In case you missed it (ICYMI), here are some notes from our last City Council meeting, which took place at City Hall at 7pm on Wednesday, January 8, 2020. You can watch a video of the full meeting here.
Why Wednesday? Typically, council meetings are on Mondays, or Tuesdays if Monday is a holiday. This meeting was scheduled for Wednesday to be after the inauguration of newly-elected members. The inauguration was Tuesday, January 7th (you can watch the Inauguration here), so our first meeting was scheduled for the following day — Wednesday, January 8th.
Issues and items before the Council this meeting, and notes on outcome and/or discussion:
- Public hearings on a few CDBGs (Community Development Block Grants) to fund projects in the City; and Resolution 22-20 to allow the City Manager to pursue these grants for the City
- A CDGB consultant was present to share some required information about these grants and their administration
- The resolution to approve the City Manager to move forward with these grants = were all unanimously approved
- The resolution contained approval of the 2020 Housing and Community Development Plan and 2020 Residential Anti-Displacement and Relocation Plan
- Several nominations & appointments to boards and commissions
- Several appointments were expedited to appoint right away
- All were unanimously approved
- Approval of Resolution 15-20 to update Chapter 12, Streets and Sidewalks
- Discussion around what the changes were: largely housekeeping and prohibiting people both from dumping snow and ice into public rights of way and from dumping liquid (such as from sump pumps) into streets, which can cause ice hazard in the winter and road erosion in warmer months.
- The updated Chapter 12, unanimously approved, can be found here: https://www.somersworth.com/city-clerk/pages/city-ordinances
- A new Resolution (24-20) to support Exeter Health Resources (Exeter Hospital)’ affiliation with Wentworth Douglass Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital
- Background: The affiliation was objected to by the NH Attorney General back in September, on the basis of anti-trust concerns. This resolution was drafted to demonstrate our support of the affiliation moving forward to bring all the benefits of the transaction (including a Level II nursery in Exeter, more access to specialists and specialized care and $13M for mental health and substance use disorder to be used across both Seacoast partners) to our Somersworth community.
- Ben Bradley from Wentworth Douglass Hospital was present, spoke during Comments by Visitors in support of the resolution and offered to answer any questions that may arise during discussion. Council suspended rules to bring him back up during discussion and answer some questions giving more context to the need of our resolution. Notably, Bradley said it was WDH’s understanding that the AG’s office had not included Frisbie Memorial Hospital in their market analysis, nor did they include York Hospital or Anna Jacques, which are both considered competitors of WDH and/or EHS.
- Discussion was in support of both the merger itself and the resolution urging the Attorney General to work with the hospitals to come to an agreement .
- What was notable to me in researching this resolution was that this affiliation is between three nonprofits (two of which are already affiliated), and will create a regional Seacoast-based nonprofit system for the two NH hospital entities, which will have a board with seats overwhelmingly occupied by local representatives.
- Fosters reported on this vote here: https://www.fosters.com/news/20200109/somersworth-council-supports-hospital-merger
If you have any questions, let me know — or come to the next Coffee with a Councilor or City Council meeting!