December 5, 2011 – With only two meetings left before a new council starts in January, city councilors this week said they are generally satisfied with the latest two-year session, but said there are still some loose ends to be tied up before the books are closed on the 2009-2011 session.
Outgoing Councilor at Large Steven Levy, who is leaving to devote his full attention to his duties as state representative, said he thinks the council excelled in its ability to keep city finances in check.
“I look at the overall term highlight being that the city continues to run well financially,” he said.
Levy said he was also proud of the work that has been done on the Urban Affairs Committee, of which he is the chairman. He said the work the committee did on reviewing proposals to expand the New England Sports Center, modify permits for Fore Kicks and approving the Cancer Pavilion at Marlborough Hospital have all added value to the city.
Councilor at Large Patricia Pope said she is satisfied with the work the council has done in terms of economic development and is hopeful about the future of the Marlborough Economic Development Corp.
“I hope I am going to be proud of the MEDC,” she said. “I think it was very innovative for us to do it.”
Pope also said that, although it came late in the session, she is thankful that some real action is beginning to be taken on a new Senior Center.
Ward 1 Councilor Joseph Delano said he is also happy that councilors can walk away from this term knowing that the city is on stable footing.
“We kept the city financially strong in one of the most turbulent times in any of our lifetimes,” he said.
Ward 5 Councilor Robert Seymour said he is happy to see some of the strides the city has made in term of economic development.
“I am proud of the fact that we have a plan relative to economic development and funding through the increased hotel tax,” he said. “I think (the session) has, generally speaking, been very productive.”
Although it wasn’t a City Council initiative, Seymour also said he was glad to have been able to participate in the 9/11 remembrance ceremony he and other officials planned this year.
Ward 6 Councilor Ed Clancy said he thinks the current board has been doing a good job keeping costs in check for taxpayers.
“Through (Councilor at Large and Finance Committee Chairman) Mike Ossing and the Finance Committee, we have been able to keep the budget affordable for the residents of Marlborough,” he said. “What we get in Marlborough for our tax rate is very reasonable compared to other communities.”
Clancy also said he is happy with the work the Wireless Committee, of which he is the chairman, has been able to do in terms of wrapping up requests from wireless carriers to bring more wireless capabilities to the city.
Ward 3 Councilor Matt Elder said he has enjoyed his first term on the council and said he was happy to have had the support of the council on a few initiatives, including his push to remove newly elected city councilors from the city’s health care and pension systems, which ultimately didn’t win the support of Mayor Nancy Stevens.
Ward 7 Councilor Donald Landers said he is proud of the shape the city is being left in financially and said that, while it isn’t over, Marlborough has been weathering the economic downturn well.
Ward 4 Councilor Robert Tunnera, who came in late in the term through a special election, said he spent some of his time in office trying to feel his way around the council floor, but said he is glad the council has been able to work largely cohesively.
Council President Arthur Vigeant, Councilor at Large Michael Ossing and Ward 3 Councilor Paul Ferro could not be reached for comment.
There are things, however, that some councilors said they would have done differently if able to do it over again.
Some councilors, including Delano and Levy, said they thought the Human Services debate over reorganization could have been handled less contentiously and with better results.
Pope said she believed the City Council bore too much of the burden of blame for the swollen Fire Department overtime budget, but said the council now has regular communication with interim Chief Fred Flynn.
There is still some work left to be done before the session finally wraps up, however. The biggest task is arguably the tax classification hearing tonight, when the council will discuss setting the tax rate for residents and businesses.
A few councilors said they also have other projects they would like to see brought to completion, although most said they expect the next two meetings to be comprised primarily of housekeeping measures.
Delano said he would like to tackle the city solid waste issue and find a new way to dispose of trash and recycling, a subject that was brought up earlier in the term but never completed.
This story originally appered here