NASHUA — One month after aldermen approved a $230 million budget for fiscal year 2013, the mayor is proposing that about $2.4 million in unexpended appropriations from last year be used for various projects and capital improvements in the coming months.
About $2,360,00 in escrow funds have been identified from the fiscal year 2012 budget, according to proposed legislation filed by Mayor Donnalee Lozeau, who is recommending that the money be allocated to several accounts in the newly adopted budget.
She has already allocated more than $1.5 million of the unexpended appropriations to numerous accounts. The largest ticket item under those projects is $500,000 to establish an expendable trust fund.
Other escrow requests already approved include $27,000 for legal services, $21,000 to repair two railroad crossings, $8,700 for the arts, nearly $12,000 for emergency preparedness and $478,000 for Main Street capital improvements.
Just last week, Lozeau unveiled plans to revitalize 10 blocks along Main Street, which are expected to undergo major sidewalk improvements within the next three years, a project that could cost upward of $2 million.
In addition to improving all of the sidewalks, city workers will correct drainage problems and install new street lights, traffic signals, benches, trash containers and newspaper boxes, according to Lozeau. Every tree along Main Street will be removed and then new trees planted with root barriers so they do not destroy the new sidewalks.
Lozeau is requesting that the Board of Aldermen approve a remaining $792,517 in escrow appropriations for the current fiscal year, but those requests have yet to be approved.
Although the Board of Aldermen met Monday and were provided with the list of escrow requests, there was no discussion on the matter, which has been forwarded to the aldermanic Budget Review Committee. The committee is expected to meet at 7 p.m. tonight at City Hall to review the mayor’s recommendations.
The highest escrow requests on the list still subject to aldermanic approval are: a $211,672 contribution for the new Nashua Airport runway; $75,000 for a downtown roadway circulation study; $87,000 for two compressed natural gas buses; $70,000 to fund the city’s match for ongoing rail trail land purchases; and $100,000 to establish an energy efficiency expendable trust fund.
One account that was heavily criticized this past budget season may get some unanticipated funding if Lozeau’s request is approved by aldermen. She is proposing that $15,000 in escrow money be added to funds for the Review and Comment Commission “for potential disbursement to human service agencies that were cut greater than 30 percent in FY2013,” according to her proposal.
Funding to various human service agencies, including the Nashua Children’s Home, received scrutiny recently as controversy arose over how the Review and Comment Commission delegated funds.
Earlier this year, about 30 agencies requested nearly $780,000, but there was only $438,000 in city dollars and $82,000 in federal dollars to distribute.
Lozeau was unavailable Monday to comment on the escrow requests. She said previously that the city’s 2013 budget of $230 million could increase taxes by up to three percent. The new budget is up nearly $3.5 million, or more than 1.5 percent from last year’s city budget.