City Council – 11/21/2016

DATE 11/21/2016
TIME 5:45 pm
LOCATION Council Chamber, Woburn City Hall, Common Street, Woburn, MA, United States

Meeting Agenda

Below is the pasted journal for ADA Compliancy. See attachment to download the full version.


NOVEMBER 21, 2016 – 5:45 P.M.



Roll Call


     Gately – absent







Haggerty _________________________


Pursuant to Title III, Section 12 of the Charter of the City of Woburn, His Honor the

Mayor has called a Special Meeting of the City Council to be held in the City Council Chamber, Woburn City Hall, 10 Common Street, Woburn on Monday, November 21, 2016 at 5:45 p.m. for the following purposes.



VOTED to dispense with the reading of the previous meeting’s Journal and to APPROVE, 8 in favor, 0 opposed, 1 absent (Gately absent).



On the Loan Order in the sum of $1,300,000.00 for the purchase of ladder truck. Motion made and 2nd to take the matter from the table, 8 in favor, 0 opposed, 1 absent (Gately absent). Motion made and 2nd to suspend the rules to hear from His Honor the Mayor on the matter, , 8 in favor, 0 opposed, 1 absent (Gately absent). Appearing was Mayor Scott Galvin and he stated that this is a bond authorization for a fire department ladder truck, that the borrowing will be for the shortest term authorized under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 44, that the term could be for five years or the life of a vehicle, that he believes that the shortest term is five years, that the anticipated vehicles price will increase just under 4% or $40,000.00 if not approved before December 1, 2016, that the city is trying to pay $2,000,000.00 without borrowing under the capital plan, that there will be approximately $4,000,000.00 bonded, that $2,000,000.00 per year will be expended over the next five years for capital items under free cash, that the other fire department vehicles have been paid for, that this is the only vehicle in the department being paid over time, and that there may be more value auctioning off the 1999 vehicle rather than trading in the vehicle. Fire Chief Timothy Ring stated that the department is replacing a 1999 ladder truck, that the department has a 1999 and a 2003 ladder truck, that at one time both were operating at the same time, that one ladder truck went out of service, that the second truck is a back-up, that with the fire hazards in the city one ladder truck has to be running at all times, that the 1999 ladder truck is the backup piece, that the 2003 ladder truck is the frontline piece, that aerial devices last approximately fifteen years, that the vehicle can be brought up to safe standards after fifteen years but this costs $6,000,000.00 to do so, that the cost of a new aerial device is $1,265,000.00, that equipment from the 1999 vehicle will be ported over to the new vehicle, that the hoses will be replaced for an additional $10,000.00, that a new set of jaws of life cost between $30,000.00 and $40,000.00, that new engines were purchased in 2014 and 2016, that the vehicle stationed in the west side station is ten years old and will have to be replaced in five years, that the trade-in value of the 1999 vehicle would be minimal, that it takes one year to bring a new vehicle on line, that there may be some value to the vehicle but this will not be known until that time, and that the department will be looking to purchase a new ambulance in Spring 2017 to be paid for by BLS receipts. Motion made and 2nd to return to the regular order of business, 8 in favor, 0 opposed, 1 absent (Gately absent).

Motion made and the ORDER be ADOPTED, Anderson – Yes, Campbell – Yes, Concannon – Yes, Gaffney – Yes, Gately – absent, Higgins – Yes, Mercer-Bruen – Yes, Tedesco – Yes, Haggerty – Yes, Motion Passes.

Presented to the Mayor: November 23, 2016      s/Scott D. Galvin November 23, 2016



On the request by Eleftheria Exarchos, 422-426 Main Street, Woburn, Massachusetts

01801, Petitioner and Landowner, for a minor modification of special permit issued

January 31, 2014 as amended by a special permit issued January 29, 2015 pursuant to Sections 5.1.5 and 11.6.11 of the 1985 Woburn Zoning Ordinances, as amended, to renovate existing apartment and convert the space to three apartments on the second floor at 422-426 Main Street by amending Condition 1 for new plan of record entitled “Plot Plan, 422-424 Main Street, Woburn, Mass.” prepared by Edward J. Farrell, Professional

Land Surveyor dated April 30, 2010, revised November 4, 2013, revised October 27, 2016. Alderman Anderson stated that this is a minor modification, and that the request is to move a parking space. Motion made and 2nd that the MINOR MODIFICATION OF THE SPECIAL PERMIT ISSUED JANUARY 29, 2015 be GRANTED, 8 in favor, 0 opposed, 1 absent (Gately absent).



