Research & Reports

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Bureau Brief – In-person Learning Opt-in Rates in Worcester Public Schools

On May 3, Worcester Public Schools (WPS) will resume offering full in-person learning for all grades up to grade 8. Families can opt in to in-person learning or can choose to remain with remote learning.

May 3, 2021education
Bureau Brief—Hybrid Learning Opt-in Rates in Worcester Public Schools

Some parents may be eager to send their children back to school for real or perceived improvements in educational quality, while others may hold back because of a belief that the risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19 remains too high to risk classroom situations.

March 26, 2021education
Worcester’s Zones, Districts and Overlays

This report catalogues many of Worcester’s official zones, districts, overlays and areas. Where available, information is taken from the City of Worcester’s Geographic Information System department. The intention is for those interested in Worcester to gain a better understanding of the underlying map that governs the structure and function of the world around them.

March 17, 2021economic-development housing
Bureau Brief – English for Speakers of Other Languages

Adults who do not speak English well or at all are a substantial part of the Worcester population, and the classes and organizations that serve them struggle for resources. Making ESOL classes readily available to anyone is important for a number of unquantifiable reasons, but also for measurable economic reasons, making the issue a priority for further research and additional resources.

November 17, 2020economic-development
Bureau Brief – Addendum to “Implications of a Fare-Free WRTA”

In May 2019, the Worcester Regional Research Bureau published a report analyzing the Worcester Regional Transit Authority’s fare policy, providing facts and figures on ridership, collection costs, service zone demographics and more.

November 10, 2020economic-development transportation
A Top Shelf Liquor License Policy

Many of Massachusetts’ thriving commercial corridors were built on rivers of liquor. Bars and restaurants can turn a neighborhood into a destination for any combination of nightlife, fine dining, culture or tourism.

October 22, 2020economic-development
Breaking Down the Budget & COVID’s Impacts: City of Worcester and Worcester Public Schools for Fiscal Year 2021

EACH YEAR on July 1, Massachusetts cities and towns must implement a new budget. The City of Worcester’s Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) budget takes effect on July 1, 2020. Municipal budgets must balance—expenditures cannot exceed revenues.

September 29, 2020finance
Worcester Almanac: 2020

The Worcester Regional Research Bureau is pleased to present the sixth annual Worcester Almanac—our compendium of information of all things Greater Worcester. A local, not-for-profit organization, The Research Bureau’s mission is to serve the public interest of Greater Worcester by conducting independent, non-partisan research and analysis of public policy issues to promote informed public debate and decision-making.

August 31, 2020worcester-almanac
Broadening Broadband

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced community leaders, in Worcester and across the country, to look at existing systems in new ways – education, retail businesses, telecommuting and other mainstays have been reevaluated in the face of social distancing and quarantines. One system at the heart of many ongoing and proposed changes is internet service.

July 7, 2020economic-development municipal-operations technology
Absent Voters

Worcester voters and the elections they decide are enigmatic. Lacking the intense media coverage of state and national races or the consultants and analysts that characterize larger contests, the municipal electoral process is shrouded in relative mystery.

March 5, 2020civic-engagement
Downtown Office Occupancy Report

Of all the factors that influence the business climate in Worcester’s Central Business District (CBD), the office space market is one of the most basic, but also one of the most important. The physical locations available are critical both in attracting and retaining employers, and in measuring the health of the CBD.

February 27, 2020economic-development
Bureau Brief — Walkability

Walkability has numerous benefits, but how walkable an area is can be hard to quantify—while people have good intuitions about whether their neighborhood lends itself well to casual strolls, or how many destinations are easily reachable on foot, it can be harder to put those thoughts and feelings into a context that could inform public policy.

January 3, 2020municipal-operations transportation
Breaking Down the Budget: Questions to Consider – City of Worcester & Worcester Public Schools FY2020

EACH YEAR on July 1, Massachusetts cities and towns must implement a new budget. The City of Worcester’s Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) budget takes effect on July 1, 2020.

October 9, 2019finance series-bttb
Questions for the 2019 Candidates for City Council and School Committee in Worcester

This publication is intended to provide candidates and residents in Worcester, Massachusetts with questions for consideration on key topics impacting the community and government.

September 11, 2019civic-engagement series-qftc
The Implications of a Fare-Free WRTA

The Worcester Regional Transit Authority (WRTA), like many bus systems, suffers from low and declining ridership. There is research and evidence from other cities that going fare-free – not merely lowering fares, but eliminating them entirely – is perhaps the most effective ridership-boosting tool available to bus systems.

May 22, 2019economic-development finance transportation
Worcester Almanac: 2019

The Worcester Regional Research Bureau is pleased to present the fifth annual Worcester Almanac—our compendium of information of all things Greater Worcester. A small, not-for-profit organization, The Research Bureau’s mission is to serve the public interest of Greater Worcester by conducting independent research and analysis of public policy issues to promote informed public debate and decision-making.

March 29, 2019worcester-almanac
Bureau Brief – Chapter 70 Reform

The Massachusetts Education Reform Act of 1993, codified under Chapter 70 of the Massachusetts General Laws, was adopted to ensure that every child in the Commonwealth had access to an adequately funded public school education.

March 21, 2019education finance
Choosing a Better Voting System: The Argument for Ranked Choice Voting in Worcester and Beyond

Ranked choice voting, or RCV, is a system that allows voters to indicate a preference not just for their first choice for an office, but for their second and third choices, and so on. Much like runoff elections, the system ensures that no one wins without more than 50 percent of the final vote.

February 28, 2019civic-engagement
Opportunity Zones in Worcester: Characteristics of Worcester’s Designated Areas

The Opportunity Zone program was created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. It provides tax deferments and forgiveness to investors who support projects in designated areas. This investment must come from capital gains and has multiple conditions attached in an effort to benefit, specific, low-income areas.

January 8, 2019economic-development housing
Bureau Brief: Worcester Housing Authority

The Worcester Housing Authority (WHA) has been providing affordable housing options to Worcester residents since 1949. Federal guidelines recommend that households spend no more than 30 percent of income on rental or mortgage payments.

December 21, 2018housing
Bureau Brief—Trash, Recycling, and Yard Waste Removal

From 1872 to 1932, trash removal in Worcester was the responsibility of over 8,000 pigs eating 10 tons of trash per day at the nation’s largest municipal piggery. Smell complaints ultimately forced the city to shut down the piggery and build an incinerator.

November 26, 2018finance municipal-operations
The Immigrant Entrepreneur in Worcester

The Research Bureau, as part of a partnership with the Worcester Business Journal, is pleased to present its latest report The Immigrant Entrepreneur in Worcester.

November 9, 2018economic-development
Tracking City Equipment: How Expanded GPS Monitoring Could Benefit Worcester

The Research Bureau is pleased to present its latest report: Tracking City Equipment: How Expanded GPS Monitoring Could Benefit Worcester.

October 30, 2018municipal-operations technology
City on the Move: An Overview and Assessment of Worcester’s Transportation Needs

A transportation center for centuries, Worcester has aggressively developed connections to the outside world. By land, air, and (if only for a few decades via the Blackstone Canal) by sea, Worcester has invested in the infrastructure necessary to move people and goods in and out of the city.

September 28, 2018municipal-operations transportation
Breaking Down the Budget: Questions to Consider, City of Worcester & Worcester Public Schools FY2019

EACH YEAR on July 1, Massachusetts cities and towns must implement a new budget. The City of Worcester’s Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) budget took effect on July 1, 2018.

August 21, 2018finance series-bttb
The Community Preservation Act

The Massachusetts Community Preservation Act (CPA) authorizes municipalities to apply a surcharge on property taxes to generate funds for open space, historic preservation, affordable housing, and outdoor recreation.

