, but it keeps coming back. Click here for another story.
March 17, 2009
- "affordable housing"
- "low to mod income housing"
Maybe, just maybe people will not just blindly accept these projects, but I doubt it.
As Gabe commented in an earlier blog this week, "I think once it is low income housing it may be low income housing forever, I don't think there is any going back." Gabe, I fear you could not be more right.
Massachusetts is launching an affordable housing program, giving a grant to a nonprofit that will allow community groups to renovate foreclosed properties.
Gov. Deval Patrick says the Department of Housing and Community Development is giving a $300,000 grant to the nonprofit Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association for the program. Patrick and U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., toured some of the properties in New Bedford, where the announcement came on Monday.
Officials say the association will act as a clearinghouse, connecting local community organizations to banks that own foreclosed homes. The organizations can then purchase the homes, upgrade them and make them available to low- and middle-income families
The key word here being "low and middle income families", which as we all know is low income housing.
March 15, 2009
We are already way above the state requirement for "affordable" housing, why do we keep building them? ANSWER---It is a big business and alot of people are making alot of money. I calculate the average price of an affordable unit in the City of Worcester to be approximately 300,000. Taking into account 361 units, the number is 108,300,000 invested in "affordable" housing. On the low side the cost is at least $250,000 per unit that still comes to $90,250,000 invested in "affordable" housing? Big business!!!
In the end this all goes back to the Housing Study by RKG in 2002 that was disregarded. Their main recommendation was that the city should abandon its strategy of building affordable housing in favor of more upscale housing. How do you think the people building these projects felt about this recommendation? Needless to say they won, the RKG report was filed and city keeps pushing for more affordable housing. Our loss.
Take a moment and read their 2 page recommendation. RKG could not have gotten this more right in 2002. Here is a small part:
The City's policy to use the many CDC's to develop more low income housing should be reconsiderd. While their renovation work has help stabilize some of the neighborhoods, especially at a time when the redevelopment was needed, their subsidized development has alientated some local builders/ developers. Another alternative to renovating these three deckers would be to thin out selectively some of these buildings and make the sites ready for single for new single family homes in a townhouse style, and market the sites to private developers for construction. The CDC's in the future should be considered more of a developer of last choice....
Not a chance this will happen and we can expect 361 more units the next 5 years. I say we have a wayfarer sign for this district that shows a person in pajamas.
March 14, 2009
Kind of busy the last couple of days. Let me try to wrap this up:
189 Beacon Street-- 16 rentals
141-143-147 Austin Street. Missed these 9 owner occupied untis.
If I were to assume 93 Grand Street were to be turned into 20 apartments and then the 80 units from Kilby Garnder and Hammond then I come up with a total of 3611 units on my attached map the past 5 years either built or on the drawing board for "affordable" rental or owner occupancy.
March 11, 2009
City took $100,000 from unallocated NRSA funds and instead of giving them to NRSA's that are operating efficiently or to the City of Worcester Facade Program, which is running great, but out of money. It was transferred to the Main South CDC to do studies on 95 Grand Street.
March 10, 2009
March 09, 2009
Keep in mind I am only tracking projects in recent memory (last 5 years). Looking at the attached map, we are talking 255 units. Updated map.
Currently I know that there is not much state funding for owner-occupied projects and what happened at the City Builders site will most likely happen here. The developer will shift and seek money for rentals, not owner occupancy, with a certain percent (large) for low to mod income.
March 08, 2009
I have tried hard to make the neighborhood where we own a family business a better place. After serving on the Board of Directors of the South Worcester Neighborhood Center for 8 years, I had to resign. After protesting the construction 0f 25 more low income rental units at the former site of City Builders, not to mention the failed Cambridge Hacker project, I was branded as being "negative", not part of the team etc. I am going to use this blog to educate people to what this is. BIG BUSINESS!!!
Over $44,000,000 dollars on 4 projects. People are making lots of money on this and the tax-payers of Worcester in the end will be footing the bill. Try and build a low income housing project in one of the towns and the protestors come out. In Worcester we roll out the read carpet, hold ribbon cutting ceremonies, waive water/sewer connections, give out our HOME fund grant money, sell city owned land for pennies on the dollar, do infrastructure improvements for free (sidewalk) repairs and then honor the developers.
