MAY 29, 2018
Mayor Donna D. Holaday
FY19 Budget: Budget workshops are underway with the City Council and we appreciate your requests for additional information from departments coming through the Chair of Budget & Finance.
FY18/19 Capital Plan: We anticipate a favorable review on the priority projects submitted. A reminder that the mason work for $65,000 has been pulled for NHS as the Facilities Director would like more time to evaluate options.
Water/Sewer Capital Plan: The water/sewer capital plan is in your packet tonight and was not in the original plan request as it requires approval by the Water & Sewer Commissioners. The plan is fairly standard requiring the City Council to transfer the funds from their Retained Earnings to capital accounts. Retain Earnings, like Free Cash, freezes in mid-July until recertified in October. Please note the commissioners also included funding to hold down the water/sewer rates.
Plummer Springs Bridge: The status of the bridge has further deteriorated and had to be closed to vehicular traffic a few days earlier than anticipated. The good news is in a conversation I had with Lt. Gov. Polito last week where she indicated that the city will most likely be awarded $500,000 in the State Small bridge program for further evaluation and the start of repairs.
Whittier Bridge: We are actively working on finalizing our mitigation with Walsh/McCourt including paving to a portion of Ferry, elevation, paving and drainage work on Spring Lane, sidewalk on Spofford St. We anticipate closure on these negotiations within the next several weeks. We have a Whittier Bridge Working Group meeting with Amesbury and Salisbury on June 15th. The project completion date is late August.
Safe Routes to School: A public hearing is scheduled for June 14th at 6:30 at the library to review plans for this $1.2M grant. The area to be improved and redesigned is from Toppans to Johnson St.
Rt. 113 and Roadwork: Rt. 113 is a State road and I am very pleased that paving Storey Ave. was added to the drainage and ramp work. We have field some complaints from residents as the work is being completed at night starting at 8 PM. Please recall previous work on Storey Ave. during the CVS project was attempted during the day. It caused major problems with the amount of traffic on 113 and school buses were very delayed in getting students to school.
DPS has been meeting with Allied our paving contractor and we will post notices as the specific details become available. Anticipate work starting in-house next week and contracted work the following week beginning with Opportunity Way.
Intermodal Facility/Garage: We are actively working on finalizing the brick mock-up to proceed with ordering the precast. This may require a road trip to Vermont next week as the mock-up is too large to send. We are working with MADOT on securing the $2.5M required to be spent by June 30th and we have Baker-Polito support for an extension if needed.
We are scheduled to meet with MVRTA to final the MOU Lease Agreement on June 5th.
NRA/WFT/City: On May 25th another joint meeting was held. There was a good overview of the environmental work and multi-month timeline ahead. The NRA will proceed with the assessment for an AUL on the west lot, evaluate the parameters of the East lot’s AUL with ESS. The WFT will initiate the EPA Phase I assessment. The initial TRC report on the EPA clean up cited $500,000 of work (does not include the approximate $90,000 of clean up underway by ESS) and this additional assessment has potential to add significant costs to the environmental cleanup. This obviously is a real concern to all parties. Discussion of land conveyances continued with greater consensus for the Custom House to receive the property and land behind as long as protections are in place for the future protection. The filled tidelands appear to be moving in the direction of shared ownership with the city and WFT.
The NRA has new legal counsel, Kathleen O’Donnell who is experienced with redevelopment authorities. Discussion of the need for a quorum on the NRA to complete the environmental work and land transfers is very important to complete this process of dissolution. Attorney O’Donnell also indicated I had no authority to submit less than 5 year terms per state law. David St. Cyr and Bob Uhligs’ appointments must be corrected and I will submit the revisions for your next meeting.
Mobilite Ordinance: In your packet is an ordinance to address installation of wireless communications on telephone poles. This was a very complex process and I commend Councilor Zeid, Chair of Public Utilities for the extensive work and research he conducted in collaboration with KP Law.
Emergency Operations: Chris LeClaire, Chief/EMD organized our annual joint exercise last week with Public Safety, EMS, AJH, Harbormaster and DPS. These exercises provide an opportunity to walk through a tragic scenario during a festival and review protocol and procedures.
Personnel: Tracy Maynard, HR Director is relocating to Cape Cod and will be leaving her position on June 20th. Cynthia Dadd, Head Librarian is retiring in August; interviews for her position will begin with a review team next week. Please join me in thanking both Tracy and Cindy for the great work that they have contributed to the city.
Hillside Sustainable Living: The groundbreaking ceremony was held on May 18th with a great turnout from the community and State.
Mayor’s Breakfast for Scouting: Held on May 17th with special to our distinguished citizens Vicki Hendrickson, Skip & Marge Motes and Ann Ormond. Eagle Scout Sam Spinney provided a great speech. Steve Hines did a wonderful job again as emcee. Congratulations to the Spirit of Adventure Boy Scout Council for another great breakfast.
Youth Services & Community Conversations- Asset Results: Youth Commissioners did a wonderful job presenting their review of the asset survey results again this year. There was a positive turn out from the community and school district including our incoming Superintendent Sean Gallagher and NHS Principal Andrew Wulf.
Human Rights Commission: held their 2nd Annual Iftar to raise awareness regarding Muslims and the Islamic Faith. Councilor Khan and her husband Ahmer Ibrahim, HRC were instrumental in organizing this event.
Memorial Day: Thank you Kevin Hunt, Veterans Service Officer, for organizing another meaningful Memorial Day. Great turn out by the City Council, Boy Scouts & Girl Scouts, NHS Band and USCG and NPD Honor Guards.
photo by Bryan Eaton