This column today will be short, but require you to watch two videos that total less then 15 minutes of your time. The first is right here and focuses on last Tuesday night council meeting order 9g) “Request City Manager arrange for a funding mechanism for our new school buildings such as Nelson Place School and South High School “(Petty). This video is almost 9 minutes long.
Keeping in mind that the City Council most important job it to:
- Preserve and promote the tax base
- The budget
We feel Councilor Gaffney was right on target with these ideas to save money that could fund new schools. In this video he explains how we may need to look into “untouchables” as a source of funds for new school construction. These “untouchables” , or assets that are currently liabilities, have been a subject many times in the Worcester Herald, which was actually mentioned during this video:
- Green Hill which we estimate we lose $250,000 in FY17
- Union Station which estimate we lose $1,200,000 in FY17
- DCU which we estimate we lose $750,000 in FY17
In other words somewhere between $2,000,000 to $2,250,000 in FY17 that could have gone into the General Fund to fund things like new school buildings, is diverted to these three “untouchable” loss leaders. Again this is PER YEAR!!! In actuality the losses are much much more, if you were to add in City of Worcester employee pay, and their corresponding benefits (OPEB and retirement), when they spend time working on these three liabilities.
Please note we feel these “untouchable” can be great assets to the City of Worcester, but in the current form are truly liabilities just like the airport was before Massport took it over. Evidently people are finally starting to get the message, check out Nick K today:
Councilor-at-Large Michael T. Gaffney refers to them as “untouchables”….https://t.co/WfREezYReD
— Michael Gaffney (@mgaffneycc) February 19, 2017
Also note Massport did not pay $19,000,000, however, for the airport when they took it over. Prior to taking over ownership, they were covering a portion of the airport losses under various operating agreements for many years , while the City of Worcester retained ownership. Upon actually taking over ownership, Massport forgave the monies that were owned to them and the resulting cash to the City of Worcester was in the $1 to $2 million range, when ownership was actually transferred.
The point of the column was we have gotten out of the hospital, nursing home and airport business and Councilor Gaffney is suggesting it it time to get out of more non essential businesses and uses these savings to fund new schools, which attract people to the City of Worcester. We think it is a great idea and again have written about this many many times.
This leads us to the 2nd video and the reaction of the City Council when the video above ends, click here and start 23.30 and watch for four minutes. Konnie Lukes has some good ideas and one person in the audience clapped a little, literally one. Councilor Bergman then proceeded to ask how these spending issues have anything to do with the order on the agenda??? What!! Seems to us at the Worcester Herald that the spending “untouchables” that could save the City of Worcester between $20,000,000 to $25,000,000 over the next ten years would be a perfect mechanism for new school buildings??
In the end great ideas will not become a reality unless we have a City Council that pushes these ideas . The current composition of the City Council leads us to believe that these “untouchable” will remain a drain on the General Fund and nothing will be done. We need to change the direction and overall composition of the City Council. To that end we will work over the next 9 months to come up with a slate of 4 at large councilors that we feel will make the changes to Make Worcester Great Again.
Stay tuned for the Four, as opposed to the Fox Five!!