Gardner MA City Council title 6-6-22
Music Programs Scored a Big Win at the Gardner City Council Meeting on June 6, 2022 with a $100,000 capital expenditure.

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Arts at the Heart of Smart

The $100,000 for the School Capital Project Music Account was approved unanimously by the Gardner City Council after discussion, a substantial victory for MUSIC in the Chair City.

The “Scooter” Ordinance went to First Printing with use in cemeteries prohibited.

MUSIC Wins Big at Gardner MA City Council meeting of June 6, 2022

Gardner MA Mayor Michael Nicholson asked for $100,000 from free cash for the School Capital Project Music Support Account and this request resulted in considerable discussion and comment among the City Councilors.

Councilor Ronald Cormier stated, “…all of us I think are cognizant of the fact that last week there were so many kids involved in the newly reinstituted  music program in the elementary school that they had to spread the concert over two nights.  And with the new school being opened in the Fall, we need to provide the tools, if you will, needed by the Music Department, and there is a list of items, many of which I’m not even familiar with, because I’m not much of a musician, …but these are the tools that’ll be needed….the equipment stays with the school to be used year after year by the children.  It’s exciting to see this happening in our school system. “

Councilor Nathan Boudreau, “ I am in support of this, I’d just like to thank the Mayor for his dedication to the arts during his tenure, I think it’s gonna come back tenfold.  It’ll be great for the future of our city and for the future of the programs.”

Councilor Mack, “I’m also in support of this.  I just want to make sure this is quite a number of instruments and that the school department is going to be able to budget for any repairs and maintaining the equipment ‘cause it is quite a few items, so that the money is being spent wisely and the instruments will be able to be used for many years to come.”

Councilor Walsh, “This is somewhat along the lines of Councilor Mack’s comment about budgeting.   This is a substantial amount of money for new equipment, presumably there is existing equipment that these, all these additional people were using during the course of the current year.  So this is supplementing that, beyond what is in existence already.  I’m wondering why this is being done as a free cash appropriation rather than included in the school budget”

Mayor Nicholson responded, “That’s an excellent question from Councilor Walsh. And it is one that we did look into as well….  What we ended up doing for our plan is doing a one time expenditure like this to get us to that point and then budgeting the maintenance going forward in the regular school budget….The school does have an on-call contract with City Music for its repair of its instruments…. The compromise if you will in terms of a plan that we have  for this was that the purchase up front would get us to a place where we need to be to get the students who are in the program right now the equipment and instruments they need to run the programs…”

Councilor Boone, “Yeah, I was kinda curious why the money wasn’t coming out of the Williams Rockwell Fund for the Arts. Maybe somebody can speak to that. “

Councilor Walsh, “As a member of that committee I can tell you that the Williams Rockwell group has funded substantial improvements in the school with the auditorium, …at least a half dozen different appropriations over the last couple of years….a substantial request was denied…because it was felt that was something that should be in the school budget….”

Other items which came before the Council included the Fiscal Year 2023 Budget which was referred to the entire Council as a Committee as a whole. $18,000 was approved to go to the medical exams account. $18,000 from free cash to medical exams account.   Councilor Dernalowicz stated, “City has hired 160 new employees.  This includes the school department as well.….this is to cover mandatory physical and drug testing, random drug testing for DPW, psych evaluations for the fire and police department…will cover expenses for remainder of fiscal year.” The $45,000 for the unclassified termination leave account to cover unexpected retirements passed unanimously. Park Opposition: There was opposition voiced by Councilors Walsh, Boone, and Mack regarding the proposed monies for Maki Park and Park Street Park and the matter was referred. The Board of Health will gets its new vehicle, an electric one to replace its 2013 vehicle which has been described as just having salvage value.

Councilor Comments:

Dana M. Heath, “No new business, I just want to go ahead and say I was lucky to go and attend with you and a couple other councilors the graduation over the weekend.  It was a a beautiful event, so a big shout out to Gardner High for going ahead and putting that all together.  It was nice this year. No masks, being able to see everyone’s smile. George Tyros: “nothing new this evening.” Alek Dernalowicz: “nothing this evening.” Judy Mack: “nothing new this evening.” Craig Cormier: “Yeah, I’d like to just briefly mention that the Public Safety Committee did pass temporary removal of parking meters, both on Parker Street and on Main Street, at the request of a couple businesses to allow some sidewalk dining this summer in conjunction with our closing of Pleasant Street.  So it’ll be interesting to see how that does. Look forward to that.” James Boone, “I got to attend the Memorial Day ceremonies along with many of you.  I’m hoping that we can do something about the sound system for next time we have an event there because it was very, you couldn’t hear a thing, so, hopefully we’ll put some money in the budget to fix that.” Nathan Boudreau, “ No new city council business this evening.” Karen Hardern: “Nothing new this week.” James Walsh, “I have nothing more.” Ronald Cormier: “I have nothing.”