NEWBURYPORT — Mayor Donna Holaday asked the City Council on Monday night for authority to transfer about $455,000 from retained-earnings accounts to projects that will fortify parts of the city's sewage and water operations.

Her requests, made at a regular meeting of the council, were sent to the Budget and Finance Committee for study.

One request is for $250,000 to pay for the first phase of the sewer main and manhole replacement/rehabilitation project.

"Portions of the city have old sewer mains, which are aging clay pipe; some areas are in good condition, others are not so good," Holaday said in a statement.

"The goal of the project," she added, "is to replace aging lines with strong components, thereby reducing the amount of groundwater from entering the collection systems, ultimately reducing the amount of inflow to the wastewater treatment facility."

Another transfer request, in aggregate, is for $115,000. 

It would fund "sump pump repair, Artichoke pump station skylight/roof repairs and sludge removal in lagoons."

A separate request for a $90,000 transfer would go toward improvement of the fence at the water treatment plant, general design improvements to the plant, and pump and valve replacements.

City officials say the state Department of Revenue has certified that the city's retained earnings for water and sewer enterprise funds can go to such projects.

"These funds are available for any legal expenditure with the approval of the mayor and a majority vote of the City Council," according to Anthony Furnari, director of the Department of Public Services.

In an unrelated development, Paul O'Brien was named chief administrative officer to Holaday.

O'Brien, former chief of staff for state Rep. James Kelcourse, R-Amesbury, will start in late April,

He replaces Patty Moore, who is leaving to take a job as finance director in Kittery, Maine.

Dyke Hendrickson covers Newburyport. He can be reached at 978-961-3149 or at