June 22, 2018economic-development municipal-operations
Worcester Almanac: 2018

The Research Bureau is pleased to present The Worcester Almanac.  Now in its fourth edition, it is a  compendium of information of all things Greater Worcester. The Worcester Almanac offers information on local government, demographics, the economy, public safety, education, health, arts and culture, and much, much more.

April 2, 2018worcester-almanac
Brokering a New Lease: Capturing the Value of State Offices for Massachusetts

Boston’s economic boom has been a boon for developers and landlords, as an influx of businesses means more demand for office space and a corresponding rise in rents. Among those organizations fighting for space downtown is the state government, which leases offices across the state for its various department and agencies, but concentrates 35 percent of that square footage in the City of Boston.

March 19, 2018economic-development
To Protect Lives and Property: The Role of the Worcester Fire Department in Emergency Medical Services

The Research Bureau is pleased to present its latest report To Protect Lives and Property: The Role of the Worcester Fire Department in Emergency Medical Services. The job of a firefighter has changed dramatically since the Worcester Fire Department (WFD) was established in 1835.

February 13, 2018finance health municipal-operations public-safety
Minimizing Risk: The Implications of a $15 Minimum Wage for Worcester

The Research Bureau is pleased to present its latest report Minimizing Risk: The Implications of a $15 Minimum Wage for Worcester. While there is evidence both for and against an increased minimum wage from states and cities across the country, this report examines the potential local impact of a change on Worcester and offers thoughts on how the minimum wage can best serve the local economy and populace.

January 18, 2018economic-development
Foreclosure in the City of Worcester

The Research Bureau is pleased to present its latest report Foreclosure in the City of Worcester. This report explores Worcester’s recent experience with foreclosures and offers insights into the process. Foreclosure is a necessary part of a real estate market. Yet efforts must be made to limit its impact on households and neighborhoods alike.

October 4, 2017housing
Breaking Down the Budget: Questions to Consider, City of Worcester & Worcester Public Schools FY2018

EACH YEAR on July 1, Massachusetts cities and towns must implement a new budget. The City of Worcester’s Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) budget takes effect on July 1, 2018. Municipal budgets must balance—expenditures cannot exceed revenues.

October 2, 2017finance series-bttb
Bureau Brief – Urban Design

A well-designed city, or district within a city, draws residents and visitors into public spaces, building community and supporting businesses and economic development. Many cities recognize the value of good design, but their degree of commitment and capacity for planning and regulation, as well as the level of community concern and participation, vary greatly.

September 18, 2017municipal-operations
Questions for the 2017 Candidates for City Council and School Committee in Worcester

In preparation for the upcoming elections for Mayor, City Council, and School Committee, The Research Bureau has prepared a set of questions for the candidates. The questions cover a broad range of issues and are meant to challenge the candidates and the public to think about key issues facing the City today and in the coming years.

September 7, 2017civic-engagement series-qftc
How Am I Doing?” Municipal Employee Performance Evaluations

This report explores national studies and local practices, resulting in a series of recommendations for Greater Worcester cities and towns on the adoption and implementation of an employee evaluation system.

July 10, 2017municipal-operations
A Research Bureau Policy Alternative: Tax Rates

In order to further the Worcester City Council’s deliberations on tax policy, The Research Bureau is pleased to present a White Paper on criteria for consideration in preparation of annual tax rate determinations and alternatives to secure a more equitable single tax rate.

May 23, 2017finance
Worcester Almanac: 2017

The Worcester Regional Research Bureau is pleased to present the third annual Worcester Almanac—our compendium of information of all things Greater Worcester. A small, not-for-profit organization, The Research Bureau’s mission is to serve the public interest of Greater Worcester by con-ducting independent research and analysis of public policy issues to promote informed public debate and decision-making.

March 29, 2017worcester-almanac
Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB): Holding Government Liable

In Massachusetts, state and local government retirees are eligible for pension and other post-employment benefits (OPEB), such as health care. Since these obligations are accrued daily but not due for decades in some cases, policymakers discount the cost and ultimately push the expense onto future generations.

February 28, 2017finance municipal-operations
Bureau Brief — Tax Increment Financing

In Massachusetts, municipalities have limited tools to entice businesses to locate and expand in a weak marketplace. The most frequently used alternative is the Economic Development Incentive Program (EDIP) and its tax increment financing (TIF) initiative.

January 31, 2017finance
Tax Classification: Passing the Buck$

Since 1984, the City of Worcester has set residents against businesses in an annual duel over property tax rates. As municipal budgets continue to grow, a zero-sum game exists in which a decrease in taxes on one property class necessitates an increase in taxes on another.

November 15, 2016finance
Parking in Worcester: Left by the Curb

With over 5,000 public parking spaces in Downtown Worcester, parking – and its location, condition, design, and cost – is an important concern of municipal government. Parking in Worcester: Left by the Curb urges the City to elevate the discussion of parking by creating a Parking Division that reports directly to the Commissioner of Public Works & Parks.

June 30, 2016municipal-operations
Breaking Down the Budget: Questions to Consider, City of Worcester & Worcester Public Schools FY2017

The Research Bureau offers its annual Breaking Down the Budget: Questions to Consider – a summary and analysis of the City of Worcester and Worcester Public Schools Fiscal Year 2017 Budgets, which go into effect on July 1, 2016.

June 28, 2016finance series-bttb
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed into law by President Barack Obama in December of 2015 and reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) first signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965. Like its predecessors, ESSA provides federal funding for elementary and secondary school students, emphasizes equal opportunity to learning, and sets high standards for achievement and accountability.

April 11, 2016education finance
The Massachusetts Foundation Budget

This primer is drawn from and summarizes the key findings and recommendations of the Foundation Budget Review Commission. The report, issued 30 October 2015, represents more than a year of work by the 21 members of the Commission. Members and staff of the Commission are noted in Appendix B.

April 11, 2016education finance
Worcester Almanac: 2016

The Research Bureau is pleased to present the 2016 Worcester Almanac, the second edition of this annual compendium of information about Greater Worcester. The Almanac offers information on local government, demographics, the economy, public safety, education, health, arts and culture, and much, much more. We look closely at the current state of our region as well as some of the trends that have led us here.

March 31, 2016worcester-almanac
Bureau Brief—Talent Retention 2016

The City of Worcester and the surrounding communities are home to 12 colleges and over 30,000 college students, giving Greater Worcester a built-in advantage in attracting and retaining a highly talented and educated workforce—a necessary component of successful economic development.

March 31, 2016economic-development
Bureau Brief—Open Government in Massachusetts

In honor of Sunshine Week, The Research Bureau offers a brief overview of public access to government in Massachusetts and considerations for improvement.

March 21, 2016municipal-operations
Bureau Brief—Worcester Regional Airport (ORH)

Worcester Regional Airport, airport code ORH, was founded in 1946 as a municipal airport. Over the years it has enjoyed periods of great success, peaking at 354,000 passenger enplanements in 1989, and periods of quiescence with the departure of major national airlines in the late 1990s.

February 16, 2016transportation
The Urgency of Excellence: Considerations for the School Committee and New Superintendent of Schools in Worcester

The Urgency of Excellence: Considerations for the School Committee and New Superintendent of Schools in Worcester is a report of the Worcester Education Collaborative (WEC) and Worcester Regional Research Bureau (WRRB).

January 12, 2016administration education
Bureau Brief—Massachusetts Comprehensive Permit Act—Chapter 40B

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 40B was adopted in 1969 as part of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Permit Act to encourage and facilitate the building of affordable, long term housing for low-income individuals and families across the Commonwealth and to ensure that low-income residents can remain in their localities if housing costs increase.

