Northampton council takes up hefty agenda tonight
NORTHAMPTON — The City Council tonight will be asked to endorse a measure that would have residents vote on a ballot initiative seeking a $2.5 million override of the tax-limiting law Proposition 2½.
Councilors also will review a three-page letter from faculty and staff at Jackson Street School describing the effects of years of budget cuts on the city’s public schools and explicitly asking for councilors’ support of the override.
“We urge you to do everything you can to maintain the integrity of our schools and the quality of our children’s education,” the letter states. “We also urge you to advocate for more resources for our students, including a local override or any other means of additional revenue.”
If adopted as presented by Mayor David J. Narkewicz, the override vote would be held in a special election June 25.
The council meets at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Puchalski Municipal Building behind City Hall. Public comment is the first order of business, followed by a hefty agenda that includes these other items:
∎ An initial vote on a resolution to seek recognition as a state-authorized cultural district.
∎ A mayoral proclamation declaring April 26 Arbor Day and urging residents “to celebrate the day’s purpose, support efforts to protect our trees and woodlands and plant new trees for the well-being of this and future generations.”
∎ Approval of Community Preservation Act projects that would spend $95,000 on a renovation of City Hall and $10,000 on a ServiceNet initiative to help low-income people secure housing by providing first and last month’s rent and security deposits.
∎ Approval of an order to seek bids to redevelop the Roundhouse parcel.
∎ An order to seek grant and loan funding to expand the rail trail and repair the Beaver Brook Bridge.
∎ A measure that would allow farming on some conservation land.
∎ A package of zoning ordinances designed to have the city reach goals contained in the Sustainable Northampton plan.
∎ Second required votes to sell property at 140 Pine St. and accept former state hospital conservation restrictions.
∎ Approval of the appointments to the Human Rights Commission of Gwen Agna of 50 Finn St., Julio Capo Jr. of 95 South St., Eamonn Crowley-Edge of 95 South St. and Tanzania Cannon-Eckerle of 55 Stone Ridge Road.
∎ Approval of the appointment of Alex Akers of 91 North St. to the Housing Partnership.
∎ Financial transfers of $20,000 to the Police Department, $8,743 for Water Street bridge repairs and $7,000 to renovate the Veterans Services offices in Memorial Hall.