August 02, 2013

CDBG funds

There have been alot of stories about the 6,000,000 in the newspaper this week.  Here is my take.

The NRSA, which I was involved in with the Chandler Buiness Group, was funded with CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) monies.  We found out that these monies are handed out by HUD (Housing and Urban Development) and that we could not spend the monies any way that we wanted.   The underlying project needed to meet what HUD called a National Objective and be an eligible use.  Here is a good link.

Every single thing we proposed to City of Worcesters employees (who are no longer there), they would basically say it did not qualify. One day we would be told that a project qualified and then three months later told it did not?  Every single thing except housing monies for their pet projects was met with resistance.   We would have to argue and fight and come up with reasons, why it qualified. We even met the HUD rep, Rick Potaski.  

After months and many many e-mails, we were finally able to get many of our projects approved:
  1. Facades
  2. Summer work crews
  3. Cameras
Remember even asking once if they could tell us some things that we could do that HUD would consider as being eligible.  We were told that was our job, not theirs?  It was extremely frustrating and not very user friendly.  In fact Paul and I drove to Somerville to meet people there who ran the same programs with the same CDBG monies monitored by HUD to get answers.  They were great! 

The part that I find amazing after reading these reports is why weren't these agencies held to the same standard as the Chandler NRSA?    The thing that is really too bad about this whole report is that the people, who were responsible for the mismanagement have all moved on.  The people remaining, who are doing a good job, fixing their mess and setting the right systems in place are left to answer these questions.   

I guess the silver lining here is that these past mistakes are not happening now.  Lets make sure this, however, this does not happen again and all people utilizing CDBG monies are held to the same standard.  

July 29, 2013

Main South CDC

I am going to wait another day before I make comments, but let me make one today.  You are on the Board of Directors of the Main South CDC and you know that HUD is investigating how monies were spent by the CDC's and that there is a chance monies will have to be paid back.  Turns out your CDC, Main South, will owe I believe a million dollars.

That is a good time to give your Executive Director, who is making 100K per year plus another 15K in benefits, a three year guaranteed contract?   This when completely blows me away

July 25, 2013

Armory Street landfill

Still nobody from the South Worcester Neighborhood Center or their partner in the development has answered me..  

July 23, 2013


Stopped by to buy some stuff from Sprout and found the following picture.  Thoughts are with you.

July 22, 2013

Found this on line

The top 10 biggest U.S. cities on the brink of pension bankruptcy

According to Business Insider, here are the top 10 U.S. cities whose pension obligations will soon collapse: (this article was originally published in 2010, so we have updated the "years" to reflect 2013
#1 Philadelphia - Unfunded liability of $9 billion, $16,696 per household, only 1 year before the pension accounts are empty
#2 Chicago - Unfunded liability of $44.8 billion, $41.966 per household, money runs out in 4 years
#3 Boston - Unfunded liability of $7.5 billion, $30,901 per household, money runs out in 4 years
#4 Cincinnati - Unfunded liability of $2 billion, $15,681 per household, money runs out in 5 years
#5 St Paul - Unfunded liability of $1.4 billion, $13,686 per household, money runs out in 5 years
#6 Jacksonville - Unfunded liability of $4 billion, $12,944 per household, money runs out in 5 years
#7 New York City - Unfunded liability of $122 billion, $38,866 per household, money runs out in 6 years
#8 Baltimore - Unfunded liability of $3.7 billion, $15, 420 per household, money runs out in 7 years
#9 Detroit - Unfunded liability of $6.4 billion, $18,643 per household, money runs out in 8 years

#10 Fort Worth - Unfunded liability of $2 billion, $7,212 per household, money runs out in 8 years
Note that some of these numbers were actually optimistic. Detroit, for example, was predicted to run out of money in 2021, yet it already declared bankruptcy in 2013. What you are looking at here is a looming cascade of municipality bankruptcies over the next 10 - 20 years

Learn more:

Detroit Museum of Art

As part of bankruptcy , assets like these may go up for sale

July 19, 2013

Muni bonds rates today

Yields in the $3.7 trillion U.S. municipal bond market rose on Friday, a day after Detroit filed for the largest municipal bankruptcy in history.

Longer dated rates on maturities ranging from 2037 to 2043 rose by 5 to 9 basis points, according to a preliminary read on Municipal Market Data's triple A scale.

Muni market

Is going to be a mess!!

Interest rates will need to be jacked up.

