Nearly $2.5 million in surplus eyed for escrow requests in NashuaBy KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
Union Leader Correspondent
August 13. 2017 10:33PM
NASHUA — The mayor is requesting that about $2.5 million in surplus from the prior budget be earmarked in the new 2018 budget for various projects, studies and purchases.
Mayor Jim Donchess is asking the Board of Aldermen to reappropriate $2,539,927 as fiscal year 2018 escrows, a proposal that was introduced to the board last week and will be considered by the aldermanic Budget Review Committee in the coming weeks.
A large portion of that request — nearly $1 million — has already been authorized by the administration since the escrow items echo the original intent of the prior year’s budget, but were ultimately delayed.
The remaining escrow requests of $1,548,428 are new department recommendations for purchases not included in the previous budget, which would need approval from aldermen.
Capital improvement escrow requests include $38,000 to make improvements to the aldermanic chambers, $55,000 to replace guns and holsters for police, $12,000 to replace two aging HVAC units, more than $203,000 for infrastructure improvements and sidewalks, and about $192,000 for annual software maintenance of the city’s radio system.
Other escrow requests include funds for playground work, including $20,000 for playground equipment and improvements, and nearly $22,000 eyed for work at Labine Park.
There are several studies included in the escrow requests, including $25,000 for a housing market study, $25,000 for a marketing plan, $15,000 for a greenhouse gas emissions study and $100,000 for a rail strategic plan.
Aldermen are also in the process of considering a separate resolution that would establish a Nashua Rail Transit Committee, a proposal floated by Donchess.
“Recent polling shows that more than 70 percent of residents in New Hampshire support extending commuter rail into New Hampshire,” states the written proposal. “The governor recently made public comments encouraging the exploration of an incremental Nashua first approach.”
If the committee is approved, it will be charged with making recommendations and developing a strategy to the mayor and aldermen for bringing commuter rail to the Gate City, according to the resolution.
Other purchases in the escrow requests include new cameras for city garages, office supplies, funding an Americorps intern, installing a new parking pay station at the library, water fountains for the river and a bridge rehabilitation program.
“Any approved escrows decrease surplus at fiscal year’s end,” states the proposal, adding the $1.5 million in escrows being considered by aldermen represent less than 1 percent of the operating budget adopted for fiscal year 2017.
Last year’s escrow requests were about $3.3 million.