By Dyke Hendrickson
---- — NEWBURYPORT — Mayor Donna Holaday reacted with reserve when contemplating that those already running against her in the upcoming municipal election include two city councilors and a Kennedy.
Councilor Greg Earls late last week announced he is a candidate, joining Councilor Dick Sullivan Jr. and maverick newcomer Keith Kennedy as residents who aspire to be mayor.
“I will continue to work with the City Council on projects we have to complete,” said Holaday, who is serving her second year of a second two-year term. “We have the fiscal year 2014 budget to finish, and other goals as well.
“For me, I have work I want to complete, including the two school-building projects, a senior community center, the wastewater treatment plant and other projects that have been started.”
Holaday in the past has said she will run for re-election but has not taken out nomination papers or made a formal announcement.
She said a formal declaration could come in early May — or sooner.
In other political news, Councilors Tom O’Brien (Ward 6) and Barry Connell (at-large) have taken out papers to run for re-election, according to city officials.
The following is a timeline for political activity relating to the municipal election:
The last day to obtain nomination papers for local office is Friday, July 26.
The final date to submit nomination papers is Tuesday, Aug. 6.
The last day to file withdrawals or objections to nomination papers is Thursday, Aug. 22.
The preliminary election, which costs about $12,000, is slated for Tuesday, Sept. 17. The last day for voters to register is Wednesday, Aug. 28.
The biennial municipal election is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 5.
City officials say that certified signatures of at least 50 voters are the minimum necessary to register as a candidate for the council.
In other matters, Holaday said that city officials are moving forward in their attempt to learn more about potential problems with the Plum Island water and sewer system.
Working with scientists at private testing laboratories, city engineers have developed a protocol for testing elements in the soil to determine whether its composition has been a factor in the (alleged) weakness of bolts holding together piping that runs from the mainland to the island.
Holaday expressed satisfaction with progress on the $3.6 million fortification of the south jetty at the mouth of the Merrimack River.
She stated that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is developing a request for proposals (RFP) for phase II of the project, which federal officials have approved for $5.5 million.
Holaday indicated an interest in identifying more parking for the downtown area, and stated that a parking garage has not been ruled out. “But we don’t have the funding for that now,” she said.