Though the state is picking up the entire $159,000 tab for widening a stretch of
McCauley, who cast the only vote in opposition, said the city faces a financial crunch that may mean “possible layoffs” next year so it has to begin reconsidering each and every significant project.
At his urging, the council agreed to back a new task force that would review all projects costing more than $100,000.
But councilors said they didn’t understand why McCauley would oppose spending state cash on a project that will help a congested downtown intersection.
“It is not costing the city,” said city Councilor Mike Rimcoski, who calls himself “Dr. No” because he hates to shell out tax money.
The council voted 5-1 to award the
Public Works Director Walter Veselka said the state has already given its blessing to the project using development funds awarded to
“It really is not city funds,” Veselka said.
McCauley said, though, that city officials have to recognize the need to scrutinize every proposal to see if it makes sense to move forward with it during such tough times.
“We really need to look at these projects,” McCauley said.
He said it may well be prudent to put off even worthy proposals until the return of better times.
While some projects are worthy and ought to be done, McCauley said, “I don’t believe this is and I can’t vote to move this forward.”
City Councilor Craig Minor praised McCauley’s call for a new committee to take another look at projects. He said that’s “a good idea.”
City Councilor Frank Nicastro, too, said he has no problem with creating a task force to review plans one last time before handing out contracts. But, he said, the
The main goal of the project, slated to begin this summer, is to add a turning lane for drivers heading east in hopes of alleviating the long backups at the traffic light next to the central firehouse.
City finance officials have said that merely keeping up with existing services could cost the city more than $8 million more next year than it is spending this fiscal year. Slicing that number down is likely to be the major task of municipal leaders for months to come.
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