NEWBURYPORT — The City Council’s first full meeting of the year was relatively brief Monday.

The council voted unanimously to refer its City Council Rules for 2020 to its Committee on Neighborhoods and City Services. Councilor at-large Afroz Khan noted that very few residents attended a previous public hearing on the rules and expressed interest in holding an additional hearing to allow more people to weigh in.

The council also approved its schedule for the rest of the year, beginning with its next meeting Jan. 27 at 7:30 p.m. in City Council Chambers. With some exceptions, the council typically meets every other Monday.

Council President Jared Eigerman then asked for reports from each of the council’s committees, none of which presented any items for a vote or review.

In other business, Mayor Donna Holaday addressed councilors, informing them that about 280 cubic yards of PCB-contaminated soil was excavated from a portion of the Clipper City Rail Trail behind the wastewater treatment plant. 

Holaday said the soil was sent to a licensed disposal facility in Michigan and that results from post-excavation sampling will begin to arrive this week.

She said there would likely be a handful of areas in need of additional excavation and that so far two spots have been pinpointed where more soil needs to be removed. 

Holaday said once the sampling and excavation are finished, NRC, the city’s contractor, will decontaminate its equipment and backfill and restore the excavated portion of the trail.

Depending on weather and sampling results, she said the project could be finished by the end the month. 

Staff writer Jack Shea covers Newbury­port City Hall. He can be reached via email at jshea@newburyportnews.com or by phone at 978-961-3154. Follow him on Twitter @iamjackshea.

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