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Council set to review green grants, a new fire chief, voting policy

Marlborough – The freshly reorganized City Council committees will get down to business this week, reviewing several agenda items referred to them during the Jan. 25 City Council meeting.

Meeting Monday, Feb. 1, will be the Finance Committee, consisting of committee Chair Michael Ossing, Ward 1 Councilor Joseph Delano, Ward 2 Councilor Paul Ferro, Ward 5 Councilor Robert Seymour and City Council Vice President Patricia Pope. The Finance Committee will discuss budget transfers and grants.

With a $1.2 million Department of Public Works equipment request before it, Ossing explained to the council that he has asked Mayor Nancy Stevens for a complete capital bond request.

“This will give us a better picture of all of the financial requests on the city,” Ossing said.

Expecting the information over the next few weeks, Ossing said the committee would then begin discussions on what the city would purchase and whether or not those purchases would bond the items.

Another item subject for review at the upcoming Finance Committee meeting is the Energy and Efficienc y Block Grant, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) in the amount of $178,000. The grant, which was awarded to the city, is for the replacement of the oil-fired heating system at the Department of Public Works with a natural gas HVAC system.

Continuing its mission to reduce and reuse, the city also received a $9,000 Massachusetts renewable energy trust grant to purchase solar Big Belly Trash Compactors to be placed at Ghiloni Park and Marlborough High School.

Freshman Ward 3 Councilor Matt Elder took to the City Council floor to support an order that the city evaluate the current identification polling policy. Concerned with the fact that residents can not only register to vote but also cast their vote on Election Day without any form of identification, Elder proposed amending the existing policy.

“You should have to show identifi cation to vote,” Elder said.

After talking with residents on the campaign trail, Elder said this issue was something that the people of Marlborough would like to see. Supporting the idea, both Councilor at Large Steven Levy and Ferro echoed Elder’s sentiments.

“I think it is a great idea,” Levy said. “Voting is a precious right. I look forward to the discussion.”

Reflecting on the past election, Ferro said he noticed several people in line actually take out their identification. Concerned that the existing system does not off er protection against voter fraud, Ferro said that he is open to solutions to prevent that.

Before the item was moved to the Legal Committee for discussion, Pope did raise a concern about how this could aff ect seniors who have already given up their identification. Recommending that they consider this in their discussion, Pope voted in favor of sending it to committee.

In other news, Mayor Stevens submitted the appointment of Ricky Plummer to the position of Fire Chief. The item was moved to the Personnel Committee for review.

Plummer has more than 30 years of experience as a firefighter, EMT, fire mechanic, town manager, with homeland security and as fire chief. After a national search, which began in September 2009, the nomination of Plummer for fire chief was made by a sevenmember panel that consisted of fire chiefs from surrounding communities, a resident, a city councilor and city department heads.

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