NASHUA — The mayor is asking that about $5 million in surplus from the prior budget be earmarked in the new 2020 budget for various projects.
Mayor Jim Donchess is requesting that the Board of Aldermen re-appropriate $5,323,135 as fiscal year 2020 escrows, a proposal that was introduced to the board this week and will now be considered by the aldermanic Budget Review Committee.
Less than half of that request, or $2,156,130, has already been authorized by the administration since the escrow items echo the original intent of the prior year’s budget, but the projects or purchases were ultimately delayed.
The remaining escrow requests of $3,167,005 are new department recommendations for purchases not included in the previous budget, which would need approval from aldermen.
The largest escrow item is a recommendation from the mayor to transfer $1.2 million to the city’s Capital Equipment Reserve Fund — a fund that accepts annual appropriations that are intended to help replace all of Nashua’s capital equipment.
Other escrow requests include $150,000 to partially fund a new boat ramp, $40,000 to establish an arts district, $65,000 for flashing beacons at crosswalks, another $65,000 for fuel island construction, $31,500 towards a new integrated library system and $255,000 for various consulting services.
Other escrow requests include nearly $9,000 to make improvements to the aldermanic chamber, $14,500 to start a bicycle pedestrian plan, $75,000 in pension costs for unsettled contracts, $100,000 for police overtime, $300,000 for a public works building project and $15,000 for a traffic study along East Hollis Street and Bridge Street.
City planners recently approved the redevelopment of a factory building on East Hollis Street, which will be converted into 80 apartments; the board also approved the construction of an additional 168 apartments on Temple Street and Bridge Street. Concerns have been raised about the traffic impact related to the two projects, said Donchess, who acknowledged that there is already a traffic problem on the east side of the city.
The mayor said he is proposing a comprehensive traffic study in that area to address the larger issue of traffic flow along East Hollis Street and Bridge Street — in the hopes that it could somehow be improved.
He told the Nashua City Planning Board last week that developers have not made investments in the east side of the city for decades.
“This is a transformative project,” Donchess said of the new apartments.
Other escrow requests being sought by the major include allocations into various reserve funds, such as $140,000 to the school capital reserve fund and $100,000 to the hydropower reserve fund.
“The proposed unlike escrow amount of $3,167,005 represents approximately 1.2 percent of the (fiscal year) 2019 adopted general fund operating budget,” states the mayor’s proposed resolution.