The council also passed four spending bills unanimously, including a proposal to use $200,000 of free cash — or unspent tax money — for the repair and maintenance of streets and sidewalks, $125,000 to improve the city’s parks, particularly the Town Park and the Collins Street Playground, $25,000 for the restoration of monuments and war memorials and $20,000 to hire a solar park development consultant.
After the free cash votes, the council also unanimously approved two other measures. The council accepted a trail easement on Elm Street from True Homestead Limited Partnership I to be used as part of the Riverwalk, and the council voted to amend the official polling location for elections from the “Amesbury High School cafeteria” to just “Amesbury High School.”
Three other orders of business were tabled until next month’s meeting. Those were an order to accept the Quitclaim deed from Yvon Cormier Construction Co. for land off Goss Avenue, an order to transfer and convey the Horace Mann School from the School Committee to the mayor, and a proposal to establish a local option meals tax in Amesbury.
The local option meals tax has already generated a great deal of opposition from local restaurants, and at a recent Finance Committee meeting the councilors were deadlocked on the matter, sending it back to the council with a divided vote of 4-4-1. The Ordinance Committee will pick up the proposal at its next meeting on April 16.
During public comment, City Clerk Bonnijo Kitchin announced that Christine Reed, the assistant city clerk, will be retiring on April 18 and the office’s administrative assistant Sharon Dunning will be moving up to replace her.
Kitchin and the councilors each thanked Reed for her years of service, and Kitchin said that a job posting for Dunning’s former administrative assistant position would soon be posted in City Hall and on the city’s website.