Ted Siefer's City Hall: A time for ideas and budget matters, large and small
Not all of the ideas put forward last week were grand ones. Several came from Keith Hirschmann, the newly elected - or reelected - Ward 12 alderman. He held the seat from 1996 to 2002, and based on his involvement on Tuesday, the first regular day of meetings for the new term, he was making up for lost time.
Speaking of Martineau, he appeared before the full board Tuesday to request the immediate transfer of $100,000 in contingency funds to deal with said budget deficit. The better news was that Welfare's projected deficit for the year had gone from close to $300,000 to $200,000. This was enough to prompt the aldermen to table Martineau's request for the time being.
There was a time when commissions in Manchester were powerful entities. That's not the case these days; it has become the mayor's regular ritual to put the call out for volunteers to fill seats on the panels.
In the end, the committee approved the more modest request of $1,250. But later in the evening, at the full board meeting, Alderman-at-Large Dan O'Neil, chairman of the board, said he didn't like the precedent this would set. Instead, he proposed that members of the commission go to the mayor's office for postage and work with the Planning Department on the GIS system.The aldermen, perhaps not surprisingly, liked this idea better.
It looks like the Manchester Animal Shelter will be getting the long-term lease it has sought with the city. The shelter leases city property on Dunbarton Road for a $1 a year (after all, it serves as the Manchester area's primary animal shelter). With plans to upgrade and expand the facility, the shelter's leaders sought a 40-year lease for the same token price.
The issue is clearly close to Gatsas, and it bears mentioning that his wife, Cassandra, is the co-president of the Friends of the Manchester Animal Shelter.
The school board will hold a special meeting Monday, and on its plate, ahem, will be school lunches. District Food Service Director Jim Connors is to make a presentation on how newly relaxed federal guidelines for healthy school meals might affect its menu.
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