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Archive for the ‘City Services’ Category

Portadam Cover 5-12-14

The Port-A-Dam deployed across the Rosemont side of the Beaver Brook bridge.

On Tuesday May 20 and Wednesday May 21 a City flood emergency team will conduct a flood training exercise.  The team, with members from Fire, Public Works and Wastewater, will do a dry run installation of both the stop log wall and the Port-A-Dam systems on opposite sides of the bridge over Beaver Brook on Martin and Beaver Streets.

The stop log wall system was built by the Army Corps of Engineers as part of the dike system on the Centralville side of the brook.  The Port-A-Dam system was purchased by the City in 2009 and is used on the Pawtucketville bank to help protect the Rosemont neighborhood.

“While we hope that these temporary dams never again need to be utilized, it is important that our flood response team conduct regular training on their installation,” said City Manager Kevin Murphy.  “Should the need arise, we will be prepared to respond and install these dams quickly to minimize damage to our neighborhoods.”

During these exercises the Beaver Brook bridge and approaches will be closed to through traffic from 9:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. as team members prepare, install and dismantle the structures.

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The email boxes of city employees will look a little emptier with the end of the annual food drive, but the donation truck food drive 4looks better than ever! City offices have been participating in friendly competition to raise food donations for the Merrimack Valley Food Bank. Naturally, in the spirit of competition the prizes included housing the coveted “City Hall Challenge Trophy,” a DD gift card and of course bragging rights.

The Top 3 winners were:

Team “Can Collect,” Treasury Department, with a total of 465 cans

Team “Forever Young,” Council on Aging and Veterans Administration, with a total of 381 cans

Team “Works Well,” Career Center, with a total of 225 cans

and runner up “Develop they Can,” the Department of Planning and Development

food drive 5food drive 3The biggest achievement however, came from the raising of 1440 items for the food bank and helping our city.  Thank you to everyone who donated! Every can counts!

If you’d like to get more information on how to help visit http://mvfb.org/how-to<-help/ there you can find information on having your own fund drives, food donations and volunteering.

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Spring means better weather and also the start of many events through out the city! Check out some of these events for the month of April.

Quilts Japan – The 11th Quilt Nihon Exhibition
ENDING APRIL 12TH 
Quilt Museum, 18 Shattuck St

The New England Quilt Museum is the only Northeast venue to showcase these award-winning quilts from the international competition of the Japanese Handicraft Instructors’ Association.

Whitewater Rafting on the Concord River
SEASON STARTS APRIL 5
It’s been a cold and snowy winter, so this is going to be great season for whitewater rafting on the Concord. Be sure to call first.

Share Your Story in support of Our Marathon Digital Archive
APRIL 9, 4:30PM 
Pollard Memorial Library
401 Merrimack St.

Our Marathon is a crowd-sourced archive related to the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15, 2013; the subsequent search, capture, and trial of the individuals who planted the bombs; and the city’s healing process. Members of the Our Marathon team will be at the library to talk about the project and help you share your story (or photos, text messages, social media, etc.). Please stop by and add your story to the website.

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LRTA PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION

Notice of parking garages closing effective Tuesday, April 1, 2014.

Gallagher I and Gallagher II parking garages located at the Gallagher Terminal, Thorndike Street in Lowell will be closed due to the construction of a new parking garage, effective Tuesday, April 1, 2014.

The Rourke parking garage on Chelmsford St. will remain open.

The Rourke Garage located on Chelmsford St. at the the intersection of Westford Street, will be the only entrance open for pre-assigned monthly passholders and daily parkers. There will be a limited amount of spaces for the daily parkers and this parking will be on a first come/first serve basis.

The LRTA anticipates that there will be ample spaces for evening and weekend parking at the Rourke parking garage.

ALSO REMAINING OPEN DURING CONSTRUCTION
The Gallagher Terminal Lobby (Thorndike St)
The drop-off and pick-up area at the Gallagher Terminal (Thorndike St)
The LRTA bus hub at the Kennedy Center (Thorndike St)

The LRTA thanks you for your patience

Thank you for your patience and understanding during this major construction of a new garage at the Gallagher Terminal.