This could end up costing the City of Worcester millions in higher interest rates on muni bonds

Detroit files bankruptcy

USA Story

The city's two pension funds, which collectively have claims to $9.2 billion in unfunded pension and retiree health care liabilities, filed state lawsuits this week in a bid to prevent Orr from slashing retiree benefits as part of a bankruptcy restructuring

July 18, 2013

Decision day nears for Detroit bankruptcy

The expected bankruptcy filing would come after Kevyn Orr, the emergency manager, failed to reach agreements with enough of the city's bondholders, pension funds and other creditors to restructure Detroit's debt outside of court.    Rumor has it they will declare by end of the week. 

Full story 

Moody's cuts Chicago bond rating

Mounting pension liabilities have cost Chicago another cut in its credit standing as Moody’s Investors Service reduced the general-obligation debt rating for the nation’s third-largest city by three steps to A3, citing a $36 billion retirement-fund deficit and “unrelenting public safety demands” on the budget

Full story 

Armory Street Landfill update

No response

July 17, 2013

Boston Globe

Fantastic story on municipal pensions

Springfield is ranked lowest, its pension 29 percent funded, down from a high of 57 percent in 2000. The city has a pension liability of $925.6 million and assets set aside so far of $258.7 million. It has 2,900 retirees and 4,800 active workers.

July 16, 2013

Worcester Pension Fund "rebounds"? You got to be kiddin me!

Assets Liability Unfunded Pecentage

1/1/2007 $716,797.00 $837,608.00 $120,811.00 85.58%
1/1/2008 $759,410.00 $889,924.00 $130,514.00 85.33%
1/1/2009 $631,894.00 $929,569.00 $297,675.00 67.98%
1/1/2010 $679,510.00 $987,692.00 $308,182.00 68.80%
1/1/2011 $724,998.00 $1,025,076.00 $300,078.00 70.73%
1/1/2012 $712,110.00 $1,051,191.00 $339,081.00 67.74%
  1/1/2013              $729,400.00       $1,139,900.00         $410,500.00             63.27%

Worcester Pension Fund Rebounds is the headline in the Telegram.   Year ending 2011, we had an unfunded liability of $339 million. Year ending 2012, we have an unfunded liability of $410 million.    An increase in our liability of 71 millions is considered a rebound??   

Granted we had a good investment return at 14.1% last year (2012), but the year before (2011) it was -.84%.    The actuaries assume 8%, which I think is insane, and we averaged approximately 6.6%.  We did not even meet the actuarial assumption of 8% the past two years.

Look at the "Unfunded Liability" which is the only number that really counts!!

The unfunded pension liability increased $71 million dollars.  Let me say that again.   We just got a 14.1% return on our pension funds and our liability increased $71 million dollars!!!     The headline should be we just fell $71 million dollars more behind.    This is not a rebound.

Over the past 6 years our pension liability has increased $290 million dollars. Let me say this again.   On average our pensions system has fallen behind approximately $50 million per year.   I will not even get into the health insurance unfunded liability!!

The City of Worcester will go bankrupt on this pension liability unless huge changes are made.     You can believe what you want, say what you want, but numbers do not lie..  

Sorry this really scares the hell out of me..  No matter what you think about any issue.  Please simply look at the numbers, they do not lie.  This is unsustainable, unless huge changes are made.

One caveat, I need to get a better understanding of this one line in the newspaper.  "The greater than expected $70.6 million increase was primarily due to the final year of deferred investment losses going back to 2008." 


July 15, 2013

Armory Street landfill update

No response back yet from the South Worcester Neighborhood Center and the developers of Southgate Place.


July 14, 2013

Residency law

This has to be the craziest thing I have ever heard.  First and foremost we need talented people working for the City of Worcester to make us successful.   There are several people listed today in the newspaper who live outside the city that are huge assets to the City of Worcester.  We should not have hired them?  Maybe we should require all City Councilors to work in the city of Worcester?
Maybe we should ask ourselves why they do not live in the City of Worcester?   It all goes back to the Housing Policy!   We need to change the Housing Policy.     When you really think about it the Housing Policy effects everything especially the School Department.

Maybe if we followed the recommendations that RKG laid out in this report, which we didn't when they (RKG) gave us recommendations in 2002, we will naturally see a higher concentration of department heads living in Worcester.  

July 13, 2013

Does the RKG Housing Study say that CDC's should be out of business?

Answer is a resounding "no".  Not sure why many are saying this...

The RKG study merely outlines what our housing policy should be and there is no reason why the CDC's can not work with the City of Worcester, private developers and individual home-owners to implement the recommendations in the study.

At the next meeting in August I hope that the comments are centered on the recommendations from RKG.  

Remember this one important thing, this very same company (RKG) did a great Housing Study in 2002 and pretty much none of the recommendations were followed.  Do you think the Housing Stock has improved during the past ten years??