November 23, 2015housing
Bureau Brief — Park Conservancies

The City of Worcester is home to a significant number of public parklands, but available funding has not kept pace with park expansion and needed maintenance. This brief reviews the potential of park conservancies – private non-profit entities that assume management and maintenance of public parklands – to improve Worcester’s signature parks and create new opportunities for public engagement.

November 9, 2015municipal-operations
Breaking Down the Budget: Questions to Consider, City of Worcester & Worcester Public Schools FY16

Each July 1, the City of Worcester and Worcester Public Schools begin a new fiscal year. Who sets the priorities and how is the budget developed? How much money are we really talking? Read Breaking Down the Budget: Questions to Consider to improve your understanding of the City’s FY16 budget.

September 8, 2015finance series-bttb
Questions for the 2015 Candidates for City Council and School Committee in Worcester

In preparation for the upcoming elections for Mayor, City Council, and School Committee, The Research Bureau has prepared a set of questions for the candidates. The questions cover a broad range of issues and are meant to challenge the candidates and the public to think about key issues facing the City today and in the coming years.

September 4, 2015elections series-qftc
Bureau Brief — Flag Etiquette

Continental Congress—June 14, 1777
Resolved, That the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white: that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.

July 2, 2015civic-engagement
Bureau Brief—Community Dialogues on Race—Economic Development

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the City of Worcester has a population of 181,901 residents, making it the 129th largest city in the United States and the 2nd largest city in New England.

June 30, 2015economic-development series-community-dialogues-on-race
Bureau Brief—Community Dialogues on Race—Youth & Education

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median age of Worcester residents is 33.6 years old. The median age of Massachusetts is 39.2 and the median age of the United States is 37.3.

June 30, 2015education series-community-dialogues-on-race
Bureau Brief—Community Dialogues on Race—Public Safety

Research in the Public Interest.

June 11, 2015public-safety series-community-dialogues-on-race
Bureau Brief—Community Dialogues on Race—Representative Government

The City of Worcester, as established by the City Charter, is known as a modified Plan E form of government which is a Council-Manager form of government with a popularly elected Mayor. The Worcester Public Schools is a quasi-independent department of the City.

June 1, 2015municipal-operations series-community-dialogues-on-race
Bureau Brief – Immigrants & Refugees in Worcester

Over the years, Worcester has been home to many foreign-born residents. Since 1980, the City has experienced a renewal in the arrival of immigrants and refugees.

May 27, 2015municipal-operations
Bureau Brief—Worcester’s Unfunded OPEB Liability

The City of Worcester, like most municipalities, has struggled with outstanding pension and other post-employment benefit (OPEB) liabilities. While the City is engaged on a plan to fund its pension obligations by 2032, there is no plan in place to address the more than $727 million owed for OPEB, which mainly consists of retiree health care costs.

April 23, 2015finance municipal-operations
Don’t Boo. Just Remember to Vote.

While citizen participation is the basis for a strong democracy, key indicators illustrate a troubling trend for civic engagement in the City of Worcester. Low voter turnout, limited competition for local elected offices, and lackluster interest in serving on local boards and commissions indicate a disconnect between residents and local government. At Worcester Technical High School’s June 2014 Commencement Exercises President Barack Obama challenged the crowd with “Don’t Boo. Just Remember to Vote.”

April 21, 2015civic-engagement
Bureau Brief—The Role of the Media in Civic Life

The media plays a critical role in society, recording history, delivering information, analyzing issues, and highlighting the use and abuse of power. It is a vehicle for sharing, and debating, public opinions. Yet newspapers and other forms of media are also a business.

April 8, 2015civic-engagement
Bureau Brief—Non-Profits and Municipal Authority

Non-profit organizations are recognized as important elements in a community’s social, cultural, educational, and civic framework. As such, they are given unique rights under both Federal and State law. These rights exempt them from certain municipal regulations and obligations. Our latest Bureau Brief – Non-Profits and Municipal Authority reviews a non-profit’s exceptional status when it comes to local control.

February 27, 2015municipal-operations
Worcester Almanac: 2015

Beginning in 2015, The Research Bureau will provide the Greater Worcester community with an annual compendium of information about the City and the region. The Worcester Almanac: 2015 is the inaugural effort to capture key data points about the area.

February 12, 2015worcester-almanac
The Changing City – Starting a Conversation

Worcester’s population is changing. Since 1950, Worcester’s non-white population has grown substantially, fueled in part by immigration from South America, Africa, and Asia. Nearly 20% of Worcester’s residents reside in linguistically isolated households, meaning all members of the household age 14 or over have at least some difficulty speaking English.

November 5, 2014
Bureau Brief—The Changing City—Starting a Conversation

As a Massachusetts “Gateway City,” Worcester has welcomed residents from diverse backgrounds for decades. Prior to 1950, most new residents were born in or descended from European countries. Since 1950, the city began to attract greater numbers of residents from South America, Africa, and Asia. How has the face of Worcester changed over the last few decades? How has civic life changed as a result of the influx of new cultures? Or has it?

November 1, 2014
Charting Worcester’s Course

Under the City Charter, the City of Worcester has a modified Plan E form of government. As the City welcomes a new city manager, some have argued that the structure of Worcester government should change. “Charting Worcester’s Course” outlines the process necessary to revise the City Charter.

October 20, 2014administration
Bureau Brief—Urban Renewal

As the Worcester Redevelopment Authority and City of Worcester consider the establishment of a new urban renewal plan focused on the Downtown, the Research Bureau offers Bureau Brief – Urban Renewal to inform policymakers and the public of the role of the Worcester Redevelopment Authority and the powers of urban renewal.

September 3, 2014economic-development
Central Massachusetts Talent Retention Project: A Survey of the Class of 2014

In the 2014 school year, over 7,500 students graduated from 12 Greater Worcester colleges and universities. These graduates represent a broad range of academic credentials and professional interests.

August 27, 2014economic-development
MEETING NOTES from The Research Bureau

Unable to attend our 2014 Annual Meeting? Read our Bureau Notes to learn what you missed.

June 5, 2014municipal-operations
Breaking Down the Budget: Questions to Consider, City of Worcester & Worcester Public Schools FY15

Each July 1, the City of Worcester and Worcester Public Schools begin a new fiscal year. Who sets the priorities and how is the budget developed?

June 1, 2014finance series-bttb
Toward a Common Understanding of the Common Core

The current debate about educational standards and assessments has forced government officials, educators, parents, and students to take a serious look at the American education system and evaluate what students should know in order to be prepared for college and careers in the global economy.

May 1, 2014education
Bureau Brief—The City Manager Search Process

In support of the City Council’s efforts to identify and hire a permanent city manager, The Research Bureau provides this Bureau Brief – The City Manager Search Process, an update to prior reports on best practices for recruiting a city manager.

April 1, 2014administration
Bureau Brief—The Common Core State Standards

The Research Bureau is pleased to release its latest Bureau Brief – a short overview of the Common Core state educational standards.

April 1, 2014education
Worcester by the Numbers: Public and Charter Schools

This report, the fourth in our series Worcester by the Numbers, provides important data on the Worcester Public Schools and Charter Schools, including demographics, teacher salaries, test scores, graduation rates, and expenditures.

January 1, 2014education series-worcester-by-the-numbers
Questions for the 2013 Candidates for City Council and School Committee in Worcester

In preparation for the upcoming elections for mayor, city council and school committee, The Research Bureau has prepared a set of questions for the candidates.

October 1, 2013elections series-qftc
Worcester by the Numbers: Housing and Land Use

This report, the third in our series Worcester by the Numbers, provides detailed data on the housing market, land use, and property taxes.

July 31, 2013economic-development housing series-worcester-by-the-numbers
Worcester’s FY14 Budget: Making Ends Meet

This report looks at Worcester’s FY14 budget of $563 million and suggest how Worcester can continue to balance its budget while facing increasing school, healthcare, and pension system costs.

