Sunday, July 21, 2024

These are just some of the municipal meetings and civic events for the coming week. More are on the City Calendar and in the city’s Open Meetings Portal.


Garbage collection in Cambridge in May 2022 in a video screen capture. (Image: trashmonster26 via YouTube)

Changes in health, fiscal chief

City Council, 5:30 p.m. Monday. Councillors are looking into taking back control over the city’s public health after a budget-season shock and Oct. 17 committee hearing over the complicated and unusual relationship with the Cambridge Health Alliance. A consultant is asked for a look into the relationship and consideration of changes that might simplify things, or complicate them further: setting up a dual reporting system for the director of Public Health or a commissioner of Public Health who would report directly to the city manager, as well as the reestablishment of a Health Policy Board. (Speaking of health, another order wants to look at zoning that would limit garbage collection and construction to hours that would ensure residents get more quiet sleep.)

There’s a request for staff to report back on a March 2021 call to eliminate more single-use plastic, though the little bottles of alcohol known as nips get a separate request to explore how to reduce their use, since they can’t be recycled. Single-use plastic isn’t the only project councillors want updates on: With staff basically silent about a potential city-owned broadband network since March, there’s interest in getting an update before December.

Staff, meanwhile, are putting defibrillators in all 23 public parks and practice fields, and moving Claire Spinner, chief financial officer for Cambridge Public Schools since 2008, to City Hall to become assistant city manager for fiscal affairs.

The council meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.

Projects to come, and waiting

Finance Committee, from noon to 2 p.m. Tuesday. This committee run by city councillors Dennis Carlone and Patty Nolan will talk about Participatory Budgeting and American Rescue Plan Act funding. The first includes $2 million set aside from the municipal budget for priorities voted on by residents 12 and older out of submitted ideas; more than 1,000 spending suggestions came in between Sept. 11 and Oct. 9, the city said, and will be whittled down to a more manageable size for a March ballot. On the federal Covid-release aid, questions could get sharper: Some Cambridge nonprofits are still waiting for funds more than a year after award letters arrived showing their approved amounts, Cambridge Day reported in September. The committee meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square.

Removing church weathervane

Historical Commission, 6 p.m. Thursday. First Church in Cambridge seeks permission to take down a 5-foot, 5-inch 172-pound golden cockerel weathervane – actually solid copper with gilding – that’s been overlooking Cambridge Common for 150 years. It’s much older, having been created in 1721, and has recently been deteriorating, leading to conversation among the congregation about whether it will be repaired and stay or be sold to fund church missions. Removal is asked “as soon as possible,” after which the weathervane would be stored until a decision is made. Watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.

Hazardous waste collection

Household hazardous waste collection day, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 4. Accepted items at a collection at 50 Mooney St., Cambridge Highlands, include such things as batteries (vehicle and non-alkaline); car fluids including antifreeze, brake, engine degreaser and transmission; car tires (a maximum of four per household); chemicals including cleaners, glues, removers and those used for photography and in swimming pools; fluorescent light bulbs; mercury items including thermometers and thermostats; paints, both oil-based and latex; poisons such as insecticides, pesticides and weed killers; prescription medicines (which are also accepted year-round by Cambridge police); propane cylinders (20 pounds or less only); and waste fuels including antifreeze, gasoline, kerosene, Sterno and motor oil.