  • If you like the direction Worcester Housing stock is going, then we should not pay attention to their recommendations again.
  • If you do not like the direction Worcester Housing stock is going, then we should follow the recommendations that RKG has laid out for us. 

July 12, 2013

Pension Liability

Page 108 of auditor's report 

Assets Liability Unfunded Pecentage
1/1/2007 $716,797.00 $837,608.00 $120,811.00 85.58%
1/1/2008 $759,410.00 $889,924.00 $130,514.00 85.33%
1/1/2009 $631,894.00 $929,569.00 $297,675.00 67.98%
1/1/2010 $679,510.00 $987,692.00 $308,182.00 68.80%
1/1/2011 $724,998.00 $1,025,076.00 $300,078.00 70.73%
1/1/2002 $712,110.00 $1,051,191.00 $339,081.00 67.74%

Keep in mind the numbers above are thousands.  On January 1, 2007 we had approximately  $716 million in assets and we had accrued liabilities of $836 million in accrued liabilities, short 120 million.  In other the pension was funded at 85%.

Last January we had about the same assets of $712 million but liabilities have increase to 1 billion and 51 million, short 339 million.  In other words the pension was funded at 67.74%.  

City finances

One of the main reasons I supported the Worcester Slots was the finances.  The City of Worcester needs the money and the unfunded pension and health liabilities is huge and may end up crippling the City of Worcester down the road.

Remember from my college days how it was literally said that Muni Bonds were one of the safest things you could ever invest in.   Tell that to the people holding Detroit muni bonds, click here.    20 cents on the dollar!!!

Insurers, including Assured Guaranty Ltd. (AGO), are on the hook for at least 95 percent of the $2 billion of unsecured Detroit debt that wasn’t issued for city utilities, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Kevyn Orr, the city’s emergency financial manager, proposes paying investors less than 20 cents on the dollar on those bonds as the auto-industry capital bleeds cash.

Kevyn Orr

July 11, 2013

Southgate Place

Think that was the name of SWNIC's Southgate Place Project.  Remember $7,000,000 for 25 units equates to 280,000 per unit..  All affordable units..

Well when they build the project there is excavation and often it is left on site to the side until the job is done. Once the job is done they remove any excess fill, landscape, put up fences etc.   Evidently this is a "green" project.  Pictures taken from the back of 87 Southgate Street.

July 10, 2013


Here is the RKG Study link.  Last one I had may have been wrong?    There is nothing is this study that says we should disband the CDC's.     Read pages 182-185, is there anything there that you can disagree with???

In the past CDC's have focused solely on building affordable housing.   They have done a great job!  We are at 13+%, way above the state requirement of 10%.    This study recommends affordable housing distribution throughout Worcester County.    ""Partner with other local jurisdictions in the region, affordable housing advocates, employers, and community groups to advocate for a more equitable distribution of affordable housing opportunities in Worcester County."      Look at my numbers below of the other communities around Worcester.  This recommendation makes all the sense in the world.

This is not about ending the CDC's but a change in Housing policy, which the CDC's can be a part of.  I see the importance of the CDC's and in fact have, with two others, asked to be on the Worcester Common Ground Board.

Frank Z

Watch his comments at 1 hour 57 minutes and 44 seconds.   His comments are 100% dead on correct. 

From his comments, we need to get both the HDIP  and the Philly Plan going.  

July 09, 2013

Housing meeting at 4 today

Very tight schedule today with Summer Camp and swim lessons.   I was there at 4 to find out the first of two items on the agenda was a TIF for the Telegram Building.    By 4:30 with the discussions still on the TIF, I had to leave.    I was able to get to a TV by 5:15 and catch the 2nd item on the agenda--RKG Housing Study.  You can watch it here.
  • Housing Report starts at 28 minutes
  • Public comments starts at 1 hour and 25 minutes
  • Paul's hat at 1 hour and 26 minutes 
  • Ex Red Sox star Dwight Evans (Dave Zimage) at 1 hour and 52 minutes
Let me focus on some comments by the Executive Director of the Main South CDC starting at 1 hour and 44 minutes and 50 seconds, that I found interesting.
  • He is right we do not have any 40B projects.   A developer uses this (40B) as a tool in towns to circumvent local zoning when the underlying town/city is under 10% minimum.   In Worcester we are over the Commonwealth of Massachusetts of 10% minimum threshold, thus a developer can not try to invoke 40B.   A developer of affordable units in Worcester can not utilize the 40B tool.  He is correct, but a developer of affordable units has never had to worry about local zoning stopping them so there has never been a need to invoke project 40B status.
  • "We need to keep rents down because a large proportion of our population qualify for affordable housing.  If we keep the rents down, they will have more disposable income to generate a vibrant economy."  Who says Main South CDC keeps rents down?    Maybe we should attract more market rate tenants to Worcester who have disposable income to create a vibrant economy.    A rising tide lifts all boats.  Let's actually follow the RKG recommendation, the reason for the meeting, to partner with other local jurisdictions in the region to advocate for a more equitable distribution of affordable housing opportunities in Worcester County. 
My favorite was Joy Hart at 1 hour and 53 minutes plus, she is against housing.

