By Beth Treffeisen
Special to the Gazette
The City Council held its final hearing of the year on Dec.13.
- It was the last hearing for both Councilors Tito Jackson and Sal LaMattina who said their farewells after the hearing. Mayor Martin Walsh thanked them both for their years of public service and time spend on the City Council.
- The City Council voted to confirm the Council’s four nominees to the Community Preservation Committee. As previously reported, the four individuals are Matthew Kiefer, Kannan Thiruvengadam, Madeligne Tena, and Ying Wang. They will join Mayor Walsh’s appointees: Chris Cook (Boston Conservation Commission), William Epperson (Parks and Recreation Commission), Felicia Jacques (Boston Landmarks Commission), Carol Downs (Boston Planning and Development Agency BPDA board), and Kate Bennett (Boston Housing Authority).
- Acoustic Live Entertainment was unanimously passed and made permanent. The amendment took away the sunset clause on last year’s Acoustic On Main ordinance. The legislation, initially passed in December 2016, eliminated the permit requirement, hearing, and fees for small businesses in business districts to host acoustic live entertainment acts of up to five performers between the hours for 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
- The City Council voted unanimously to authorize the acceptance of the Massachusetts State Law that allows municipalities to accept and impose a local sales tax of up to three percent upon the sale or transfer of marijuana or marijuana products by a recreational marijuana retailer. It is the maximum-allowed three percent rate. The proceeds will go towards helping individuals in jail diversion work force development and technology and mentoring services for those most affected.
- Councilor O’Malley reported back on the hearing held to consider the benefits of net-zero carbon requirements and incentives for future construction in the City of Boston. He noted two major actionable takeaways from this meeting including a need for coordination across initiatives, and the need for more aggressive action to reach the City’s slated goals for 2020 and 2050. The matter was placed on file for more action in the New Year.
- The City Council voted to approve the ordinance to reform the City’s procurement processes for greater equity in opportunity around City contracting. The ordinance helps align the City spending with the City Council’s goals of addressing income inequality by directing investment into the neighborhoods with greater meaningful engagement of women and minority-owned business enterprises (WMBEs). In 2016 the City of Boston spent $378 million on goods and $318 million on services. That’s nearly $700 million annually that the City could be directing to the neighborhoods, to historically marginalized communities, and to create opportunity.
- The City Council voted unanimously to support a $123 million appropriation for the construction of a new facility for the Boston Arts Academy, located on the existing site at 174 Ipswich.
Council met on Dec. 6 at 12 p.m. at City Hall.
- Passage of the ordinance to provide for the safe disposal of sharps will be held off until the New Year. The sponsor Councilor Annissa Essaibi George said that she would re-file the order in a new draft in the next session to reflect all of the input she has received from community. The ordinance will ask pharmacies to provide a place for safe disposals of used needles at all store locations.
- An order for a hearing to discuss the sexual harassment policy in the City Council was called for by City Councilors Josh Zakim and Ayanna Pressley. After several high-profile cases across the country, including the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, have recently shed light on the considerable scope of this issue, the Councilors wanted to provide an important opportunity for the City Council to examine its own policies and procedures regarding sexual harassment policy. The hearing will make sure that the City Council has best practices in place to ensure the safety of all employees, visitors, and others and if any incidents do occur, that systems are in place to properly address complaints. A hearing date has yet to be set.