May 31, 2011

Stark Road

Private Street, where my mom still lives.  Road has some good size potholes but very passable.    Recently there was a movement to pave the road and make it public.   Many of the neighbors, and my mother did not want to spend the money on it.

The tax-payers voted 14-10 not to make the road public. Committee, not sure which one (consisting of Clancey, Toomey and Petty) recommended to make the road public anyhow???  .     I have been told, however,  the City is obligated to listen to their vote......     Is it just me or does anyone think this is wrong?  Why have the vote?   Consider this, the cost is $150 per linear foot on the street so if you have 60 feet--it will cost $9,000 dollars.


Toldeo Dirty Dozen

Remember reading about this in a Worcester Municipal Research Bureau Report many years ago and was the basis of our (CBA) idea.    Did some google searches and it looks like the Toldeo Dirty Dozen is alive and well.

Highland  Heights Neighborhood Association Blog

Think Atlanta also adopted a program like this also.  

May 29, 2011

Webster tagging nuisance properties

The Chandler business group has recommended this many times, but to only be told that it was not legal to do.   Evidently it is legal in Webster and they have started tagging nuisance properties with the owner's address, click here.

How effective is it?   The next day the owner removed the sign and now she is being taken to court, click here, for larceny of property.      Kudos to Webster.

May 27, 2011


1)   Our Chief Development Officer thinks we need a smaller scale grocery store downtown.  In the words of jahn, surely you jest?      Drive by Santy's market, a smaller scale grocery store on Chandler Street.  It just closed.    Sorry, not a chance of this happening.  Can you say Shaw's on Grafton Street.

By the way latest grocery store rumor has Market Basket going into the Biy Y that is closing on Route 20 then blowing into the CVS next door when their lease expires.

2)    Kudos to Gary Rosen on his story about the roadblocks every Saturday in Worcester,.


May 26, 2011

Memorial Day Week-end

May 25, 2011

Tauton Fairfax Gardens

Friend of mine from Tauton told me the other day about a project there built in the 1950's called Fairfax Gardens.    He said it is complete disaster 150 units of low income housing over-run by drugs and crime.  

Now they are tearing the whole thing down replacing them, story here, with a 71,000,000 project.   "The redevelopment project consists of demolishing the 150 barracks-style units that make up the Fairfax Gardens development, constructing 88 townhouse-style units in their place and also creating 72 mixed-income rental units at a separate location in downtown Taunton."

My point here is that while other places are tearing down their projects that consist of entirely low income housing, in Worcester we are building them (May Street and Southgate Place).

May 23, 2011

Cancer Center Rumor Mill

Despite the fact it looks like the TIF is going to be passed, I am still hearing from reliable sources that if Union if forced on Vanguard/St V's, Shrewsbury there they go. 


About a month ago, I was sitting with a person from the City Administration who was bragging to me that the developer of market rate housing on Portland Street was asking $1,000 per month, maybe even $1,100, and that they were getting people to rent.

Meanwhile Southgate Place, on average, is looking for $1,000 for a 2 bedroom and $1,150 for a 3 bedroom affordable housing project.  

Is it just me, but does anyone else see a problem when we are struggling to get the market rate rents as high as the subsidized rents?       Better yet, how do some people complain that we need more no-lo housing projects so "working" families can get "affordable" housing, but the rents for the no-lo housing is higher then the market rates?

May 22, 2011

Today's Editorial on the DIF & TIF

The City of Worcester is going to be investing $64,000,000 into City Square through the Commonwealth of Massachusetts DIF (District Improvement Financing).   The plan here is that City Square is going to be a huge success and all the increased tax revenues from City Square will make the payments on the $64,000,000 thus costing the tax-payers of Worcester nothing.

Personally I think it is good investment, but like any investment there are risks.  That is where I think the City administration made a mistake when they did not accurately explain the risk.  In fact I heard many times how these bonds (64,000,000 dollars worth) will cost the tax-payers nothing.   This is true if, and only if, we get development to get the increased tax revenues, which I think will be $4,000,000 per year in payments.  If we don't get the developments, the payments need to be made and they will come out of the General Fund.    