Bottom line is this RKG has hit it out of the park again and the majority of the comments were dead on.   You don't have to read it twice like Paul, but once would be a good idea.    The sad thing is they have done this once before in Worcester about ten years ago and were 100 percent correct then but we did not follow their recommendations.  Let's hope we get it right this time.

Lastly there were many mentions of the Philly Plan!!!    It was also great to see a representative from the Worcester Realtors Association showing their support for the RKG study.  As a member of the Chamber of Commerce, I plan on asking them to weigh in on this for the next meeting.

July 07, 2013

RKG Housing Study

A committee, forgot which one, has a meeting to discuss the Housing Report from RKG.     I plan on speaking and here is what I will be saying.   One of RKG's recomendation concerns affordable housing distribution and that we should partner with other local jurisdictions in the region affordable housing advocates employers and community groups to advocate for a more equitable distribution of affordable housing opportunities in Worcester County.  I agree more with this recommendation. Every city and town in MA is required by state law to have 10% of their housing stock as affordable. According to Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance:
  • Worcester 13.60%
  • Shrewsbury 6.5%
  • Grafton 5.3%
  • Millbury 4.4%
  • Leicester 4.0%
  • Auburn 3.3%
  • Holden 3.2%
  • W Boylston 2.5%
  • Paxton .8%
This begs the question.  If we are over the state minimum, why do we keep building more affordble units?  RKG is correct.    If you are still not convinced how about this report from MassINC  Going for Growth: Promoting Residential Reinvestment in Massachusetts Gateway Cities,   Small part:

With no housing investments designed to support comprehensive neighborhood revitalization projects, Gateway Cities rely heavily on the state’s affordable housing resources. Since 1993, about a fifth of state affordable housing investment has gone to Gateway Cities. These communities often employ affordable housing funds reluctantly because they are the only capital available to address blight.

While affordable housing redevelopment can resolve concerns on a given block, it may further destabilize Gateway City neighborhoods by drawing families away from the existing housing stock. Reliance on affordable housing funds for neighborhood revitalization may further concentrate low-income families in high poverty areas, thwarting efforts to restore healthy demand for housing.

What did people think about this report? Check out Boston Globe Editorial:

In many cases, affordable units can draw stable families into poor neighborhoods. But as the Pioneer Institute pointed out in a separate study, the deed restrictions limiting the income level of buyers can place a long-term freeze on a neighborhood’s prospects. The same policies that keep units affordable in and around Boston can prevent upscale neighborhoods from emerging in Springfield, Holyoke, and Lawrence.

Affordable housing remains a vital need across the Commonwealth, from Boston to Springfield to Pittsfield. But it won’t bring the upper middle class back to gateway cities, and it won’t create enough new customers for the shops and restaurants that give life to Main Street. At this moment, the ability of the gateway cities to serve their current citizens depends on a larger tax base, and there are signs that higher-income people want to come back to city centers. The state owes its gateway cities programs that help them to seize this opportunity now

  The question you need to ask yourself is RKG, MASSINC and the Boston Globe all wrong? 

April 25, 2013

Natchez Mississippi Slots Part-- from Paulie

Natchez, Mississippi has two small slot parlors each with a couple of tables......I saw none of the neighborhood destruction the other evening that is being mentioned in The Big Woo.

Natchez, MS is a high end historic city...... with a working poor neighborhood not far away

there were no prostitutes, no trash, no mamas spending baby formula money, no kids hanging around, no drug dealers, lots of middle class elderly and cats like myself with disposable income.....I went in for two hours and played some slots and a few hands of black entertainment in a cool setting on the Mississippi River...hours earlier a band had been playing.

and Natchez is not defined by these slot parlors they are defined by it's rich history and the quality of life it experiences today....the slots were just one more reason to go to Natchez, Mississippi...Worcester will only be defined by slots if it allows itself to be defined by slots...


April 23, 2013

Two tickets to Red Sox for OneFundBoston

Can't go

My intern (Bobby Lyons) raising money for OneFundBoston.  He is taking them to school to raffle.  All monies to OneFundBoston

Slots and the airport

For the record, a slot parlor in Worcester (or Holden) would help groups like Destination Worcester, Central Convention (is that even their name) help attract conferences to our city.   Bottom line a slot parlor would actually help the traffic inbound to Worcester Airport.

