City Council adds $4k to fund used to buy new U.S. flags for downtown

LACONIA — After some discussion the City Council this week unanimously agreed to contribute $4,000 toward the project to dress up downtown for the summer undertaken by the Laconia Main Street Initiative, which lined streets with U.S. flags and flowers.
John Moriarty, president of the organization, told the councilors that $13,500 was invested in purchasing 80 stars and stripes made in America to replace the worn flags of foreign origin, along with the necessary hardware to fly them, as well as 20 window boxes ,119 hanging baskets and 30 beer barrels to holding more than 250 flowering plants. He noted that employees of Trustworthy Hardware and Petal Pushers donated their time to the project.
In requesting the contribution, Moriarty noted that the project fulfilled the council's goal of enhancing the appearance of the city, especially its gateways, and was also consistent with the purpose of the downtown tax increment financing (TIF) district. He said that a capital campaign had raised over $10,000 and was asking the city for $4,000 to defray the remaining the expenses and provide seed money for a fund to replace flags as they fade and wear.
Councilor Brenda Baer (Ward 4), who represents much of downtown, proposed drawing the $4,000 from the TIF fund. However, Councilor Henry Lipman (Ward 3) said that TIF fund was intended for "strategic" infrastructure projects, like reconfiguring and enhancing of public spaces. City Manager Scott Myers reminded the council that TIF funds were tentatively earmarked for landscaping associated with the reconstruction of the Main Street Bridge, scheduled to begin next spring.
Councilor Bob Hamel (Ward 5) suggested that between the assistance provided by the Parks and Recreation and Public Works departments the city had already contributed to the project and remarked that the council should have been informed of the project "before the fact."
Mayor Mike Seymour asked if the city could make a contribution without tapping the TIF fund. Myers replied that he was confident of finding $4,000 in the course of closing the books on the fiscal year ending on June 30. The councilors agreed to apply found money rather than draw from the TIF fund.
NOTE: The City Council will hold a public hearing during its regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, June 10 on changes to the solid waste ordinance required to introduce a mandatory recycling program beginning on July 1. City Manager Scott Myers said that during the two weeks beginning on May 12 recycled material represented more than 15-percent of the trash collected on all five routes for the first time. Altogether 17.5-percent of all solid waste was recycled.