Watch Gardner MA City Council meetings on YouTube or on our City Council page. CLICK HERE.

Complete Meeting Agenda and Complete Packet, CLICK HERE.

Read our Editorial opposing Fee Increases. CLICK HERE.

Gardner MA City Council Bunch Has Busy Monday Meeting

The Gardner City Council met virtually on 2-7-22. Jim Boone was sworn in. Various mayoral appointments were confirmed. Councilor Heath attended via a combination of audio and sometimes video as well. The meeting recessed for swearing in of airport commissioners, and the rest of the meeting was presented as a second YouTube recording.

Take the Sliver, or not

A motion to put $30,000 of free cash in reserve was approved for the purpose of purchasing some small slivers of land near uptown rotary if needed. A related eminent domain proposal was also approved. It is believed the City of Gardner owns the land. Money to be returned to free cash if not needed.

Free Dog Licenses for 70+

Gardner residents aged 70 and over no longer have to pay for dog licenses. Proof of vaccinations still required, but license fees are gone. Cost to city up to about $5,000 per year.

Praise for DPW and Appeal for Patience

Councilors Heath and Boudreau praised the work of the DPW. Councilor Boudreau asked for citizens to be patient.

Fortunes in Your Future?

Applications by Witches Wardrobe for license to deal in second hand articles and for a Fortune Teller License were sent for further review.

Feeling the Heat

A motion to abate asbestos and design a new heating system for the South Gardner Fire station drew considerable debate as it was discussed that heat was needed mostly per FEMA requirements. Others suggested FEMA equipment could be stored at Prospect Street School. However, Mayor Nicholson explained FEMA storage is actually three trailers which require garage access and Gardner actually stores a fire engine with a water tank on it. The motion did pass with an appropriation of $22,200.00. Note: State is requiring boiler replacement after a failed inspection.

Certain Fees May Be Going Up

Council voted to have Fire Chief appear before full council to explain proposed new fees and to review new proposed fees from Building Department. According to the packet provided to the City Council, Fire Department collected $12,975.00 in service fees in last fiscal year. However, the 2 fire department inspectors put in time worth more than 8 times monies collected. Some fees would double. One fee, that for a plan review of less than 7500 square feet would go from $10 to $50, an increase of 400%.

View agenda and packet document for current and proposed new fees as well as documentation that Gardner fees are in some cases much lower than some other communities. CLICK HERE. Current City fees are dated December 2013. To view CLICK HERE. Regarding Building Department Fees, Mayor Nicholson in a letter to the City Council stated “The last time the City adjusted building department fees was in 2007…revenue we collect on permits is much lower than surrounding and other comparable communities.”

Clear the Sidewalk

After announcing a letter was received on the topic by Gardner Square Two President Patti Bergstrom, a proposal to increase fines for property owners not clearing sidewalks in Downtown Gardner was approved and sent to first printing. It was pointed out that the current fine of $25 does not provide sufficient incentive to comply. New approved fine is up to 12 times as much: First offense: $100, Second offense $200, Third and subsequent offenses: $300.

Appointments Approved

Christine Oliva Kumar: City Assessor, term expiring January 19, 2025 – James Wood: Airport Commission Member, term expiring January 19, 2025 – Robert R. Swartz Jr.: Airport Commission Member, term expiring January 19, 2025. David Urquhart: Airport Commission Member, term expiring January 19, 2025. Ethan Kolodny: Assistant City Solicitor, term expiring January 3, 2023..