Think about marketing a conference to people to people in Florida:

  • direct flight into Worcester
  • fall foliage
  • College tours
  • Museums
  • Hanover
  • Slots (yes it is a draw)

Slot Parlor for Holden

Couple points.  

I look at this project as a huge development project.   From what I have heard 200 million dollar investement, infrastructure improvements, jobs, 6 Million dollars per year in taxes etc.    Actually I supported a proposed project 5 or 6 years ago for this very parcel, when they wanted to make it into a mixed use and needed a zone change.  The zone change was denied.

If we could get Google to come to this parcel and make us a Google Fiber City (John Carnegie) , I woud support it over a slot parlor in a second.  To the people who have said to me, something along the lines that I live in Holden and how would I like it in my town.

I would whole heartedly support this!!!  In fact I would urge the Town Manager to contact them and roll out the red carpet.   

April 22, 2013

Slots-Why I support the idea

Airport Blog, click here. 

There is no Plan B.  At least until yesterday.  John Carnegie -- great idea.   Worcester as a Google Fiber city, click here for his idea.    

John, can I add offering up Worcester Airport (ORH) for Google Glass. 

April 21, 2013

Slots-why I am in favor

If we did not have already

  • 15 dollar scratch tickets
  • 36 two dollar scratch tickets
  • 28 five dollar tickets
  • 13 ten dolar tickets
  • 8 20 dolar tickets
  • Keno
  • Keno to go
  • Mass Cash
  • MegarBucks
  • MegaBucks Doubler
  • Lucky for Life
  • Powerball
  • Lucky for Life
  • Bingo in local churches
  • Twin Rivers
  • FoxWoods
  • Mohegan Sun
  • Las Vegas
  • Atlantic City
  • on line gambling
  • three proposed casinos in Massachusetts
Then I would be against the slot parlors.

April 20, 2013

Pharmasphere Parcel

If you are looking for the airport blog, click here.

Now for the Pharmasphere parcel.   Janaury of 2008, can I say that again 2008, this parcel on the corner of Gardner and Canterbury Street was awarded to Pharmasphere for $1 beating an abutter that bid $50,000.
Flash forward 5 plus years later.  After dragging this out for over 3 years, Pharmasphere never took title to this parcel. 

As of today the parcel still is owned by the City of Worcester and I have no idea if there is even another RFP scheduled.   

March 14, 2013

Airport Blog

We Did it!

JetBlue starts November 8th, 2013

Click here for Airport Blog

Eventually I will spend time talking about Worcester issues again, but the Airport Blog has taken all of my time for now.. Feel like things are really heating up and we will have good news in May for November service.

March 01, 2013

Morris Bergman letter in Telegram

Wonder if he will get attacked for hating poor people?    Good job MO!!!!

The recent flurry of news regarding downtown re-development in Worcester inspires optimism that the pieces of the puzzle are being put into place. However, a key piece to ensuring our downtown’s rebirth has been overlooked. Responsible city leaders must ask who we should be encouraging to live downtown.
According to the 2010 United States Census, Worcester’s per capita income ranks a disappointing 326th out of 351 Massachusetts cities and towns. Clearly, we do not have a solid “middle income” demographic.
Furthermore, a recent comprehensive housing market study paid for by this city points out that an astonishing 18.5 percent of the households in Worcester are below the poverty level. This represents an 11 percent increase over the last decade. At the same time the region had a 7 percent decline in households below the poverty level. The resulting 18 percent “swing” makes one wonder if Worcester has become the “go to place” in the region for affordable housing.

Perhaps because of perceived political incorrectness, we never seem to hear city officials inquire about the resources being expended to encourage the middle-income demographic. Yet, this is in fact the one group we are struggling to attract and maintain.

To be clear, just because one is supportive of market-rate housing in Worcester’s downtown doesn’t mean one is against affordable housing in general. After all, the housing study also notes that the percentage of affordable housing units in Worcester is significantly greater than required under Massachusetts law and that the present number of affordable housing units will likely be sufficient for Worcester for at least the next five years

After all, every resident of Worcester who wants to live in Worcester should have a place here to live regardless of their income. With the supply of affordable housing units currently meeting or exceeding the demands of our Worcester residents, a natural question arises: Why are there more proposals for mixed-unit housing projects downtown?
The answer may lie in the financing advantages that mixed-use units offer. Although developers benefit greatly with this type of financing, our downtown will not. Such financing often comes with certain “strings attached,” including the requirement that the affordable units remain as affordable units for decades.
Downtown development is in need of a master plan — a long-range vision of what we want our downtown to be. Any “helter skelter” approach to development projects that are not well thought out are simply too risky to embrace. This is especially true for those projects that we may have to live with for a very long time.

