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Aldermen vote to back mayor’s new bonding plan

By Christopher Roberson - Staff Writer | May 16, 2024

Mayor James Donchess recently proposed a new bonding plan, supported by the Board of Aldermen, that will limit the city's borrowing to $30 million a year for the next five years. Courtesy photo by Kelli Wholey/Lumina Portraits

NASHUA – The Board of Aldermen, during its May 14 meeting, voted unanimously to support a new bonding plan designed to limit the city’s borrowing to $30 million a year for the next five years.

Ward 5 Alderman Ernest Jette said Mayor James Donchess has become increasingly concerned about the interest rates and the expenses associated with bonding, thus creating the need for a bonding plan.

“I applaud that thought, I think it’s a step in the right direction,” said Jette.

However, he said the city’s property tax rate of $18.23 per $1,000 of valuation is similar to the state average.

“The tax rate in Nashua is not unreasonable,” said Jette. “Our tax rate is not out of control.”

He also said that the city has no control over the residential tax burden as that decision is made by the state Department of Revenue Administration.

“The cities and towns are limited as to what revenue we can get,” said Jette. “We’re limited, basically, to the property tax.”

Ward 2 Alderman Richard Dowd said that after further discussion with the mayor, he was pleased to learn that the bonding plan will have a certain amount of flexibility.

“This is a plan and if an emergency comes up and we have to bond something else, we can,” said Dowd.

He also said the plan will allow the board to expand the timeline for capital projects.

“We can plan over five years, this helps us get locked into the future,” he said.

Dowd also called attention to the city’s debt service, which, he said, is even more challenging than getting the bonding under control.

“The biggest concern is what’s the debt service? The debt service is the amount of money that’s in the budget that we’re (using to) pay off capital projects,” he said.

Alderman-at-Large Melbourne Moran said the plan is a wise move given that the amount of state aid is expected to decrease in the coming years.

“It’s a very good idea to get on a bonding plan, we can’t control what happens at the state,” he said. “What’s going on up there is insane and we have to be the grown-ups in the room and make decisions about tightening our belts and making sure we don’t overspend.”


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