City Council – 09/17/2008

DATE 09/17/2008
TIME 7:30 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.


SEPTEMBER 17, 2008 – 7:30 P.M.



Roll Call

                                                Denaro                       Gately

                                                Drapeau                      Gonsalves

                                                            Dwyer – Absent          Mercer-Bruen

                                                Galvin                         Raymond



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

Chambers, Woburn City Hall, 10 Common Street, Woburn on Wednesday, September 17, 2008 at 7:30 p.m. for the purpose of considering and taking action on a proposed Order to appropriate the sum of $140,000.00 from Reserve from I&I Study Account to Pilot Test for Water Meters Included as Part of ACO Account.



VOTED to dispense with the reading of the previous meeting’s Journal and to APPROVE, all in favor, 9-0.



A communication dated September 10, 2008 with attachment was received from His Honor the Mayor Thomas L. McLaughlin as follows:


Dear President Doherty and Distinguished Members of the City Council,


Enclosed please find the attached documents for your review concerning the upcoming special meeting of the Council on September 17, 2008 at 7:30 p.m.:


  1. A newly executed Administrative Consent Order signed by me on August 28, 2008 and by the D.E.P. on August 29, 2008. This new A.C.O. supersedes and replaces the previous A.C.O. signed by me on June 19, 2006. Pertinent sections (timelines) of this new A.C.O. have been highlighted for your convenience.
  2. A copy of a memorandum dated September 8, 2008 from Jay Corey outlining the proposed expenditures of the $140,000 appropriation for the pilot water meter study. This is the approval being sought from the Council in order for us to remain in compliance with the new A.C.O.


The newly executed A.C.O. essentially postponed the possibility of increased enforcement action and penalties by the D.E.P. However, this is dependent  on us meeting the established timelines. I certainly urge your support on this initial action to fund the pilot study. This will allow us to remain in compliance and determine our residential water usage in the City of Woburn. This will help us make informed decisions as we move forward on our water conservation efforts as mandated by the D.E.P.


Sincerely, s/Thomas L. McLaughlin, Mayor


Motion made and 2nd document be received and made part of the record, all in favor, 8-01 (Dwyer absent). Appearing was Mayor Thomas L. McLaughlin and he stated that he called this meeting as time is of the essence, that he negotiated better terms of the Administration Consent Order (ACO), that the requirement for financing was pushed from ninety days to thirty months, and that this takes the city out of peril. City Engineer John Corey stated that the sewer ACO requires the city to collect funds but provides no direction as to how the funds are to be used. Motion made and 2nd to take the Order to appropriate the sum of $140,000.00 from Reserve from I&I Study Account to Pilot Test for Water Meters Included as Part of ACO Account from the Committee on Finance, all in favor, 9-0. Alderman Galvin stated that he is not in support of water meters, that the first ACO should not have been signed by the Mayor, that the Mayor signed the second ACO because he felt that he had to do so, that money should be used to improve the water system and the quality of water rather than be expended on meters, that the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) should not force the city to install meters, and that he will not support water meters. President Doherty stated that the City Council was blindsided by the ACO that was signed by the Mayor without informing the City Council, and that the DEP overstepped its bounds. Alderman Gonsalves stated that there is a seven year process outlined in the ACO, and that the brown water issue must resolved before large sums of money are expended on meters. Alderman Drapeau stated that it will be an eye-opening experience to look at this study when making the decision as to whether real meters should be installed, that the water rates do not have to be raised just because meters will be used, that the ultimate reason of meters is to give people an idea as to how much of the commodity that they use, and that he is not endorsing water meters but just appropriating money for a study in accordance with the ACO. Alderman Gately stated that this is a big step forward for the city, that he is not in favor of water meters but this is mandated, that the city must have clean water, that the mains are being cleaned, and that having information as to how much water is being used is necessary. Alderman Mercer-Bruen stated that she is disappointed that there was no opportunity for debate regarding the installation of water meters, that she will not support this water meter proposal, that the city should not be subject to this when the water is not clean yet, and that they voters did not get into the debate on this issue. Alderman Raymond stated that he is on the record against water meters, that there is no clear understanding of the pros and cons on this issues, that he is in favor of the appropriation to fund the study, that if the filtering plant works and the water is clean and acceptable the city needs to be in a position to move forward with water meters, and that this will provide the information necessary to analyze this issue. Alderman Denaro stated the city is buying seven years of time to collect data for $140,000.00, that without clean water installing meters is not worthwhile, that there is a lot that has not been discussed, and that the open debate has not taken place however this buys time for the city. Motion made and 2nd that the ORDER be ADOPTED, 5 in favor, 3 opposed (Galvin, Mercer, Doherty opposed), 1 absent (Dwyer absent).

Presented to the Mayor: Sept. 19, 2008      s/Thomas L. McLaughlin Sept. 19, 2008



Motion made and 2nd to ADJOURN, all in favor, 9-0. Meeting adjourned at 8:03 p.m.






William C. Campbell

City Clerk and Clerk of the City Council