If we are to give our downtown retail businesses a fighting chance for survival, we need to ensure that all socioeconomic classes, including those of middle income, live here and spend their money here. It would be poor planning if, for instance, with anticipated improvements in train service to and from Boston, we are unable to develop market-rate housing downtown because the units were previously developed as mixed use.

For these reasons, I am urging the City Council to put a temporary moratorium on all affordable units/mixed use projects in the downtown area. It is time for our city officials to roll up their sleeves and do the hard work necessary to create demand in downtown Worcester for middle income — i.e., market-rate residential units. This is the exact approach taken by the draft Theatre District Master Plan, which advocates for market-rate housing units in all of the buildings in the Theatre District identified for residential redevelopment (excluding dorms).
As for our social responsibility, it is a far more progressive and responsible plan for the city to work on initiatives that would help those in need of affordable housing purchase their own homes instead of simply resigning these individuals to a lifetime of renter status.

In fact, the housing study raises this concern when it states that (although) “the city will continue to provide [affordable housing] services in the future (it) may need to re-evaluate its overall approach to serving the needs of this population in order to avoid placing an unsustainable burden on available financing and social resources.”
Increasing the number of market-rate occupants throughout this city can help change the inevitable outcomes of this reality for the benefit of all income classes living here.   John F. Kennedy was often quoted saying “a rising tide carries all boats.” Here’s hoping that our city leaders understand what he meant.

Morris A. “Moe” Bergman is an attorney in Worcester and a former member and vice chairman of the Worcester Zoning Board of Appeals.

February 28, 2013


Worcester Airport Website- click here

Worcester Airport Blog-click here

UMass buying Biotech on Innovation Drive

UMasss has done anything wrong!!!    Why is everyone mad??  The City may may lose alot of money!!

Let's not pretend, when they City of Worcester loses alot of money, the people who are still paying the bills need to make up the difference.  Don't get me wrong I can understand why everyone is mad, but we have no reason to be upset with UMass?  They are simply playing by the rules that were laid out for them and the same thing has been happening for years.

Let me clarify something I have heard said incorrectly about 100 times.  If a non-profit buys real estate, it not automatically taken off the tax roles.  Ownership does not take a property off the tax roles, it is the underlying use and ownership.

Let me explain:
  • 18 million dollar property owned by a for profit entity, of which 12 million is rented by for profit businesses, while the other 6 million is rented by non-profits.  The City of Worcester collects property taxes based on a 18 million valuation.
  • Same scenario, but the property is owned by a non-profit.   Taxes are only paid on the 12 million valuation, representing the real estate leased by the for profit entities.
If this does make you mad then why doesn't this:
  1. Demers Good Year Tire Center on Pleasant Street was bought buy a church many years ago and pays no property taxes now.
  2. Manoog Plumbing on Piedmont Street was bought by a church and no property taxes are being paid now.
  3. Kesseli & Morse on Canterbury Street was bought by a church and no property are being paid now.
  4. Holy Cross bought Howard Johnson's Hotel, tore it down, planted grass and now pay no property taxes.  
  5. Repair gas station on the Corner of Main Street and Crystal Street was bought by Clark University, torn down, grass was planted and no taxes are being paid.

Our current real estate tax structure has tipped the scales towards non-profits to buy and either utilize or tear down commercial real estate properties for sale, when they their competition is looking at a property that will incur real estate taxes of on average of $28 per thousand.

Let me break it down, say there is a commercial property for sale at 200,000:
  1.  Non-profit can buy it, fix it up and pay no real estate taxes.
  2. For profit can buy it , fix it and increase valuation to 300,000 and be looking at approximately 8,000 per year in real estate taxes or 675 more per month forever!!

How does a for profit entity compete for this property.  The non-profit could actually offer 250,000 versus a 200,000 offer by the for-profit and be costing them less when they do not have to consider real estate taxes.  If you were the seller would you accept 200K or 250K??? 

If you are mad about the UMass deal, then you should be just as mad at the 5 deals listed above and not soley at UMASS for doing nothing different then has been done for years, just on a larger scale.       