June 1, 2013finance
Worcester by the Numbers: Economy and Jobs

This report, the second in our series Worcester by the Numbers, is generously underwritten by MassDevelopment, and focuses on Worcester’s economy and jobs during the past decade. It provides data on industries that are growing and shrinking, unemployment, wages, and number of establishments by industry.

May 21, 2013economic-development series-worcester-by-the-numbers
A Prescription for Retiree Health Care: How Worcester can vanquish its OPEB liability while keeping its workforce happy and healthy

This report addresses a crisis local governments are facing across the nation: how to pay for OPEB – “other post-employment benefits” that were promised to retirees in better fiscal times.

April 1, 2013finance health municipal-operations
Should Worcester Welcome a Slot-Machine Casino?

This report, which examines the operations and potential effects of the slots industry on the City of Worcester, was undertaken because Worcester has been designated as the preferred site for a slot-machine casino by Mass Gaming LLC, a subsidiary of Rush Gaming.

March 1, 2013economic-development
Worcester’s Demographic Trends: 2010 Census

This report analyzes Worcester’s demographic, education, employment, income, and other trends based on data from the 2010 Census. The data indicate fairly substantial changes in the City’s population over the past couple of decades measured by a number of different indicators.

February 11, 2013economic-development
Academically Selective High Schools: Should Worcester Public Schools Have One?

This report analyzes the pros and cons of academically selective high schools to determine whether the Worcester Public Schools (WPS) should establish one.

December 1, 2012education
Fare Play? Regulating Worcester’s Livery Vehicles and Taxis

This report discusses the regulations of Worcester’s livery vehicles and taxis.

October 1, 2012economic-development
Worcester’s FY13 Budget: Post-Recession Observations

This report offers a number of observations on Worcester’s FY13 municipal budget of $542 million.

June 1, 2012finance
Benchmarking Public Safety in Worcester: 2012

This report looks at recent performance trends in Worcester’s police department, fire department, and emergency medical services.

May 1, 2012public-safety series-benchmarking-worcester
Benchmarking Economic Development in Worcester: 2012

This report, generously underwritten by MassDevelopment, examines the economic health of the city and region from a variety of angles such as the tax base and the labor and housing markets.

March 21, 2012economic-development series-benchmarking-worcester
Worcester Settles with its Unions: A Review

This report examines the settlements that Worcester reached with its major collective bargaining units in spring 2011.

November 1, 2011municipal-operations
Downtown Worcester Office Occupancy: 2011 Survey

The Research Bureau’s annual analysis of office occupancy rates in downtown Worcester and detailed listing of office space available for lease.

October 27, 2011economic-development series-office-space-occupancy
Questions for the 2011 Candidates for City Council and School Committee in Worcester

In preparation for the upcoming elections for mayor, city council and school committee, The Research Bureau has prepared a set of questions for the candidates.

September 1, 2011elections series-qftc
Benchmarking Municipal and Neighborhood Services in Worcester: 2011

This report describes the performance of several municipal agencies including the Department of Public Works and Parks, the Department of Inspectional Services, and the Worcester Public Library, as well as measuring residents’ level of civic engagement.

July 6, 2011municipal-operations series-benchmarking-worcester
10 Questions about Worcester’s FY12 Budget

In an effort to explain the major fiscal challenges that Worcester and every other community in the Commonwealth faces in FY12, and how they have been addressed, The Research Bureau presents answers to ten key questions about the City’s budget.

June 7, 2011finance
EPA Stormwater Regulations in Worcester: Will Ratepayers be Drained?

This report examines the controversy over Worcester’s next stormwater discharge permit from the EPA.

May 18, 2011municipal-operations
Worcester’s Bond Rating and the Recession: What’s the City’s Credit Score?

How is a bond rating for a municipality determined? Have Worcester’s borrowing costs gone up or down in the current volatile municipal bond market?

January 27, 2011finance
Downtown Worcester Office Occupancy: 2010 Survey

Annual analysis of downtown office occupancy rates in Worcester’s Central Business District and detailed listing of office space available for lease. Detailed Property Listing (Appendix …

December 17, 2010economic-development
Teachers’ Compensation Package + Worcester’s Finances = Do They Add Up?

In order to clarify what’s at stake in the stalemated contract negotiations between the Worcester School Committee and the Education Association of Worcester, this report analyzes the total compensation package for teachers under the current contract, as well as the financial condition of the Worcester Public Schools and the City.

December 10, 2010education
Benchmarking Economic Development in Worcester: 2010

This report, generously underwritten by MassDevelopment, contains updated information for the following performance indicators: the value of the City’s tax base, property tax rates, new construction values, employment and labor force growth, the downtown office occupancy rate, and vacant and abandoned properties.

November 24, 2010economic-development series-benchmarking-worcester
Benchmarking Public Education in Worcester: 2010

This report examines student, school, and district performance in relation to the standards implemented under the Massachusetts Education Reform Act of 1993 and the Federal No Child Left Behind legislation signed into law in 2002 in an effort to close the achievement gap between subgroups of students.

October 25, 2010education series-benchmarking-worcester
Mayor’s Task Force on Job Growth and Business Retention: Task Force Report to Mayor Joseph O’Brien

In April of 2010, Mayor Joseph C. O‘Brien assembled a 36-member Task Force on Job Growth and Business Retention to address growing concerns regarding the City of Worcester‘s ability to provide its citizens with jobs that pay a living wage.

August 9, 2010economic-development finance
Benchmarking Public Safety in Worcester: 2010

This report measures the performance of Worcester’s police department, fire department, and ambulance/emergency medical services.

July 26, 2010public-safety series-benchmarking-worcester
Worcester Regional Airport Positioned for Take-Off

After advocating for many years the sale or lease of Worcester Regional Airport to Massport, The Research Bureau is pleased to endorse the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the City and Massport for the transfer of the facility.

June 1, 2010transportation
Worcester’s FY11 Budget and Fiscal Crisis: No End in Sight

This report reviews the City Manager’s FY11 budget.

June 1, 2010finance
Benchmarking Municipal and Neighborhood Services in Worcester: 2010

This report describes the performance of several municipal agencies including the Department of Public Works and Parks, the Department of Inspectional Services, and the Worcester Public Library, as well as measuring residents’ level of civic engagement.

March 29, 2010municipal-operations series-benchmarking-worcester
Race to the Top: What’s the Winning Strategy?

This report discusses the criteria for states to compete successfully in the Obama administration’s Race to the Top Program for public schools.

December 10, 2009education
Benchmarking Economic Development in Worcester: 2009

This report, generously underwritten by MassDevelopment, contains updated information for the following performance indicators: the value of the City’s tax base, property tax rates, new construction values, employment and labor force growth, the downtown office occupancy rate, and vacant, abandoned, and foreclosed properties.

November 24, 2009economic-development series-benchmarking-worcester
Downtown Worcester Office Occupancy: 2009 Survey

Annual analysis of downtown office occupancy rates in Worcester’s Central Business District and detailed listing of office space available for lease.

November 1, 2009economic-development series-office-space-occupancy
Worcester Public School Facts

October 1, 2009education
Municipal Elections in Worcester 2009: Questions for the Candidates

In preparation for the upcoming municipal elections in Worcester, The Research Bureau has prepared a set of questions for the candidates.

September 24, 2009civic-engagement series-qftc
Benchmarking Public Education in Worcester: 2009

This report examines student, school, and district performance in relation to the standards implemented under the Massachusetts Education Reform Act of 1993 and the Federal No Child Left Behind legislation signed into law in 2002 in an effort to close the achievement gap between subgroups of students.

