LACONIA — Short on money, the Public Works Department wanted to wait until the July 1 start of the new fiscal year to spend $20,000 on hiring a contractor to repaint worn-out stripes on many city streets.
With tourist season around the corner, that’s a poor approach, Councilor Bob Hamel said at the Monday night City Council meeting.
He and other city councilors urged City Manager Scott Myers and Public Works Directors Wes Anderson to find the money and get it done, even if it means switching money from other departments.
Myers agreed to do it, but Anderson noted that given the lead time needed to line up a contractor, it may take until July to schedule the job.
On Tuesday, Hamel said that ideally the work should have already been accomplished.
“The lines are pretty much not there,” he said. “Take a ride down Church Street. Before the library there are two lanes, one a left-turn lane and one to go straight. You don’t know what lane to get into. Also, the center turn lanes on Union Avenue are pretty much wiped out.
“You get new people coming in and it makes for a dangerous situation. They don’t what lane to be in. They could come right into you.”
He acknowledged that Public Works is over budget because of a severe winter and higher-than-expected waste disposal costs.
“That’s true, but something as important as this, they can come to the City Council and say, ‘We don’t have enough money to do striping,’ and we will find it. We have authority to move money around between departments and so does city manager.”
Mayor Ed Engler, saying Monday night that he was “doubling down” on Hamel’s comments, noted that the city has more than $800,000 in reserve funds that will be carried over into the fiscal year, so a $20,000 expense should be manageable.
Councilor Henry Lipman also noted that the striping will cost $20,000 whether the expense comes now or after July 1, so there really is no reason to wait.