AMESBURY — A city councilor wants his colleagues to revisit some unfinished business at every monthly meeting.
On Jan. 13, at-large City Councilor Steve Stanganelli proposed that the council add an item to its monthly agenda to revisit projects that may have dropped off the radar.
"This would be at the beginning of meetings, somewhere near the council communications section where we would be able to bring in department heads and people within the administration to ask questions and get updates about previously approved projects," Stanganelli said. “Taxpayers should know where their money is going.”
Stanganelli told the council its primary role is to offer oversight on the city's budget and operations as well as provide checks and balances on the administration. He suggested that residents should be able to clearly find the city's debt book as well as relevant credit rating information and a regularly updated tally of the free cash account.
"I believe that all taxpayers should be able to track their historical asset value, tax bill and the breakdown of where their individual tax payments go to funding city and school operations," Stanganelli said.
City Council President Matt Einson entered Stanganelli's letter into the council's meeting minutes Tuesday.
"I think it's a good idea," Einson said. "It would bring up outstanding issues and make sure that we are on top of everything."
Stanganelli pointed to six items that he said are indicative of the types of projects he believes the council should take another look at in its review. The first is a tax increment financing incentive deal the city entered made with the owner of 77 Elm St., developer David Martin, in November 2016.
"We were told by (former Community and Economic Development Director William Scott) that the property had not been meeting its goals for the TIF in terms of being a Class A lease up in the latter part of 2018," Stanganelli said.
"He explained that there was a potential of rescinding the tax increment financing incentive to him," Stanganelli added. "(Scott) had told us at the time that he was going to be reviewing it with the developer and coming back to the council. That was before the summer of 2019. Obviously, he did not and he is gone. We need to figure out what is going on with that."
A staffing study of the Fire Department was commissioned in April. Stanganelli said he would like to see the results of the staffing study as well as those of the fiscal 2019 financial audit.
"The audit is a charter obligation and we should see it ideally long before the budget season starts," Stanganelli said. "The Fire Department study is something we spent money on and it was meant to give an idea as to what our future staffing needs are. That has an impact on our budget going forward."
Stanganelli said a quitclaim deed related to parcels of land in the Point Shore Meadows condominium development was approved in 2017 but he has not seen a record of it.
"The council approved it, the residents and abutters showed up," he said. "Everything was taken care of and now we have constituents from that area saying, 'What's up?'"
The city councilor would also like to see the collective bargaining agreements between the city and its union workers posted for the public.
"Obviously, I understand this is sensitive information," Stanganelli said. "I'm not asking that each individual's name and rank and income be listed. But this is mainly so that we know what to expect when planning ahead for personal costs over multiple years."
Stanganelli also asked to see the annual report for fiscal 2019 as well as an update on the city's Charter Review Commission. He drafted a letter for the council outlining his plans.
Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.