August 1, 2009education series-benchmarking-worcester
Benchmarking Municipal Finance in Worcester 2009: Factors Affecting the City’s Bond Rating

This report discusses the significance of bond ratings for a municipality’s financial well-being and examines seven indicators of municipal fiscal health that are key determinants of a municipality’s bond rating.

July 27, 2009finance series-benchmarking-worcester
Massachusetts Pension Reform: What was accomplished? What remains to be done?

This report summarizes the most egregious public employee pension abuses that were eliminated by the recently-passed Massachusetts Pension Reform Act, but goes on to list the more costly problems with the system which are in need of reform.

July 9, 2009finance municipal-operations
“Public Employee Pensions: Is it Time to Retire the System?”

In his 2009 State of the State address, Governor Patrick acknowledged “abuses” in Massachusetts’ public pension system and “special benefits for a select few,” and called for “meaningful pension reform this [legislative] session.”

June 1, 2009finance municipal-operations
Worcester’s FY10 Budget: Challenges and Opportunities for Reform

This report, produced annually, reviews the City Manager’s FY10 budget.

May 7, 2009finance
Benchmarking Public Safety in Worcester: 2009

This report measures the performance of Worcester’s police department, fire department, and ambulance/emergency medical services.

May 1, 2009public-safety series-benchmarking-worcester
Public Employee Pensions: Is it Time to Retire the System?

This report examines the public pension system in Worcester and Massachusetts.

March 30, 2009finance municipal-operations
Measuring Downtown Worcester’s “Curb Appeal:” ComNET Results

This report complements The Research Bureau’s recently-released report, “What’s Up With Downtown Worcester?: Prospects for Revitalization.” Discussed are the results of the Downtown ComNET (Computerized Neighborhood Environment Tracking) survey, which tracks the physical condition of a neighborhood, including streets, sidewalks, and buildings.

December 12, 2008public-safety transportation
What’s Up With Downtown Worcester?: Prospects for Revitalization

This report discusses the progress that downtown Worcester has made over the last decade and the projects proposed for the near future. After assessing certain challenges to revitalization, The Research Bureau makes some recommendations about how to strengthen the prospects for further progress in downtown Worcester.

December 11, 2008economic-development
Benchmarking Economic Development in Worcester: 2008

This report, generously underwritten by MassDevelopment, contains updated information for the following performance indicators: the value of the City’s tax base, property tax rates, new construction values, employment and labor force growth, the downtown office occupancy rate, and vacant, abandoned, and foreclosed properties.

November 24, 2008economic-development series-benchmarking-worcester
Downtown Worcester Office Occupancy: 2008 Survey

Annual analysis of downtown office occupancy rates in Worcester’s Central Business District and detailed listing of office space available for lease.

October 1, 2008economic-development series-office-space-occupancy
Benchmarking Municipal Finance in Worcester 2008: Factors Affecting the City’s Bond Rating

This report discusses the significance of bond ratings for a municipality’s financial well-being and examines seven indicators of municipal fiscal health that are key determinants of a municipality’s bond rating.

September 25, 2008finance series-benchmarking-worcester
Maintaining Municipal Parks: Thinking Outside the Picnic Basket

This report discusses the challenge the City faces in maintaining its parks and recreational facilities during a time of budget cuts and decreasing revenues.

August 8, 2008municipal-operations
Choosing a New School Superintendent to Address Worcester’s Challenges

This report discusses the challenges facing the next Superintendent of the Worcester Public Schools.

June 30, 2008education
Worcester’s FY09 Budget: Continuing the Reform Agenda

This report, produced annually, reviews the City Manager’s FY10 budget.

May 8, 2008finance
“Where have all the bidders gone?”

In recent years, there have been several public construction projects that the City of Worcester put out to bid for which very few bidders responded, and the costs associated with those bids have generally exceeded the City’s estimates.

April 1, 2008economic-development
Benchmarking Public Education in Worcester: 2008

This report examines student, school, and district performance in relation to the standards implemented under the Massachusetts Education Reform Act of 1993 and the Federal No Child Left Behind legislation signed into law in 2002 in an effort to close the achievement gap between subgroups of students.

March 1, 2008education series-benchmarking-worcester
Where Have All the Bidders Gone?: The Impact of “Responsibility” on Public Construction

The report examines why the City of Worcester receives so few bids on public construction projects and why those bids frequently have projected costs in excess of the City’s estimates.

February 25, 2008economic-development
Benchmarking Municipal and Neighborhood Services in Worcester: 2007

Sixth report describing the performance of several municipal agencies including the Department of Public Works and Parks, the Divisions of Housing and Code Enforcement, and the Worcester Public Library, as well as measuring residents’ level of civic engagement.

December 1, 2007municipal-operations series-benchmarking-worcester
Casino Gambling in Worcester: The Case For and Against

This report considers the potential advantages and disadvantages of casino gambling for Worcester and the region.

October 18, 2007economic-development
Benchmarking Economic Development in Worcester: 2007

This report contains updated information for the following performance indicators: the value of the City’s tax base, property tax rates, new construction values, employment and labor force growth, the downtown office occupancy rate, and vacant and abandoned buildings.

October 1, 2007economic-development series-benchmarking-worcester
Benchmarking Public Safety in Worcester: 2007

Fifth report measuring the performance of Worcester’s police department, fire department, and ambulance/emergency medical services.

October 1, 2007public-safety series-benchmarking-worcester
Downtown Worcester Office Occupancy: 2007 Survey

This report discusses the progress that downtown Worcester has made over the last decade and the projects proposed for the near future. After assessing certain challenges to revitalization, The Research Bureau makes some recommendations about how to strengthen the prospects for further progress in downtown Worcester.

September 1, 2007economic-development
Cutting to the Core: Rethinking Municipal Services in FY08 and Beyond

This report discusses the significance of bond ratings for a municipality’s financial well-being and examines seven indicators of municipal fiscal health that are key determinants of a municipality’s bond rating.

May 24, 2007finance
Benchmarking Municipal Finance in Worcester: Factors Affecting the City’s Bond Rating

This report examines six indicators of municipal fiscal health that are key determinants of a municipality’s bond rating.

May 22, 2007finance series-benchmarking-worcester
Improving Student Performance Under Education Reform: Practices In Urban Schools

This report examines the human and financial resources available to educate Worcester Public Schools students as well as student performance since the passage of the Massachusetts Education Reform Act (MERA) of 1993.

May 14, 2007education
Benchmarking Public Education in Worcester: 2007

This report examines student, school, and district performance in relation to the standards implemented under the Massachusetts Education Reform Act of 1993 and the Federal No Child Left Behind legislation signed into law in 2002 in an effort to close the achievement gap between subgroups of students.

April 1, 2007education series-benchmarking-worcester
Voluntary Contributions to the City of Springfield by its Private Colleges: Findings and Suggestions

This report examines the value and nature of tax-exempt property in Springfield, the financial health of the City and the individual colleges, the services and benefits provided by the colleges to Springfield and its residents, the municipal services that the colleges use, as well as describing PILOT programs (and state local aid programs) in Massachusetts and elsewhere.

March 19, 2007economic-development
Citizen Satisfaction with Municipal Services and Quality of Life in Worcester: 2006 Survey

Annual survey of citizen satisfaction with municipal services.

February 1, 2007civic-engagement municipal-operations
Cable TV: Get With the Program

Analyzes the City of Worcester’s cable contract with Charter Communications and examines cable licenses in 14 other cities.

December 7, 2006municipal-operations technology
Benchmarking Economic Development in Worcester: 2006

Sixth annual report tracking economic development in Worcester.

November 1, 2006economic-development series-benchmarking-worcester
Dial 911: Whose Call Is It, Anyway?

Analyzes first response to medical emergencies in Worcester and 35 other cities nationwide.