Where are we now?  We need development now!!!     Lets get Hanover going on the new offices and the new Cancer Center going and give them whatever TIF's they want.  If we don't , we will be choking on $64,000,000 in bonds.    

From there we need to hope that these two projects are an anchor that attracts more developments, which means more taxes.     Future developments , maybe they will not need TIF's, maybe they will?  This is all part of the negotiating process.  

Bottom line of bottom line is that we can not sit around and deal with this like Pharmasphere on Canterbury Street or Mason Street and do nothing for 5 years.   We need developing to get started yesterday, we have $64,000,000 in bonds that we need to be paid back one way or another. 

May 20, 2011

The Wire

I really miss that series

May 19, 2011

DIF & TIF Clarification

I think the TIF is a great idea for both the Hanover and the new Cancer Center.  It is the only way we are going to get any development going down there.   In fact I see any future developments in the short term also requriing TIF's.   Matter of fact we should just make the whole downtown a "Philly Zone":

I don't necessarily think the DIF is a bad idea either.  My point is that I never liked it when people said it will cost the tax-payers nothing-that the additional income from the DIF will pay the bond.    We all hope it will, but we need to understand that the tax-payers of the CIty of Worcester is making a 64,000,000 million dollar investment in City Square and there are risks just like any other investment.

May 18, 2011

Demolition Day

Health insurance costs

Great read

The May 2011 medical index by consulting firm Milliman Inc. says health care costs for a family of four will rise 7.3% in 2011 to $19,393 for those insured through work, with employee out-of-pocket expenses up 9.2% this year versus 6.6% last year. “Trends in health care spending still far exceed most other goods and services,” it said....

Premiums are rising even faster in Massachusetts, even after that state introduced its own health care reform in 2006 requiring residents to buy health insurance in that state, according to Consumer Watchdog. Insurance premiums for a single plan have risen 13.4% nationally from 2006 to 2009 versus a much larger 18.4% in Massachusetts, while premiums for a family plan rose 19.8% in Massachusetts in the same period, versus 14.5% nationally.

What makes no sense here is that ObamaCare is based on RomneyCare?

May 17, 2011

E-mail I received

I found both of your email addresses from website. I am a Worcester resident that is excited about the possiblity of flying out of ORH to Sanford, FL in December and skipping the travel, hassle, and high parking fees of Boston or even Providence.

One of my friends, however, just posted a series of status updates to facebook that is making us second guess whether using Direct Air is a good idea. Apparently, my friends were supposed to return from South Carolina on Sunday, but it has taken until Tuesday for them to get a flight home.

The flight was cancelled due to thunderstorms between SC and Worcester. They were told on Monday  that they could not get out, because there are no regularly scheduled Direct Air flights to Worcester and they could not find a plane to use. They finally found a plane, but it had a mechanical issue, so the flight was cancelled until Tuesday.

At some point, they were told, twice, that the problem is that no fflights could land in Worcester due to wether. Apparently, they called the Worcester airport and were told that was not the case, as some flights had been landing.

So, their biggest issue with Direct Air was misinformation. Is there any reason to believe that Direct Air was not telling the truth. Are there any documented times between Sunday and Tuesday afternoon that it would not have been possible to land at ORH?

Any information or opinions that either of you have to help me decide whether to fly out of Worcester would be great.

Direct Air

Sunday the airport was fogged in badly.  Anyone know if any flights got in or out?

  • Sunday-- Punta Gorda/Sanford, West Palm and Myrtle Beach all cancelled
  • Monday --Florida flights arrived
  • Myrtle Beach coming today

Harmon Killebrew

Was always one of my favorites as a kid.  I read the other day that he had entered hospice and today that he has died. 