Worcester, Right time, Right place for low income housing developers.
March 07, 2009
Where were the other 5? You guessed it --Worcester. We are number 1!!!! I have updated the map to include these 5 projects, purple marker means project has not been completed yet.
- 300 pleasant st (eddie's market )-- 6 affordable units
- 133 Chandler St--5 affordable units
- 98-102 Austin Street- 9 affordable units
- Oread -Beacon -- 34 affordable units
- 1-7 Piedmont Street- 12 affordable units
I am not sure the total cost of these projects since the Mass Housing Partnership only list monies that they are contributing not the total cost of the project, which would include HOME funds from the City and/or Commonwealth, tax credits and other potential agencies.
To give people a better idea of how close these 4 projects are, I have created a map that can be accessed here. Add these 4 projects together:
- Total cost 44,900,000
- 143 low income apartments
- 313,986 average cost of each apartment
The reason you and I should care about this is that the bulk of the 44,900,000 is our tax money packaged under various names (HOME funds, tax credits, Mass Housing, etc). Bottom line is that these are our tax monies that are being used to build low income housing.
Drive this stretch some day, it will take you maybe 3 minutes and tell me if we got our 44,900,000 million dollars worth?
March 06, 2009
March 05, 2009
March 03, 2009
It looks like Congressman McGovern has been able to restore a $475,000 earmark for the City of Worcester to make this year's payment. Once again we are simply rewarding bad behavior. Instead of focusing on why we did this or why we can not keep doing this, it will be forgotten about until the next time we are unable to get an earmark. This is simply put another bail out.
If this is an example how monies from the economic stimulus are to be used, we are in big trouble.
It really concern me that the price is determined after the sale is agreed upon? Shouldn't we get the offer up front and maybe there are better offers? Is there not a fiduciary responsibility to the citizens of Worcester to get the best price for this city owned asset?
Also what about the line "compensation price, meanwhile, would be reduced by the actual amount of any past state expenditures, subsidies and payments for operating costs". I read this to mean that any monies MassPort has paid the past ten years towards the operating deficit will be deducted from the purchase price.
In other words if it is determined that MassPort has contributed 15 million dollars the past ten years. This comes right off the purchase price. Now add "other past federal and state grant assistance for airfield improvements." What the hell is that number? It has to be large. Lets says that is another 15 million. We could theoretically agree on a sale price of 40 million, but in this example only get 10 million spread out annual installments.
Still not too late to invite AvPorts, National Express to ORH. If we sold the airport to one of these companies none of the monies being deducted from the purchase price above would be taken off the sale price.
I am all for the selling of ORH and I would be happy to have MassPort be the next owner, but lets make sure we get a fair price? Lastly there will be a local advisory committee. I truly would like to be on that.
March 02, 2009
I decided to call him and ask him this question. Scott informed that he believes that Kate Toomey has commented on his blog a couple of times, but that was about it. Over the past 5 years, I have made 1,802 posts, have had over 240,000 page views and have never had one comment from any City Councilor. One of the reasons cited on the radio tonight was that these people might be afraid to put anything in writing?
Are not these the same people who want people to get "involved", but they are afraid to put anyting in writing? I have one question if Paul Colyer, Scott Zobach, Jeff Barnard, Gabe, myself and many others are not afraid to put their thoughts in writing,why would someone who has been elected to represent the people of Worcester, and are paid, be afraid to state their opinions?
- income restrictions apply: in other words you need to be low income
- some units are also available at market rent: in other words we will have a couple of apartments non low income
657 Main Street
Cost of project=$20,000,000
March 01, 2009
- 3,000,000 from the Hanover Insurance
- 200,000 of permitting fees waived by the City of Worcester
- property values locked in at the assessed value pre construction for 8 years
- 14,300,000 from the Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation
- 15,850,000 in New Market tax credits
- 1,000,000 from Mass Development
Click here for the story titled "Worcester Performing Arts Center Gets $30,000,000 Million for Theater Rehab" for more details. What is 200,000????