Springfield City Council | WAMC

Springfield City Council

WAMC

One of the busiest city clerk’s offices in New England will be under new leadership after the first of the year.

Springfield, Massachusetts City Clerk Wayman Lee, who was the first black to serve as city clerk when he was appointed in 2006, is retiring after a municipal government career that started in 1988 when he began working for the city as an associate city solicitor.

" It has been a great run,"  Lee said. " I love this city."

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno said Lee has done an outstanding job and has been a “tested and true” city employee. 

Paul Tuthill / WAMC

The top brass from MGM Resorts International are coming to Springfield, Massachusetts this week to do some fence- mending.  Mayor Domenic Sarno and other city officials were blindsided by MGM’s proposal to downsize the Springfield casino project by 14 percent.  But, a detailed public explanation of the reasons for the changes proposed in the project will likely not be forthcoming this week.

An artists rendering of the proposed MGM Casino in Springfield, MA
MGMSpringfield

This could be a pivotal week as officials in Springfield, Massachusetts determine how they will respond to the proposed downsizing of the casino planned by MGM Resorts.  The City Council is holding a special meeting this evening. City officials have invited top MGM officials to a meeting later in the week to explain the proposed changes.

WAMC

A Chinese company will receive a sizable tax break for building a $95 million subway car factory in Springfield, Massachusetts and creating at least 150 permanent jobs.  The Springfield City Council unanimously approved the deal after the company pledged its “best efforts” to fill most of the jobs locally.  

An artists rendering of the proposed MGM Casino in Springfield, MA
MGMSpringfield

Proposed changes to the design of the resort casino MGM plans to build in downtown Springfield have sparked considerable discussion and debate over the last week.  The Springfield City Council tonight will consider giving voters a say this November.

The council, at a special meeting, will consider putting a non-binding question on the November 3 municipal election ballot that asks voters if they support MGM Springfield’s proposal to eliminate the high-rise glass façade hotel from the casino project.

WAMC

A Chinese company is expected to get a sizable tax break for building a new factory to manufacture subway cars in Springfield, Massachusetts.

The Springfield City Council is being asked to approve an agreement with the company that is planning to build a $95 million factory that would reduce the property tax owed by $10 million over a 10-year period.

Mayor Domenic Sarno has asked the council to approve the agreement.  It is on the agenda for Monday night’s meeting.

Municipalities have been wrestling with when to hold preliminary elections to avoid conflicts with Jewish holy days that fall on three consecutive Tuesdays in September.  The largest city in western Massachusetts will hold its preliminary election a week earlier than originally scheduled.

WAMC

It is municipal budget season in Massachusetts. The mayor of Springfield  is proposing a budget that puts more cops on the streets and does not dip into the city’s cash reserves. 

Mayor Domenic Sarno, in a message that accompanied the release Thursday of a recommended budget totaling almost $600 million, praised the city’s finance team for producing a spending plan that prioritizes public safety, avoids layoffs, maintains core services and for the first time since 2008 does not touch the city’s cash reserves to balance the budget.

WAMC

Municipalities in Massachusetts can levy fines against homeowners and businesses for failing to remove snow from public sidewalks in a timely manner. But there is a gray area when it comes to who is responsible for clearing snow from public transit bus stops.  Officials in Springfield are looking to address it.

Springfield City Councilor Bud Williams is sponsoring home rule legislation that would allow the city to fine the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority for failing to remove snow or ice from its bus stops within 24 hours after a storm.  The fine would be $200 per violation.

MGM Springfield

The recent snowstorms have wreaked havoc on work, school, and personal schedules. The city council in Springfield, Massachusetts is holding a special meeting later today. Three previously scheduled sessions were cancelled because of snow.          

Council business that was postponed by the snowstorms includes a vote on a casino ethics ordinance that would bar elected city officials – the councilors and the mayor -- from accepting jobs with MGM Springfield for three years after leaving the city’s employment.

An assault on a U.S. Postal Service mail carrier last month in Springfield, Massachusetts has brought a call for harsh punishment to deter future attacks.

   Springfield City Councilor Bud Williams urged federal authorities to prosecute two city teenagers who are currently facing state criminal charges for beating the mail carrier.

   " This case needs the full thrust of the federal government to prosecute these people," said Williams. " Lets send a message that we stand with our postal workers."

MGM Springfield

The Springfield, Massachusetts city council is considering an ordinance that would put restrictions on public officials obtaining jobs at the new MGM casino being built in the city.

Under a proposed municipal ethics ordinance, the city’s elected officials—the mayor and 11 city councilors – would be barred for at least five years from obtaining a job at the MGM casino after leaving the city’s employment.  Non-elected officials who are considered “major policymakers” would face a two-year ban.

New property tax rates have been set in Springfield, Massachusetts.  For the first time in many years, the rates for both homeowners and business property owners have been reduced, as property values continue to recover from the Great Recession

A debate rages in Springfield, Massachusetts over who should run the police department – a five-member part-time commission, or a single all-powerful police commissioner.  A showdown vote between the city council and the mayor looms next month.

WAMC

A new year in municipal government began in Springfield, Massachusetts today with an historic ceremony at city hall.  The new city council and the new city council president are both “ firsts” for  Springfield

The city council sworn in Monday morning is the first in Springfield’s history where a majority of the councilors are black or Hispanic—a makeup that mirrors the city’s population which is 61 percent non-white.  The new president of the city council Mike Fenton turned 27 yesterday and is the youngest council president in the city’s history.

When a new city council is seated in Springfield, Massachusetts this January a majority of its 13 members will be black or Hispanic.  It is the first time in Springfield history voters elected minorities to a majority of the seats on both the city council and school committee.  City councilor Michael Fenton said he has commitments from his colleagues to be elected council president in January.  At 26 , he would be the youngest council president in the city’s history. He spoke with WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill

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