On the discussion with Woburn Public School Committee Chair and the administration regarding an update on the School Department. Appearing was Superintendent of School Mark Donovan and he offered a series of documents for review by the City Council. Motion made and 2nd that the documents be received and made part of the record, 8 in favor, 0 opposed, 1 absent (Gately absent). Superintendent Donovan stated that he asked the school principals to provide a one page description of the schools activities, that there is a constant flow of information from the school through social media, that there are as many as sixty social media posts each day from the different schools and clubs, and that the determination of the school levels is based on a difficult formula. Matt Crowley, Ed.D., Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Assessment stated that students in grades 2 to 8 took the PARC test last year, that the PARC test will be phased out and the MCAS 2.0 test will be launched soon, that the city was using the PARC test for two years, that the city chose to move to the MCAS 2.0 test, that all scores for grade 3 to 8 were over 80 with a peak of 92 for grade 8, that the students met or exceeded school averages for the PARC test, that students in grades 5 and 8 took the MCAS test as the PARC test was not offered for those grades, that the new Woburn Memorial High School principal is working to reduce the drop-out rate, that the graduation rate has increased from 85 to 93 and the drop-out rate decreased from 2.7 to 2.0, that the high school was close to achieving level one designation, and that the high school is currently a level two school. Superintendent Donovan stated that there is an additional guidance counselor focusing on ESL hired for the high school who speaks English, Spanish and Portuguese which has been beneficial, that a school psychologist was hired, that these new positions will be reflected in the activities for this year, that the idea of eliminating the relationship with the Northeast Metropolitan Regional Vocational School District has not been considered by the school department, that some students attend the Minuteman Regional Vocational Technical School District if a program is not offered at the Northeast Vocational School, that the city pays for the students share of costs to attend the Minuteman Vocational School, and that the discussion regarding the vocational school was from a budget perspective. Alderman Concannon asked whether there were enough positions open at the Northeast Vocational School for Woburn students to avoid the expense of sending students to the Minuteman Vocational School, that the vocational school used to mean training for the trades, that there seems to be a technical education movement at the vocational school such as pre-engineering, that he asks whether the city is being certain to make the appropriate programs available for the students, that there are some districts offering this training at the city school as opposed to the vocational schools, and that keeping the students in the city without going to the vocational school for a technical education path not only keeps the student in the city but also may save the city money. Superintendent Donovan stated that a full-day kindergarten grant created a $180,000.00 gap as it occurred after the budget had passed, and that the school department was able to hire staff at a lower rate over the summer to reduce the gap to approximately $100,000.00. Joseph Elia, Assistant Superintendent for Finance & Operations stated that the kindergarten grant was in the Legislature’s budget but not in the Governor’s budget, that action was taken by the State at the end of June 2016 after the city budget had been passed, that there is still an approximately $100,000.00 gap, and that the school department has discussed this issue with the Mayor who has pledged to help with the issue. Kim Lawrence, Special Education Director stated that two areas of concern are out of district placement and social/emotional students, that issues such as substance abused and drug addiction at the high school and depression, anxiety and behavior issues in all school are areas of concern, and that three high school and three elementary school students are at assessment centers for this reason. Superintendent Donovan stated that there are students who have issues so severe that they cannot be handled without an out of district placement but there has been progress with this issue. Director Lawrence stated that the school department has brought students back into the system with therapeutic programs, that the programs are strong but keep growing which required more staff, and that there are sixty out of district students now with six assessments. Superintendent Donovan stated that there increase in mental health issues in the communities are making their way into the schools, that an example of issues are low birth weight babies who survive more now than in the past but they have fragile states that require special assistance, that a redistricting plan will be developed when there is a need to do so, that the size of the new schools is determined by calculations made by the school building program, that 410 students will be serviced by the new Hurld-Wyman Elementary School, that two-bedroom townhouse developments have little effect on the schools but a  four-bedroom single-family development will have on impact on the schools but not as much as may be expected, that there can be a spot redistricting if a particular development has on impact on one school, that there is a formula to determine how many students can be expected from a development, that the Reeves Elementary School is not at capacity because it is not at the contract level for number of students in each classroom, that there is a music room and an art room that could be used for classrooms but there would have to be a decision if that is where the city is to go and whether such a decision would impact the equity among the schools, and that it is disruptive to send students to different schools by redistricting. School Committee Chair Chris Kisiel stated that there are other impacts on the schools by putting more students in the school such as the secretary, nurse and custodians having to handle greater duties. Superintendent Donovan stated that the Hurld-Wyman Elementary School will have two rooms that could be assigned for classrooms. Chair Kisiel stated that there are currently 208 students in the Hurld Elementary School and 181 students in the Wyman Elementary School. Assistant Superintendent Elia stated that the biggest facilities needs are the roof at the Altavesta Elementary School, the back wall at the Joyce Middle School ice rink that has to be repaired and technology upgrades, and that the Joyce Middle School roof will be replaced in Spring 2017 with bids going out for the work this month. President Haggerty stated that the Joyce Middle School ice rink lease expires next year, that the school department does not get involved with the ice rink except for the foyer and some exterior repairs, and that the city and Woburn Youth Hockey deal with these issues. Alderman Concannon stated that the report from Director of Facilities David Dunkley indicates the refrigeration equipment for the ice rink is not a school department issue. Assistant Superintendent Elia stated that the refrigeration for the ice rink is not a school issue, that the school department and ice rink share utilities and the school department bills Woburn Youth Hockey for a share for the rink, and that the City Council has not been approached about the needed repairs. President Haggerty stated that there should not be a dramatic increase in rent paid by Woburn Youth Hockey for the ice rink but the city should provide the refrigeration unit. Alderman Anderson stated that Woburn Youth Hockey has some responsibility to make interior repairs, and that the city is responsible for the walls. Assistant Superintendent Elia stated that a computerized building maintenance program is in place for the school buildings, that the whole envelope of the ice rink building will be looked at, and that the cost to refurbish the high school football field will likely be in the $1,000,000.00 range. President Haggerty stated that this is a helpful process to go through this discussion with school department. Motion made and 2nd to return to the regular order of business, 8 in favor, 0 opposed, 1 absent (Gately absent).



Motion made and 2nd to ADJOURN, 8 in favor, 0 opposed, 1 absent (Gately absent). Meeting adjourned at 7:03 p.m.






William C. Campbell

City Clerk and Clerk of the City Council