LOWELL — Concerns voiced by seniors who said they often have trouble knowing who to call in City Hall when they have questions and concerns prompted City Councilor Bill Samaras to propose the city look into creating a 311-information telephone line.
The City Council unanimously approved Samaras’ motion Tuesday night to have City Manager Kevin Murphy investigate the cost of creating a line.
Murphy welcomed the suggestion, saying the city’s online EGov and See-click-fix websites are being examined, and that this new proposal will fit into those discussions.
The new telephone line would provide a general number for those who aren’t Internet-savvy to have an easy-to-remember number to call when they have issues.
Councilors also voted to approve discussing Corey Belanger’s motion to discuss reorganizing the Department of Planning and Development to separate the city’s Economic Development Officer and create a new department dedicated to economic development.
Belanger said he wants to be sure the economic development officer isn’t distracted by grant-writing or planning issues.
Bill Samaras and James Milinazzo voiced concerns about such a proposal. Samaras suggested City Manager Kevin Murphy be given time to take a look at the departments now that he is manager, and said the discussion could be part of that process.
The council also proclaimed April as “Donate Life Month” in Lowell at the request of the New England Organ Bank. The designation is aimed at getting more Lowellians to become organ donors.
“We all can help save someone’s life by enrolling in the Massachusetts Donor Registry,” said Mayor Rodney Elliott.
Councilors also received handmade scarves from Sarith Khim, secretary of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts in Cambodia, who is visiting the city this week to strengthen cultural ties between Lowell and Cambodia.
Elliott presented Khim with a key to the city.
Councilors also approved a motion from Ed Kennedy to request Murphy set an annual date, in the spring, for the city to hold municipal lien auctions. The auctions, which have raised more than $5 million for the city over the last two years, have so far been held at various times during the year.
Kennedy suggested having them at the same time each year could make it easier for the city to budget the money raised, and make it easier for those interested in purchasing the liens.
Murphy welcomed the motion, saying he was already looking into doing that.
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