February 16, 2013

Worcester Airport Blog

New Airport Blog 

February 10, 2013

FlyORH Blog

Putting more attention on this blog right now.  May 1st key date for the airport


February 07, 2013

Airport Blog

New blog dedicated solely to the airport, click here


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Will From Wonderland

Must be bored just got this e-mail

` has sent you a link to a blog:

Blog: Worcester Wonderland

Post: The Bill Randell & Paulie Collyer Comedy Show, B.A. Event Promotions



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February 06, 2013

City of Baltimore

Wake up call click here

   estimated a 10-year deficit for operating and infrastructure expenses of more than $1.8 billion, plus another $3.2 billion in unfunded pension and retiree health care liabilities. But without the crisis of bankruptcy or receivership, it will be difficult for the mayor to muster the political will necessary to take on the public sector unions and other interest groups that will likely fight efforts to constrain costs

Latest e-mail?

if anyone gets this, i hope by now we all now who it is from... has sent you a link to a blog:

Blog: Worcester Wonderland



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New Blog

Been spending alot more time on Twitter (@flyorh) as of lately and not so much time on the blog..   Lately it seems to me that blogging has been going the wrong direction.   Seems like 100 years ago that Jeff Barnard would stop by and we would talk?

Right now I am going to revamp the website,, and create a new blog just for the airport.  I really believe there is 70% chance we will have an annoucement in May for service starting in November.

This blog will focus on issues like the Housing Policy, Panhandling, etc.     Will try to get the new blog and website down for the week-end. 

February 04, 2013

Gary Rosen and Gary Vecchio

Taped two segments about airport with them this morning .    Will let you know when they are on,

January 31, 2013

Vive Bene is OPEN!!!!

Please make a point to support Vive Bene this week-end

He has resolved issues with DOR!!!

He is OPEN!!!

Vive Bene

Just heard some bad news.  My thoughts are with Kevin and I hope you figure this out...   You have been one of the stalwarts downtown...

Good luck Kevin and staff!!!  

January 28, 2013


The hope is that we support the Florida leisure flights so much that JetBlue decides to run a couple daily shuttles to NYC where you then connect to anywhere JetBlue flies.  Boston has ten of these per day.

As far as the Blue Line goes, Tim DeSantis and a group of us put together a video about 5 years ago filming the ride from Route 290 to ORH with a Blue Line in the road.  

January 25, 2013

FlyORH January 2013

JetBlue made their third trip to Worcester (ORH) over the past 12 months this week.    There are three possible scenarios moving forward:
  1.   April/May announcement:  There will be daily flights starting in November, 2013, to two Florida destinations (most likely Fort Lauderdale and Orlando). 
  2.   July/August announcement: There will be daily flight to these two Florida destinations starting in February, 2014. 
  3.  No announcement:  JetBlue decides not to fly out of ORH
I hope for the first, will take the second and highly doubt the third will happen.  

Some people have asserted that JetBlue will not commit to ORH until the Category III Landing system has been installed.    Although JetBlue, and any other carrier, would like to have Category III Landing systems at all the airports that they service, this is not the reality. JetBlue’s eventual decision to fly here, however, will be greatly influenced by the fact MassPort has committed to the installation of the Category III landing system.  Something the City of Worcester could never have contemplated, when the cost will be in excess of $25 million dollars.    This major improvement on the horizon will help convince JetBlue to fly out ORH in November, 2013 or February, 2014. 

Until Category III is installed, ORH will have some flights cancelled due to fog, similar to the situation JetBlue has with their White Plains operations, where planes are diverted to JFK.    Although I do not see this as a major problem, it will happen and concerns JetBlue.   As long as JetBlue has a smooth procedure to get passengers to Boston, in the event a plane can not land at ORH, but can in Boston, what difference does it make to us?   We already have to drive to Boston-Providence-Manchester or Hartford every single time we fly to Florida.

Based on the track history with Allegiant and Direct Air, I do not see fog being a major problem,  but it will happen more then we want until the Category III is installed.   Call it growing pains, but we need to be prepared and accept it when it happens, knowing that we are truly finally on the right path.

Some people have also asserted that we need an access road.   Although JetBlue, and any other carrier, would like a direct access road, there are many airports that have commercial service and are not easy to access.   Drive to Boston lately, sorry MassPort?  JetBlue’s eventual decision to fly here, however, will be greatly influenced by the improvements to the roads that lead to the airport that have been done and that are planned, as well as improved signage. This commitment also will help convince JetBlue to fly out of ORH in November, 2013 or February, 2014. 

We all need to face the reality, if MassPort was not the owner of ORH, we would not be having any of these discussions.    MassPort’s commitment to upgrade to Category III and JetBlue being their largest carrier are the main reasons  JetBlue may actually fly out of ORH.

JetBlue, however,  will not stay here unless ORH is a success no matter what their relationship is with MassPort.   Once we get JetBlue, it is up to us to fill their planes .   Bottom line sign up for True Blue on the JetBlue website,  get your JetBlue credit card and  buy tickets when the announcement is made.   No more excuses.  