October 3, 2006public-safety
Benchmarking Municipal and Neighborhood Services in Worcester: 2006

Fifth report describing the performance of several municipal agencies including the Department of Public Works and Parks, Division of Code Enforcement, and the Worcester Public Library, as well as measuring residents’ level of civic engagement.

October 1, 2006municipal-operations series-benchmarking-worcester
Downtown Worcester Office Occupancy: 2006 Survey

Annual analysis of downtown office occupancy rates in Worcester’s Central Business District and detailed listing of office space available for lease.

September 1, 2006economic-development series-office-space-occupancy
Benchmarking Public Safety in Worcester: 2006

Fourth report measuring the performance of Worcester’s police, fire, and ambulance/emergency medical services.

September 1, 2006public-safety series-benchmarking-worcester
Measures of Economic Health: Springfield vs. Worcester

This analysis, prepared for the Springfield Finance Control Board, examines a wide range of factors related to the rate of tax base growth in Springfield and Worcester, including: population characteristics; property values, tax rates, new growth, and tax levies; labor force and labor market characteristics; housing prices; and public safety/crime trends.

July 1, 2006economic-development
Citizen Satisfaction with Municipal Services and Quality of Life in Worcester: 2005 Survey

Annual survey of citizen satisfaction with municipal services.

June 1, 2006civic-engagement municipal-operations
How Can Worcester Insure its Fiscal Health in FY07 and Beyond?

Suggestions for addressing projected budget shortfalls through cost controls, restructuring services, and increasing revenues.

May 16, 2006finance
Talent Retention Project: Central Massachusetts

Identifies correlations between talent retention and economic prosperity in the region.

May 1, 2006economic-development
Destination Worcester: What’s the “Convention-al Wisdom?”

Analysis of and recommendations for attracting more multi-day conventions and events to Worcester.

March 27, 2006economic-development
Benchmarking Public Education in Worcester: 2006

This report documents Worcester’s performance along several measures including attendance and dropout rates, student mobility, family involvement, post-graduate placement, and MCAS scores.

March 1, 2006education series-benchmarking-worcester
Reorganizing Public Safety Functions: Considerations For and Against

At the request of the Worcester City Council, The Research Bureau prepared a study on the advantages and disadvantages of organizing public safety functions into a consolidated department of public safety.

December 15, 2005municipal-operations public-safety
Downtown Worcester Office Occupancy Survey 2005

Annual analysis of downtown office occupancy rates in Worcester’s Central Business District.

December 1, 2005economic-development
Benchmarking Economic Development in Worcester: 2005

Fifth annual report benchmarking economic development in Worcester.

November 1, 2005economic-development series-benchmarking-worcester
Siting Residential Social Service Programs: The Process and the Options

Examines the impact of siting minimally-supervised residential programs for those with substance abuse problems in residential neighborhoods.

October 3, 2005municipal-operations
Benchmarking Municipal and Neighborhood Services: 2005

Fourth annual report benchmarking municipal and neighborhood services.

October 1, 2005municipal-operations series-benchmarking-worcester
City Council Salaries and the Competitiveness of Elections: A Survey

Examines why the number of candidates running in Worcester elections has been declining since the 1980’s.

September 22, 2005civic-engagement finance
Benchmarking Youth Services in Worcester: 2005

Documents Worcester’s youth service program performance, including data from the Worcester Public Schools and local nonprofit institutions.

June 1, 2005series-benchmarking-worcester
The FY06 Budget: Are Increasing Taxes and Reducing Services the Only Options?

Describes Worcester’s cost reductions and municipal service improvements, and offers suggestions for additional improvements.

May 16, 2005finance
Benchmarking Public Safety in Worcester: 2005

Third report measuring the performance of Worcester’s police, fire, and ambulance/emergency medical services.

April 1, 2005public-safety series-benchmarking-worcester
Condition Serious, Prognosis Uncertain: The Impact of Municipal Employee Health Insurance in Massachusetts

Compares Worcester’s municipal health benefits with towns in the Worcester vicinity, 28 larger cities and towns in Massachusetts, regional and national averages, and data from private employers.

February 28, 2005finance health municipal-operations
Mayor vs. Manager: Does Form Affect Performance?

Are there any correlations between form of government and the level of economic health and vibrancy? How does this relate to Worcester?

December 13, 2004administration
Citizen Satisfaction with Municipal Services: 2004 Survey

Third annual survey of citizen satisfaction with municipal services.

December 1, 2004civic-engagement municipal-operations
Benchmarking Public Education in Worcester: 2004

This report documents the Worcester Public Schools’ performance along several measures including attendance and dropout rates, student mobility, family involvement, post-graduate placement, and MCAS scores.

November 1, 2004education series-benchmarking-worcester
Benchmarking Economic Development in Worcester: 2004

Fourth annual report benchmarking economic development in Worcester.

November 1, 2004economic-development series-benchmarking-worcester
Downtown Worcester Office Occupancy Survey 2004

Annual analysis of downtown office occupancy rates in Worcester’s Central Business District.

October 1, 2004economic-development series-office-space-occupancy
The Fire Department Arbitration Decision: Implications and Options

This report discusses the 2004 Worcester firefighters’ arbitration award, the financial implications for the City of Worcester, and the options available.

August 9, 2004municipal-operations
Benchmarking Municipal and Neighborhood Services: 2004

Third annual report benchmarking municipal and neighborhood services.

August 1, 2004municipal-operations series-benchmarking-worcester
Oh Manager, Where Art Thou? Best Practices for Selecting a City Manager

How to best select a city manager.

July 15, 2004administration
Worcester’s FY05 Budget: More Tough Questions

Worcester faces numerous financial challenges in its FY05 budget and beyond.

June 22, 2004finance
Respect for the Dead and Relief for the Budget: Can Privatization Improve Hope Cemetery?

Possible privatization of Hope Cemetery or its operations is examined.

June 3, 2004finance municipal-operations
Benchmarking Public Safety in Worcester: 2004

Second report measuring the performance of Worcester’s police, fire, and ambulance/emergency medical services.

June 1, 2004public-safety series-benchmarking-worcester
Benchmarking Youth Services in Worcester: 2004

Documents Worcester’s youth service program performance, including data from the Worcester Public Schools and local nonprofit institutions.

April 1, 2004series-benchmarking-worcester
Will PILOTs Fly in Worcester? Taxing Nonprofits and Other Options

This report examines the potential costs and benefits of a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) program in Worcester.

March 24, 2004finance
Job Flight from Worcester

This report examines the economic impact of the Worcester Airport’s decline.

January 16, 2004economic-development
The FY04 Budget: Did Worcester Make the Tough Choices?

Examines how Worcester closed its $20+ million dollar budget gap and compares those decisions with earlier Research Bureau recommendations.

January 15, 2004finance
Citizen Satisfaction with Municipal Services: 2003 Survey

This presents the full data from the 2003 CCPM survey of Worcester residents regarding their satisfaction with municipal services and includes comparisons with data from previous years.

December 1, 2003civic-engagement municipal-operations
Benchmarking Economic Development in Worcester: 2003

Third annual report benchmarking economic development in Worcester. Contains data on Worcester’s commercial and residential real estate market, as well as job market and labor force trends.

November 1, 2003economic-development series-benchmarking-worcester
Education Reform and Collective Bargaining: C for Compatibility

Evaluates current collective bargaining agreement between the Worcester School Committee and the Educational Association of Worcester on how well the contract harmonizes with education reform.

October 31, 2003education
Benchmarking Municipal and Neighborhood Services: 2003

Second annual report benchmarking municipal and neighborhood services.

October 1, 2003municipal-operations series-benchmarking-worcester
Downtown Worcester Office Occupancy 2003

Annual analysis of downtown office occupancy rates in Worcester’s Central Business District.