Please feel free to the LRTA at 978-459-0164 if you have any questions.

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The City of Lowell has been recently learned that it failed to meet a state established level of school spending The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) completed their annual review for the FY13 and it was noted the net school spending (NSS) was missed by $3.8M.  To address this issue an action plan for FY14 and FY15 was released during the February 25, 2014 City Council meeting.

From the FY96 to FY08 Lowell had failed to meet its’ NSS requirement by as much of -4.9% (FY00) and often times came very close to exceeding the 5% deficiency allowed under law.  It was not until FY09 that Lowell had met the requirements in place and from FY09-FY11, Lowell spent $9,798,817 over the NSS requirement. In actuality the City exceeded DESE projected spending each fiscal year from FY07-FY12. 

The 2013 deficiency can be attributed to a number of factors that took place in the City that were difficult to fully project.  The change in employee and retiree health insurance, which resulted in several million dollars which directly benefitted the students, and dramatic savings in utility costs for all facilities, contributed to the deficiency.

In order to address the net school spending deficiency the following actions were prepared:

• A transfer of $2M from the City’s Chapter 17 account to the Lowell School Department.  These funds need to be repaid into the Chapter 17 account during FY15.  At this point it is expected that there will be available Free Cash to transfer into the Chapter 17 account as there is an expected reduction in the FY14 Charter school assessment and an increase in the FY14 Charter School reimbursement

• Amended filing with the state for non-direct City spending for education for FY13 and full accounting of spending for FY14 based upon full capture of school maintenance costs and the health insurance costs of school nurses.

• An increase of $800K in direct spending on education spending for FY15 along with increased in direct spending for pensions and refined health insurance. 

This action plan is intended to address the issue of the underfunding of our schools in a timely manner.  If all recommendations are implemented, the accrued shortfall amount is projected to be $0 by the end of FY15.

 

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Cirus Salt System controls.

Cirus Salt System controls.

Over the 2011/12 winter season, the City had snowfall of 23.9 inches and used 6,571 tons of road salt to keep roads clear; this past season (as of February 24) the City has had 72.9 inches of snow and used 9,605 tons of salt. On a tons per inch basis, the drop in usage is significant and has resulted in a savings of $994,842 over the last three seasons.

These dramatic savings have been made possible through the acquisition of new vehicles and the installation of electronic salt control systems that monitor road temperature and other factors and adjust the spread rate accordingly.  It also reduces the amount of salt spread when a truck slows down or shuts off the spreader completely when a truck comes to a stop, eliminating uneven distribution and over salting.  In total, 24 trucks have been equipped with this system, each at a cost of about $8,300 per truck for a total investment of about $200,000. These purchases were part of the City’s capital plan.

Based on the cost of salt of $50.88 per ton, this investment has resulted in a five-fold savings of $1 million.  In FY 13 the City saved $463,692; so far in FY 14, another $531,150 compared to FY 12.  More savings are expected as additional vehicles are outfitted over the next few years.

Plow/salter clearing snow February 13.

Plow/salter clearing snow February 13.

Over the last three seasons, salt usage dropped by 46% when measured in tons per inch of snow.  This drop is especially significant given the tripling of snowfall during the same period.  This year, salt usage per inch of snow is down another 11%.

The following summarizes year-to-year numbers:

FY 12: 6,571.3 tons of salt; 23.9 inches of snow; 275 tons per inch
FY 13: 10,713.1 tons of salt; 72.1 inches of snow; 148.6 tons per inch
FY 14: 9,605.55 tons of salt; 72.9 inches of snow; 131.8 tons per inch (as of 2/24/14)

“Our capital plan is clearly paying dividends,” said City Manager Bernie Lynch.  “With the City Council’s support, we’ve been able to continue to replace our aging public works fleet and to include the latest technology for monitoring winter storm conditions and salt distribution.  Our return on this investment is dramatic and has the added benefit of reducing the amount of salt runoff into rivers, streams and residents’ yards.”

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