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July 11. 2014 7:02PM

Nashua aldermen asked to prioritize paving needs

NASHUA — Mayor Donnalee Lozeau urged city officials this week to approve a special revenue fund to help fix and maintain Nashua roadways.

“I’m telling you, the paving situation in this city is so bad we could spend $2 million on it right away,” Lozeau told the aldermanic Budget Review Committee on Thursday.

The committee, while reviewing the mayor’s proposed fiscal year 2015 budget, voted to recommend the creation of a special revenue fund that would include $70,000 in annual revenue from motor vehicle permit fees, coupled with a state highway block grant of about $1.3 million.

The fund, if approved by the full Board of Aldermen, would then be used for citywide paving.

Although the establishment of the fund would reduce the general fund revenue by $2 million, Lozeau said earlier that it is an ideal way to address long-term road infrastructure needs.

While $1 million is typically set aside each year for paving, Lozeau said that amount should actually be doubled.

“I think this is a really good solution,” she said previously.

While some people have argued her proposal is a way to avoid the city’s spending cap, Lozeau stressed that both of the revenue sources — the motor vehicle permit fees and the highway block grant — are each user fees and are both allowed to be used toward special revenue funds.

With support from the Budget Review Committee, it will now be up to the full board to decide whether the special revenue fund should be created, or whether paving expenses should be placed directly into the budget.

The committee continued reviewing the mayor’s proposed fiscal year 2015 budget on Thursday, but stopped short of making a final recommendation on the spending plan.

Another wrap-up session by the committee has been scheduled for 7 p.m. on Monday at Nashua City Hall.

To date, the committee has added $173,392 to Lozeau’s recommended budget, which includes an increase of $70,000 to the police department budget, an increase of $160,000 to the school district budget, a decrease of $40,000 for the downtown facade program and other, smaller decreases.

Currently, the proposed budget stands at $241,371,941, or a more than 2 percent increase over the prior budget.

khoughton@newstote.com


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