September 1, 2003economic-development series-office-space-occupancy
The Use and Abuse of User Fees and Charges

Discusses the various kinds of fees and charges for municipal services, their proper use, and the methods for calculating them.

June 19, 2003finance municipal-operations
Benchmarking Public Education in Worcester: 2003

This report documents the Worcester Public Schools’ performance along several measures including attendance and dropout rates, student mobility, family involvement, post-graduate placement, and MCAS scores.

June 1, 2003education series-benchmarking-worcester
Worcester’s Link to the Mass Pike: An Update on the Route 146 Connector

Discusses the progress of the construction of the Route 146 Connector over the past two years, as well as the project’s implications for Worcester and the surrounding region.

May 15, 2003transportation
Tough Choices for Tough Times: Worcester’s FY04 Budget

Discusses Worcester’s FY04 budget and proposes several options for reducing expenditures, including restructuring municipal employee health insurance and pension benefits, restructuring other public safety benefits, and reorganizing public safety departments.

March 27, 2003finance
The Role of Regional Planning Agencies in Facilitating Economic Development

After reviewing the work of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission in facilitating economic development in the Pioneer Valley, the Research Bureau encourages the Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission to implement several recommendations.

December 18, 2002economic-development
Benchmarking Economic Development in Worcester: 2002

Second annual report benchmarking economic development in Worcester.

November 1, 2002economic-development series-benchmarking-worcester
Benchmarking Municipal and Neighborhood Services: 2002

Data related to a variety of City services including those provided by the Department of Public Works, the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Cemetery, and the Worcester Public Library.

May 1, 2002municipal-operations series-benchmarking-worcester
Benchmarking Public Education in Worcester: 2002

This report documents the Worcester Public Schools’ performance along several measures including attendance and dropout rates, student mobility, family involvement, post-graduate placement, and MCAS scores.

February 1, 2002education series-benchmarking-worcester
CompStat and CitiStat: Should Worcester Adopt these Management Techniques?

Analysis of how the adoption of CompStat and CitiStat, two municipal management programs, in Worcester could lead to improved performance of municipal agencies and increased accountability.

February 18, 2003municipal-operations
Benchmarking Public Safety: 2003

Performance measurement data related to public safety services provided by the Worcester Police Department, Worcester Fire Department, and UMass Memorial EMS (Emergency Medical Services).

February 1, 2003public-safety series-benchmarking-worcester
Citizen Satisfaction with Municipal Services: 2002 Survey

This presents the full data from the 2002 CCPM survey of Worcester residents regarding their satisfaction with municipal services and includes comparisons with data from previous years.

February 1, 2003civic-engagement municipal-operations
Questions and Comments on Worcester’s Housing Market Study

An analysis of Worcester’s Housing Market Study, particularly examining its economic relevance and feasibility to the City of Worcester.

November 18, 2002housing
The Case for a Regional Economic Development Alliance in the Greater Worcester Area

Recommendation for a private sector-initiated organization in the southern part of Worcester County to be called the Worcester Regional Economic Development Alliance (WREDA).

October 7, 2002economic-development
2000 Census: Income and Educational Attainment in Worcester and the Region

This report compares Census 2000 income and education data for Worcester to surrounding communities and other northeastern cities.

October 1, 2002education
Downtown Worcester Office Occupancy: 2002 Survey

Annual analysis of downtown office occupancy rates in Worcester’s Central Business District.

September 1, 2002economic-development series-office-space-occupancy
Addressing the Projected Budget Shortfall in FY03

In order to address Worcester’s FY03 anticipated budget shortfall, cost reductions and fundamental changes in the delivery of municipal services are …

April 29, 2002finance
A Guide to Regional Organizations in the Greater Worcester Area

Basic information on the 49 organizations that provide regional services in central Massachusetts.

March 1, 2002economic-development
The Worcester Regional Transit Authority: Problems and Options

This report argues that the Worcester Regional Transit Authority faces serious problems and must adopt more cost-effective methods of operation in order to avoid substantial cuts in service.

January 8, 2002economic-development transportation
Proposed Vocational School: Facts and Figures

Facts about the proposed new vocational school facility.

November 1, 2001education
Benchmarking Economic Development in Worcester: 2001

First in a series of annual reports documenting trends in economic development in Worcester.

November 1, 2001economic-development series-benchmarking-worcester
The 2000 Census: A Preliminary Look at Worcester and the Region

Examines the recently released 2000 Census data for Worcester and the surrounding region.

October 5, 2001municipal-operations
The Use of Project Labor Agreements on Public Construction Projects: The Case For and Against

Examines use of Project Labor Agreements for public construction projects.

May 21, 2001economic-development
The Future of Public Housing in Worcester

The changing national landscape of public housing, in combination with recent administrative and other changes made by the Worcester Housing Authority (WHA), presents an opportunity to review public housing in Worcester and consider areas for improvement.

May 14, 2001housing
City Facing $5 Million Deficit in FY02: Taxes May Increase

In its yearly analysis of the City’s revenue and expenditure projections, the Research Bureau makes a number of recommendations to reduce expenditures and increase revenues.

April 24, 2001finance
Worcester’s Transportation Projects: An Update

An update on Worcester’s major transportation projects, including the Route 146 connector, the Worcester Regional Airport, and commuter rail service between Worcester and Boston.

January 30, 2001transportation
Proposals for Promoting Economic Development in Worcester

Discusses recent changes in Worcester’s approach to economic development and the opportunity they provide to strengthen both accountability and coordination between various economic development agencies.

September 27, 2000economic-development
Revitalizing Worcester’s Neighborhoods: Recommendations from Research Bureau Forums and Reports

In light of the deteriorating condition of many City neighborhoods and lack of a strategy to address these problems, the Research Bureau sponsored a series of forums on neighborhood revitalization in the Spring of 2000.

August 11, 2000economic-development
Observations on the City Manager’s FY01 Budget

Changes are needed to the FY01 budget in order to avoid higher taxes.

May 25, 2000finance
Municipal Employee Health Benefits: A Comparison with Other Communities

A review of municipal employee health benefit contributions paid by municipalities across the Commonwealth.

April 28, 2000finance municipal-operations
“Windshield Time” or “Wrench Time”: Some Proposals for Improving Worcester’s Fleet Management

Feasibility study on consolidating the City’s garages.

April 6, 2000municipal-operations
Connecting the Heart of the Commonwealth to the Hub of the Universe: Making the Case for Expanding Commuter Rail Service Between Worcester and Boston

Covers the benefits of expanded commuter rail service between Worcester and Boston on the Framingham line.

January 27, 2000transportation
The Feasibility of Air Charter Service at Worcester Airport

Examines the air-charter industry, the regional passenger market, and airfield facilities and indicates that Worcester Airport is favorably positioned to attract domestic air charter service.

December 3, 1999transportation
Proposals for Reducing Worcester’s Tax Rate

In order to reduce Worcester’s extraordinarily high tax rate, a hindrance to attracting and expanding commercial and industrial development, the Research Bureau urges City officials to adopt a policy of gradually reducing the commercial/industrial and residential tax rates over a period of years.

October 25, 1999finance
Observations on the City Manager’s FY00 Budget

This report contends that, in order to stimulate economic development, Worcester should focus on prudent financial management, develop a concrete plan for providing property tax relief, and foster a healthier economic climate.

May 28, 1999finance
The Feasibility of Air Cargo at Worcester Airport

Examines the possibility of air cargo at the Worcester airport.

May 19, 1999transportation
Considering Worcester’s Charter

Evaluates changing Worcester’s municipal charter from a council-manager form of government to a “strong mayor” form.

