, Newburyport, MA

Local News

June 18, 2014

Sidford named for NRA board

NEWBURYPORT — Mayor Donna Holaday has submitted the name of Andrew Sidford to serve on the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority.

Her choice of Sidford now goes to the governor’s office, which is charged with making the selection.

Four members of the five-person NRA are named by the mayor and approved by the City Council. City-named members are the following: chairman Tom Salemi, treasurer Adam Guild and new members Leslie Eckholdt and Robert Uhlig, the latter who was confirmed at last week’s council meeting.

Sidford, principal of Andrew Sidford Architects PC on Merrimac Street, served on the NRA from 1997-2002.

In other recent municipal activity, the general fund budget for fiscal year 2015 was approved by the City Council at $56,277,194. Of that figure, $25,148,813 has been earmarked for schools.

The finalization follows several weeks of study by the City Council and public hearings called for by the new city charter.

The budget was approved in its final form after one administrative position in the police department and one administrative job in the fire department were downgraded from 40 hours to 35 hours, city officials say.

In other business at the recent council meeting, a proposal to upgrade and improve playing fields behind the Nock/Molin School and on Fuller Field (Low Street) was sent to committee.

Holaday had suggested earmarking about $1 million to create new and/or better fields, in part to replace a baseball diamond that disappeared when the new Bresnahan Elementary School was built.

Holaday had mentioned the possibility of putting the matter to a vote on the November ballot, but it appears that councilors will study the merits before any action is taken.

The council also approved the Community Preservation Committee’s recommendations for annual financial outlays.

The funds for the following projects come from a 2 percent surcharge on municipal property taxes, and has been utilized for close to a decade.

Projects that the CPC has approved include the following: open space reserves, $50,000; YWCA roof, $54,000; Belleville Church restoration, $15,000; Clipper City Rail Trail, $115,000; down-payment assistance for community housing, $75,000; affordable housing trust, $220,000; Inn Street fountain, $50,000; Green Street trees, $21,000; and First Religious Society steeple restoration, $200,000.

The following projects, several of which are recurring annual expenses, also were approved: Newburyport High School exterior wood work, $100,000; Atkinson Common tree restoration, $15,000; City Hall debt, $189,000; open space debt, $119,000; administrative costs, $12,000.

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