May 16, 2011

$64 Million In DIF Bonds

Check out page 33 of this link

We are looking at $4,000,000 million per year in payments.       Take the new St Vincent's project which will pay 3,200,000 in additional taxes but over 15 years or approximately 210,000 in extra taxes.   Personally I do not remember the additional taxes Hanover will pay but lets just say it is also $200,000 per year.

Bottom line these two projects will pay in $400,000 in new taxes through the DIF.   That puts us 1/10th of the way there to pay the annual payments on the bonds.    A $4,000,000 per year DIF bond payment is one very large nut and we need a s---load of new development to generate new taxes to pay this bill...    

May 15, 2011

DIF Financing

If memory serves me right?   The initial public cost will be 34,500,000 for phase 1A.  
  • Commonwealth of Massachusetts pays $25,000,000 
  • Worcester through the DIF pays $9,500,000.  
  • To date 6,100,000 on DIF bonds invested 
  • 15,600,000 in DIF bonds to date
  • 64,000,000 projected in DIF bonds upon completion
We have always been told, and I have questioned all along (do on DIF search on this site) that these District Improvement Financing (DIF) bonds will cost us nothing, because all the extra revenue generated withing City Square will go towards these bonds.   Understand?

Today, Nick K writes a story addressing this problem.  If we issue TIF's to all the new businesses coming to City Square (Hanover and the new St Vincent's Cancer Center to date), how much additional tax revenue are we going to raise to make payments on the DIF bonds? 

The story goes on to say that we may not be able to give out any more TIF's since we will need those taxes to make the payments on the DIF bonds.    Problem is we may have no chance but to offer a TIF to get a developer to come to City Square.   Here is the question, in the end will the DIF produce enough additional tax revenues to make payments of $64,000,000 of bonds?

Think the answer it clearly "no" and the City of Worcester will need to dip in the General Funds just like they need to do for the Gardner-Kilby-Hammond loan (actually that is merely taken off our annual CDBG allocation), Union Station or any of the other development projects.    Not saying that the DIF was a bad idea, but not accurately portraying the risks and saying this will cost the tax-payers nothing was wrong.   

In the end I just do not see enough "extra" revenues being produced within the DIF to make payments on $64,000,000. 

May 13, 2011


Who needs the 10 Commandments on tablets  when I can have the IPAD tablet

May 11, 2011


Absolutely killing me for the 2nd week.   Any suggestions out there?? 

Misconception--CDC's do not have the lowest rents

I often hear the arguement that we need CDC's to provide "work-force" housing or as we call it on the blog "no-lo" housing.  The misconception being the CDC's have the lowest rents that working people can afford could not be further from the truth.

Look no further then Southgate Place.  These will be the highest rents in the area by far!!! 

  • 1 bedroom        766 to 853 rent        30% to 60% AMI
  • 2 bedroom        932 to 1025 rent        30%, 50%  and 60% AMI
  • 3  bedroom       1,109 to 1,233          50  and 60% AMI
 A 3 bedroom at $1,200 per month!!!    These "workforce housing" are much more then the "market-rate" rents!!

May 10, 2011

Blog Comments????

Blogspot has been acting weird the last couple of days.   Some comments I know that I published but never got posted???    If this happened, sorry.   Repost and I will try again.  Just found a bunch of them in the SPAM folder.

Venerini, OLA, St Mary's, Central

Grammar school--all comments appreciated.  Also Dawson School in Holden.


Globe story on Hanover Theatre

Click here

South Worcester Neighborhood Center

There is a letter carrier food drive this week-end.   Thank you mail carriers.   The Executive Director of the South Worcester Neighborhood Ctr was on the radio with a letter carrier today promoting the food drive and how rents are so high people have a hard time buying food. Agreed.

At the same time the South Worcester Neighborhood Center is wrapping up Southgate Place with the following rents?

  • 1 bedroom        766 to 853 rent        30% to 60% AMI
  • 2 bedroom        932 to 1025 rent        30%, 50%  and 60% AMI
  • 3  bedroom       1,109 to 1,233          50  and 60% AMI

May 08, 2011

Evacuation & Bunker Hill Day

Fresolo was the only Worcester State Rep to vote to have this holiday taken away.