April 20, 1999administration
Proposals for Revitalizing Downtown Worcester

Drawing from the successes of 5 cities whose downtown areas face similar challenges to that of Worcester’s, this report recommendations specific steps to revitalize downtown Worcester.

January 19, 1999economic-development
Worcester’s Commercial/Industrial Property Tax Rates Top Comparable Cities and Surrounding Towns

Worcester’s tax rates are compared to similar and surrounding cities and towns.

January 1, 1999finance
Budget Busters Create Deficit in FY00

Recommends that Worcester takes steps to bring the budget under control, and ensure that annual expenditures be kept at or below the rate of inflation.

December 22, 1998finance
Revisiting Worcester’s Zoning Ordinance

This report discusses the role of Worcester’s zoning ordinance in stimulating development.

October 5, 1998economic-development
Spending & Education Reform in the Worcester Public Schools: A Status Report

This report discusses the Worcester Public Schools’ concerted effort to comply with the requirements of the Massachusetts Education Reform Act, and have demonstrated measurable improvement in a number of areas.

August 28, 1998education
Worcester’s Fire Department: Facts and Figures

Should the City Manager recommend a new class of firefighters at a time of budget constraints and a decreasing number of structure fires?

May 21, 1998finance municipal-operations public-safety
Should Worcester use the Green Hill Park Landfill for Street Sweepings and Catch Basin Materials?

Examines Worcester’s Department of Public Works’ cost-cutting proposal to place street sweepings and catch-basin waste on top of the existing landfill in Green Hill Park.

January 26, 1998municipal-operations
FY99 and Beyond: City’s Financial Difficulties Abound

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January 1, 1998finance
Farewell to Worcester County Government

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January 1, 1998administration
Facilitating the Cleanup and Development of Worcester’s Brownfield

Facilitating the Cleanup and Development of Worcester’s Brownfield.

November 19, 1997economic-development
Payments in Lieu of Taxes: Arguments For and Against

An overview of payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) programs, through which private, non profit organizations holding tax exempt properties make voluntary payments to the municipality in which they are located.

June 24, 1997economic-development
Distressed Property in Worcester: The Problems and the Options

Discusses Worcester’s distressed-property problems, such as abandoned buildings, property neglect and vacant lots, and their adverse social and economic impact on City neighborhoods.

April 11, 1997economic-development
Police and Fire Department Staffing: A Survey of Worcester and Eleven Other Communities

Examines data on police and fire department manpower and staffing practices for Worcester and several other cities of similar size.

March 17, 1997municipal-operations public-safety
Worcester Public Schools: Spending Priorities in FY98

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January 1, 1997education finance
Worcester Facing Critical Choices in FY98 Budget

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January 1, 1997finance
Should Nonprofit Organizations Make Payments in Lieu of Taxes?

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January 1, 1997finance
EMS in Worcester: Who Should Provide It?

December 19, 1996health municipal-operations public-safety
Worcester Fire Department Need Comprehensive Study

Recommends a comprehensive examination of the Worcester Fire Department.

March 26, 1996municipal-operations public-safety
Education Reform in Worcester: A Status Report on the First Three Years

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January 1, 1996education
The Future of Vocational Education In Worcester

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January 1, 1996education
The Role and Impact of Community Development Block Grants in Worcester

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January 1, 1996economic-development
Worcester’s Finances Problematic for FY97

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January 1, 1996finance
Community Policing Revisited

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January 1, 1996municipal-operations public-safety
The Future of Worcester Memorial Auditorium

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September 7, 1995administration finance
Emergency Communications & Dispatch: A Comparison of Worcester and Six Other Cities

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July 27, 1995municipal-operations public-safety
City’s Financial Outlook Remains Clouded for FY96

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April 12, 1995finance
Considering Regional Government for Worcester Part II: Proposals for Comprehensive Regional Governance

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April 3, 1995administration
Competing for Economic Development: What can Worcester do?

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March 8, 1995economic-development
Considering Regional Government for Worcester Part I: Interlocal Agreements

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November 30, 1994administration
The Effects of the Educational Reform Movement on Recent Teacher Contracts in Fifteen Cities

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October 28, 1994education
Civilian Review of the Police: The Case for and Against

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August 10, 1994civic-engagement municipal-operations public-safety
Community Policing: Pro and Con

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May 20, 1994municipal-operations public-safety
City’s Financial Outlook Clouded for FY95

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April 15, 1994finance
Worcester’s Department of Public works: An Assessment and Comparison with Other Cities

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March 4, 1994municipal-operations
Local Aid for Education: A Comparison of Worcester with 15 Massachusetts Communities

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September 13, 1993education
Selecting a City Manager: Facts and Procedures

May 28, 1993administration
The Future of Worcester Airport

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May 6, 1993transportation
More Reductions in Services Projected for FY94

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March 8, 1993finance municipal-operations
Understanding the Proposed Charter

What the proposed charter means to the City of Worcester.

September 28, 1992administration
Belmont Homes: Facts and Figures

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April 13, 1992finance health
City’s Financial Outlook Bleak for FY93

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March 2, 1992finance
Understanding the Results of the Non-binding Questions

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January 6, 1992civic-engagement
More Reductions in Services Projected for FY94

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January 1, 1992education
Recycling in Worcester: Some Proposals to Implement the Mandate

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January 1, 1992finance health municipal-operations
The Superintendent and Principal Selection Process: Planning Future Leadership in the Worcester Public Schools

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October 25, 1991administration education
Understanding the City Charter Question

On November 5, 1991, Worcester voters were asked the following non-binding question: “Do you support a change in the charter of city government to provide for an elected strong mayor in place of the city manager?”

October 25, 1991administration
The City Manager Evaluation Process: A Comparative Study

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October 4, 1991administration
FY92: Reduction in Revenues May Lead to 10% Cut in Services

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April 22, 1991finance municipal-operations
Changing Educational Mandates Can Save City $2 Million

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April 5, 1991education finance
Cutting Worcester’s Health Insurance Costs

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March 5, 1991finance municipal-operations
Worcester City Hospital, Part I and Part II

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December 11, 1990finance health
Survey of College/Public School Programs in Worcester

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April 9, 1990education
City Faces Potential Revenue Shortfall in FY91

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March 5, 1990finance
Preparing a Minority De-Isolation Plan For Worcester Public Schools: Some Facts and Figures

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November 20, 1989education
Whither Worcester’s Public Schools?

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May 5, 1989education series-whither-worcester
City Faces Potential Revenue Shortfall in FY90

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February 7, 1989finance
The Public Access Story: Stay Tuned

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June 23, 1988municipal-operations technology
Whither Worcester?: Part II, Developing the City’s Future

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May 16, 1988economic-development series-whither-worcester
Whither Worcester? Planning the City’s Future

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May 16, 1988economic-development series-whither-worcester
The Proposed Zoning Ordinance: Notes & Recommendations

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December 15, 1987economic-development
City Faces Potential Revenue Shortfall in FY89

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August 14, 1987finance
Public Employee Pensions Disabling City

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July 20, 1987finance municipal-operations
Real Estate Transfer Tax: The Case For and Against

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May 28, 1987finance
Worcester’s Salary Schedule Needs Periodic Weighing

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February 12, 1987finance municipal-operations
Charting a New Route for Worcester’s Mass Transit

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December 4, 1986municipal-operations transportation
Worcester’s Three R’s: Repair, Replacement and Rehabilitation

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October 24, 1986education finance
Sink or Swim: The Future of Worcester’s Water and Sewer System

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June 13, 1986finance municipal-operations
An Introduction to Rent Control

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June 1, 1986finance housing
The Aftermath of Proposition 2 1/2: Shrinking Revenues and Increased Dependence

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April 8, 1986finance
City Faces Potential Loss of $4 Million in Revenue Sharing Funds

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January 14, 1986finance