Nashua homeowners facing a tax hike of up to 4% have denounced the city’s recent decision to spend $ 325,000 on land on a dog park as “mowing the lawn while your home burns down”.
“I think there are better things we can do with that money,” Jason Hale said before an aldermen Tuesday, a week after the aldermen made the purchase of Nashua Millyard Associates, Inc.
Nashua taxpayers should have been asked if they wanted a dog park, Laura Colquhoun said.
“I believe these funds can help Nashua taxpayers a lot more,” said Colquhoun, who has three dogs.
When introducing the 2022 city budget last month, Mayor Jim Donchess referred to “a number of major financial challenges” Nashua is facing, including rising pension and health costs and COVID-related expenses that could mean a significant hike in the tax rate.
The panel voted 5-1 on Tuesday to recommend using excess funds from the Broad Street Parkway project on the $ 325,000 package. The final decision is made by the entire city council.
Alderman Ernest Jette said if the money doesn’t come from Broad Street Parkway’s excess funds it must come from the general fund budget, which could have a bigger impact on taxpayers.
Colquhoun said the excess funds should be used for the Broad Street Parkway bond or other capital improvement, not land for a dog park.
John Griffin, the city’s chairman, said the $ 325,000 was not tied to the bond so the money could be used for another purpose, Griffin said.
He said the city issued bonds worth $ 34 million and paired those with federal funds for a total of $ 59.5 million. About $ 56 million has been spent on Broad Street Parkway to date, according to Griffin.
In 2019, a dog park advisory committee was formed to look for a location in the city center to build a dog park. The package behind the WH Bagshaw Company at 1 Pine St. Ext. Was determined to be the best site.
“That’s not $ 325,000 for a dog park,” said Councilor Patricia Klee, noting that the nearly five-acre property will also serve as a public entrance to Mine Falls Park.
Nashua’s Marc Plamondon said he was a strong supporter of a public dog park in Gate City. He called the project an excellent idea.
“I recommend that you move forward on this,” he told the panel, suggesting that at least two acres of the property be reserved for the dog park and that two sections be created to separate larger and smaller dogs.
Councilor Shoshanna Kelly said she could not support the excess spending proposal, especially if some city departments are working with fewer staff to make ends meet. She was the only dissenting voice.
City councils are expected to vote on the proposal at their next meeting on June 8th.