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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

City Council Passes Procurement Reform Ordinance, Acoustic on Main, Appoints CPC Members

City Council Passes Procurement Reform Ordinance, Acoustic on Main, Appoints CPC Members

BOSTON - In the final Council meeting of the year, the Boston City Council passed two major ordinances as well as finalized the appointments of four community members to serve on the Community Preservation Committee (CPC). The first ordinance, sponsored by Council President Wu, removed the sunset clause on Boston’s Acoustic Live Entertainment Ordinance to permanently enable neighborhood small businesses to host acoustic live entertainment acts without fees or paperwork. The second, An Ordinance Promoting Equity in City of Boston Contracts, was co-sponsored by Council President Michelle Wu and Councilor Ayanna Pressley.

Acoustic Live Entertainment
In December 2016 the City Council passed the Acoustic Live Entertainment Ordinance to eliminate all permits, licenses, and fees for Boston businesses to host acoustic performances with five or fewer performers. The language included a sunset provision that the ordinance would expire at the end of 2017, in order to allow for review and reconsideration. Today, the Council voted to remove that provision and extend the program permanently.

“This ordinance empowers Boston's small business owners to enliven our business districts and showcase our arts and culture talent," said President Wu. "By eliminating red tape for acoustic performances in our small businesses, we are giving neighborhood retailers another tool to entice customers to shop local. We’ve heard very positive feedback from businesses and community members over the last year and I’m thrilled it will continue permanently as an example of innovation and collaboration in city government."

Procurement Reform
The Equity in City of Boston Contracts Ordinance codifies the City’s responsibility to create a supplier diversity program, which would conduct active outreach to women- and minority-owned business enterprises (WMBEs) regarding City needs and contracting processes. It also requires solicitation of bids from at least one women-owned business and at least one minority-owned business for contracts under $50,000. Finally it directs any and all requests for proposals (RFPs) that the City issues, as well as the evaluation process for such RFPs, to include a rating of diversity and inclusion plans as key criteria, and creates a quarterly reporting obligation.

“This ordinance aligns city spending with our vision of creating equity and opportunity across our neighborhoods” said Council President Wu. “The $700M that city government spends each year represents a tremendous opportunity to invest in local MWBEs that will build wealth in our communities.”

“This has been a long road from my first hearing in 2013, but today is a huge step towards codifying equity in the City of Boston’s procurement and purchasing systems,” said Councilor Ayanna Pressley. “In collaboration with my colleague, Council President Michelle Wu, we have crafted and passed an ordinance built to make a difference now and to create a system that pushes us to continue to set newer and bolder goals for inclusion. This policy is a step towards reducing wealth inequities in the city, and I look forward to its implementation.”

Community Preservation Committee
The Council also voted to confirm four nominees for the CPC, rounding out the 9-member board that will manage and grant the funds collected under the Community Preservation Act.

“The process for the Special Committee on the community Preservation Act to recommend four individuals was very thorough. With the partnership of my Council colleagues which allowed for an in-depth, transparent process to take place, I am confident that the four nominees that were approved by the full City Council will uphold the goals of the Community Preservation Act which will continued to move Boston forward,” said Boston City Council At-Large Michael Flaherty, Chair of the special Committee on the Community Preservation Act.

The new members are: Matthew Kiefer, Madeligne Tena, Kannan Thiruvengadam, and Ying Wang. They will join Mayor Walsh’s appointees: Chris Cook (Boston Conservation Commission), William Epperson (Parks and Recreation Commission), Felicia Jacques (Boston Landmarks Commission), Carol Downs (Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) Board), and Kate Bennett (Boston Housing Authority). They will serve staggered terms such that each year at least one seat will come up for reappointment or a new appointment.