Gardner MA Mayor Michael Nicholson makes his case to Gardner City Council for increase in fees for Fire and Building Departments at informal session 3-7-22
Gardner City Council 3-7-22

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Gardner MA Fire and Building Department Fee Hikes Approved Unanimously

Mayor Michael Nicholson stated, “I do not believe that this is going to have a substantial impact on the marketability of the City.” The mayor made a lengthy presentation in an effort to demonstrate that fees used to cover 90% of expenses in 2009, but by 2018 only covered about 60% of expenses, and stated that the State Division of Local Standards recommends 90% as the standard.

Not only did the Mayor recommend the fee increases to make up for lost time during the past 15 years where fees have not been reviewed, but also he emphasized he believed sound fiscal policy suggests ongoing reviews every 5 years are in order. Nicholson stated, “Not making a commitment to make increases every 5 years, but just constantly review to make sure we are being as fiscally responsible as we need to be based on the best practices.”

The Mayor acknowledged citizen concerns about the fee increases stating, “My office did receive some questions about these proposals that I thought it was worth sharing…from our constituents about the impact that this may have on any potential economic growth, or growth that the City may see, are we doing our part to make sure that we’re still marketing the City in a good way even if we are increasing our fees.  And that’s something I think that’s keeping in line with what the area is, but you’re still going to get a lot more in Gardner than you’re going to get in a  place like Worcester, or Fitchburg, or Leominster, for that matter….”

Other Items Approved

Outdoor Restaurant Seating and Services had strong support from City officials and restaurants who submitted the above signatures in support. CLICK IMAGE for larger view.

Approved: Order appropriating $121,905.00 from Free Cash to the School Department Athletic Field Improvement Account and balance of funding to come from School Choice Reserve Fund as total project cost will exceed $600k. Approved first printing: An ordinance to amend the Code of the City of Gardner, Section 44 of Chapter 171, entitled, “Compensation in Lieu of Paid Holidays”  Approved: Amends various and adds a new chapter 500 to be entitled, “Blighted, Nuisance, Vacant, and Abandoned Properties”. Approved first printing: Amend Code of City of Gardner by adding new chapter 501 entitled, “Outdoor Restaurant Seating and Services” Approved first printing: Amend Chapter 312 entitled “Animals.”  Approved first printing: Ordinance deleting Chapter 318, entitled “Arcades”