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Eminent Domain, Tax Votes on Tap for Lowell City Council

November 19, 2018

LOWELL -- More votes relating to 75 Arcand Drive and the high school project are coming up at this week’s City Council meeting.

After recently voting to take the medical offices on Arcand Drive by eminent domain, city councilors are set to vote on giving consultants access to the property for surveying and environmental assessment activities.

Perkins Eastman, Skanska and their contractors would perform environmental borings and test pits and materials sampling at the site.

On Tuesday, City Manager Eileen Donoghue will ask the council to approve limited access agreements for this work at 75 Arcand Drive, a crucial property for the downtown high school project. Because seven of the councilors have been approving eminent-domain votes, this access vote is expected to pass.

Donoghue will also ask councilors to refer the property tax rate to a public hearing on Dec. 4. She’s asking for the council to establish the minimum residential factor for Fiscal 2019, resulting in the “maximum tax relief to residential homeowners” under state law, she wrote to councilors.

With approval of her recommendation, the eight-year annual average increase would be about 3.1 percent.

“The City has been able to successfully control budget growth and property tax levy increases, while at the same time expanding services and adding resources to support the City Council’s priority areas,” Donoghue wrote to the council. “This is evidenced by the approximately $19 million in ‘excess levy capacity’ available under the primary levy limit.”

The average single family tax bill in Lowell, based on preliminary data, would remain significantly below other municipalities in Massachusetts -- at about $1,642 less than the average.

Before the 6:30 p.m. council meeting, the City Council Public Safety Subcommittee, at 5:30 p.m., will include Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and Judge Jay Blitzman providing an overview of the Restorative Justice Program at Middlesex Juvenile Court.

Follow Rick Sobey on Twitter @rsobeyLSun.

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