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No Big Raises for Gardner MA HR Director and Assistant City Solicitor
An amendment made by Gardner City Councilor James Walsh won the day and the large raises proposed for the Assistant City Solicitor and Human Resource Director were voted down, in favor of a 2% raise comparable to what other City employees are getting. Despite both the Assistant Solicitor and Human Resource Director taking on additional duties, the larger raises were denied, but Councilor discussion indicates a City-wide salary survey may be undertaken soon. After this survey according to Walsh, any raises could be made retroactive to July 1 if desired.
In New Business, 4 of the 10 Gardner MA City Councilors made comments.
Dana Heath – I want to thank the Mayor for earlier explaining the taxes. I actually had a constituent earlier today who just got her tax bill. And I feel like everything you just said touched every topic that she brought to me. ….and everyone get out to the Food Truck Fest the 9th.
Nathan Boudreau – On June 25th, an explosive good time was had by all. ….I would like to thank the Mayor and the Council, and the police, fire, different members clubs from the community, and for all getting together to put on a great time. There didn’t seem to be any issues, the fireworks show was outstanding, I looking forward to what we will do over the next year for the 100th anniversary, noting that for year 237 we went off. So, thank you everybody involved in that. It was a good time.
James Walsh – I appreciate the Mayor explaining at tonight’s meeting as well as the other efforts made to explain the inversion of the tax rate versus the preliminary tax bill, versus the valuations that are used to, or the assessments that are used to, calculate the preliminary tax bills, it’s a little complicated, a little confusing, but we have to explain it to our constituents the best we can and I think the efforts being taken to do so hopefully will meet the challenges. The other thing, when I received my email, the Mayor’s announcement….I reminded the Mayor, that while we’re allowed to increase taxes by 2 ½ percent, we’re not obligated to, and we can do lower than that if circumstances justify. There’s a supplemental budget based upon the new growth anticipated tax levy, and we’ll have the opportunity to address that topic at that time. See the Gardner Magazine article on Tax Inversion.
Ron Cormier. “ Yeah briefly, we had two items placed on file this evening. One of them was the notification of a Mass Trails Grant award. The city has been working long and hard for years and years to develop a rail trail system and it came out this week that we received a $245,000 grant to help plan the further process. Wherever these rail trails are, they’re always well received. It’s a multi-use trail, and expand the ones we have is commendable. This is great news. The other one is to a notification to approve vacant storefront program. It’s something to help merchants, storefront owners, to improve the looks of their Downtown. We took action a couple weeks ago to try to improve a couple of parks, to try to improve the appearance of our community. We know we have new landlords in town who already made efforts to bring these buildings up to snuff. And this is another step forward, in trying to make Gardner, we have to make ourselves look better. This is another part of it. I just thought it was important to make note of that.