Lastly everyone has their own story or misconception about ORH, especially with Direct Air in the not so distant past.   We finally have the right owner (MassPort) ,  the right airline (JetBlue) and the right destination (Florida).   To put the past completely behind us, MassPort  how about FREE PARKING the first six months JetBlue flies out of ORH to ensure the success of both JetBlue and ORH?

January 24, 2013


Sorry been a little lax with the blog.  Been spending more time on Twitter especially on the airport .  Find me at @flyorh.

Also try to listen in to WTAG Monday morning will be on 7:35AM talking JetBlue. 

January 21, 2013

January 20, 2013

Worcester loves JetBlue

In light of JetBlue's return to ORH

World Premiere of "Worcester Loves JetBlue" tomorrow at noon. 

Girl Scout Cookies & Panhandling

I was at the Webster Square Plaza yesterday buying a couple of things at Shaws.  Saw some girls over by the Radio Shack with a table of Girl Scout Cookies. 

Note not in the street, but on private property.  Went over and bought a couple boxes of Thin Mints.  

January 15, 2013

Panhandlers Ordinance

Watching City Council .  Great job by Councilors Eddy and Lukes, that is all that I have seen so far.

January 13, 2013

HUD Report

Can someone from City Council ask:

  1. what is the status
  2. when will we see the report from HUD? 

Every time, I mention anything about Housing I need to say this.   There is nothing anyone can do to stop anyone from developing more "affordable" housing..  All the City of Worcester can do is not subsidize these developments with their HOME funds.   This should in fact be done, recommended by RKG and makes alot of sense since we have already exceeded what is required by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.   We can use these HOME funds elsewhere.   

Maybe I should say one more time, there is nothing in the RKG report or anything anyone can do to stop the development of more "affordable" housing..  

BTW, that is why HUD is here.  They are investigating how we spent the HOME funds that we doled out and that it was spent correctly.        

Free Parking

Assuming we close the JetBlue deal to come to ORH with two flights per day to Florida, we need to do two things:

  1. Buy Tickets!!!
  2. Get MassPort to offer FREE PARKING for 90 days.  Alot of people got burned by Direct Air, this would be a great good will gesture and help JetBlue get off to a great start at ORH. 

January 11, 2013

Beth Proko

Had fun at the MassPort meeting.  Alot of pols and business people, including my friend Beth Proko.   Many may know her as the person behind Citizens for Business.   A group, which I think really got residents to understand, more then anyone else, how important our commercial tax base is.  

There are alot of good people in the City of Worcester, like Beth, who are not afraid to put their names and faces out there and state their opinion.  You are all an inspiration.    Especially difficult to do when you know there will be people hiding in their houses, sending out anonymous e-mails making fun of you ...  

That's o'kay.     I actually feel bad for people, who don't have the confidence and courage to stand on their own two feet, putting their name and face behind what they think.    Imagine being a grown man hiding in your house all day and sending out anonymous e-mails to derive some sense of self-worth?

Let me take a minute, however, and tell you about Mill Street Motors.  Two years ago my truck died and I went to her and told Ed and Beth that I need a truck:

  1. that had a back seat to throw golf clubs in
  2. a plow 
  3. a lift on the back for snow blower and appliances
  4. used-no way brand new

A week later I bought this for, I think, $10,000 financed through a local Credit Union.    Two years later, I could not happier.  Thanks Ed and Beth!!!    Keep being the contributors that you are to the City of Worcester!   

MassPort CEO Glynn at DCU

Long and the short.  Everyone talked about how good it has been for Worcester, Central Mass and the Commonwealth of MA that MassPort has taken over complete ownership of ORH.  Here are the other highlights:

  • in 1975 ORH had 375,000
  • no reason we can get back to that level short term without any talks of access road
  • cargo not planned in immediate future
  • CAT III in the works, consultants hired, 30 million will take a couple years
  • jetBlue 2014 hopefuly
  • announcement 2013 90 days prior to start
  • 2 flights per day to Florida on their smaller jet

All good news.    I asked one question.   Think it would be great if MassPort would offere free parking first 90 days commercial service returned to ORH? 

January 07, 2013

Boston Herald

Boston Herald

Coverage of the Panhandling ordinance

January 04, 2013

Panhandling Sub-Committee Hearing

Last night I spoke in support of the proposed ordinance because:

  1. It does not prevent anyone from holding a sign on a public sidewalk.  It only targets people who act aggressively.    
  2. Does not allow people to be in the streets.    I look at this merely  as public safety issue.    

There has been alot of discussion that Little League teams. the WFD and other worthy causes will fall under this ordinance.  Althought this was an unintended consequence, we can find alternatives for these groups.   These groups may have to go to local businesses and ask permission to ask for money no different then what Salvation Army does.

January 02, 2013

Palladium Theatre


Any idea if this new entity is a non-profit???