Aldermen to vote again on parkway

NASHUA – A resolution to borrow up to $37.6 million to build a cross-city roadway will come back to the board of aldermen for a second vote because of a procedural glitch.

Only this time, a simple majority is needed, not 10 votes of the 15 board members, to approve the Broad Street Parkway bond, according to city officials.

Under city charter, the board of public works must vote on whether to recommend any road project. Typically, legislation for such projects are referred to the public works board before the board of aldermen votes on it.

That didn’t happen in the case of the parkway bond resolution. The resolution was sent to the budget review committee, which voted to recommend the bond, but not to the public works board.

Aldermen in September voted 10-5 to approve the bond. Parkway supporter Ward 2 Alderman Richard LaRose, who was hospitalized, used a new state law to cast his vote over the telephone.

However, after realizing the oversight had happened, the city attorney and bond counsel recommended that the bond go to the public works board belatedly.

This week, the board voted 4-1 against the project. The public works board consists of four elected members plus the mayor, and two nonvoting liaisons from the board of aldermen.

Only Mayor Donnalee Lozeau voted in support of the parkway bond.

Under city charter, the mayor has the right to suspend a vote of the public works board, which Lozeau said Friday she would do. When a vote is suspended, the issue comes back to the board of aldermen, which can confirm, anull or reverse the public works board vote.

Unlike in the case of a mayoral veto, only a simple majority of the board, or eight members, is needed to uphold the mayor’s action.

Lozeau said she didn’t know why the resolution wasn’t referred to the public works board before the aldermen’s vote. She said she was confident the majority of aldermen still support the parkway.

The elected members of the public works board, who all voted against the parkway bond, are Donald Dyer, Daniel Gagnon, Timothy Lavoie and Tracy Pappas.

“I voted against it in assembly when I was an alderman,” said Dyer, who represented Ward 5 on the board of aldermen for seven terms beginning in the early 1970s.

“That’s how far back it went, and it probably was needed more then than it is now,” Dyer said.

Dyer said the parkway isn’t necessary because the city’s population is stagnant, and the economy is such that this is no time to be borrowing money.

Lozeau noted that while the public works and second aldermanic votes are needed to get the project rolling, a bond wouldn’t be issued anytime soon.

Officials have said that the city wouldn’t have to sell many of the bonds until the first year of the parkway’s construction, which would probably be in 2010 or 2011.