30 for 30 The Two Escobars--MUST SEE

May 07, 2011

24 Joppa Road Sunday noon till 2PM-- OPEN HOUSE

Finally finished this.  Open house tomorrow (Sunday--Mother'sDay) noon till 2PM.  Asking 234,999.  Brokers protected (3%).

Health Insurance for settled and retirees update

I was under the wrong impression that the three existing plans (1 Blue Cross and 2 Fallon, Select & Direct) were being replaced by plans from the same carriers.   The main differences are the new plans have deductibles and tiering of hospitals.   After reviewing his options we decided to go with Blue Cross mainly due to the fact the Boston Hospitals are in the network, while you need to go through Fallon's Peace of Mind program to gain access to the Boston Hospitals.

Although the annual difference in billed premiums was $3,760.44, the difference to my friend was only $760.08 since the City of Worcester does flat percentage not flat dollar.  To save only $760.08, it was not worth it to him.  If it had been $3,760.44 then he may have in fact switched to Fallon.

The other day he came back to me and told me that he can still choose the current plans...   We then looked at either a) keeping the current Blue Cross Plan or b) switching to the new Blue Cross Plan with deductibles and tiering.  Although the difference in annual billed premiums is $3,180.36, the difference to him is only $795.12.

Current plan has no deductible.  He figures between his family of 4, one MRI would cost him the $250 deductible and another $450 if done at a hospital with the new plan, while the current plan would cost 0.   That is $700 right there.

Bottom line he is keeping the same plan that will cost the City of Worcester $1438.14 per month (1917.52 billed less employee deduction of 479.39).      The total monthly premium for the new Fallon deductible plan with the Select Network is $1,339.12.    

May 06, 2011

Big Y Route 20

Evidently this was in the newspaper earlier in the week??    They will be closing--the first, and not the last casualty from WalMart and Market Basket.    I hear Market Basket does $2,000,000 per week in sales.  That is absolutely incredible!!! 

May 05, 2011

Mother's Day Flowers

Don't forget to order your flowers from Sprout. 

118 A June Street
Worcester MA 01602
t 508 757 5300
f 508 757 0891

May 04, 2011

Mr Moynagh and Mr Lane

Been busy lately.    Long story, but I got a feeling my blog may go in a different direction or at least pick another thread over the next couple of months.  What thread is that?    Answer --Educating Rita.   That was a movie I remember from my college days.      This summer I may be bringing you the modern version regarding my daughter on this blog??

My older sisters (3) all went to Doherty, loved it, excelled  and that was where I thought that I would go.   Finishing  the 8th grade at Chandler Junior, my neighborhood was being told that we would need to attend the current South High School that was opening (circa 1979).   My parents loved Doherty, but did not want me going to South and made me apply to Saint John's (SJ).  In the end South only became an option and many of the kids from my neighborhood went to South, Doherty or  private school. 

I ended up at SJ, where I got a much better education then I would have ever received at either Doherty or South, because I did not have the self-discipline.    At SJ you did not need self-discipline, it was demanded or else because of people like Mr Moynagh and Mr Lane,  who never taught a class, but both knew alot about discipline. 

Trying to find that balance for my daughter has proved to be a little more difficult then I imagined.

May 02, 2011

Bin Laden

Watching the news reports of his death, his first name was reported as Usama.   I always thought it was Osama?? 

May 01, 2011

Boston Herald story on a sewer line

Interesting story in the Herald about repairs that need to be made on a sewer line in a private way in South Boston.  The total cost of  which is 125,000 to be split amongst 17 building owners on the private way.  

Here is the key line from the BostonWater and Sewer spokeman was there has no responsibility to fix the pipe.    

Telegram headline

129 jobs on the line in city

Negotiations founder over health plans

Founder??  Should it not be flounder