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Parking Spots May Be Added in Fitchburg

January 17, 2019

FITCHBURG -- Several streets could gain parking spots and become one-way after three petitions were approved by the City Council on Tuesday night.

Oliver Street could become a one-way road from Elm to Main streets and Putnam Street would be a one-way one lane road between Main Street and Boulder Drive. Six parking spots would be added on Oliver and Putnam streets.

Parking spots and meters would be removed from the front of the District Courthouse on Wallace Avenue and the prisoner loading area from Elm and Grove streets.

The narrow street outside the courthouse can be difficult for emergency vehicles to navigate and is a safety risk for pedestrians during building evacuations, Court Officer Yvonne Slade told police in a report to recommend the changes.

The petitions were made by police Officer Jackson Leroy and Police Chief Ernest Martineau in September and referred to the Public Safety Committee, which is chaired by Ward 1 Councilor Amy Green.

Now that the petitions have been approved by the council, the city solicitor will prepare them as ordinances. Two readings of the ordinance are required to make the traffic and parking recommendations law.

In other business, City Auditor Calvin Brooks told the council that Fitchburg’s free cash was certified at $6.8 million by the state’s Department of Revenue. The number was higher compared to previous fiscal years, he said.

Free cash is the amount of money left over at the end of the year that is not dedicated to bills.

When developing the city’s budget, Brooks said having conservative revenue estimates and an expense budget to cover unforseen costs can help prevent the need for mid-year cuts.

Free cash is best used for one-time expenses like savings, capital, or “extraordinary repairs,” he said.

“The city has been working on its finances and strengthening the financial structure year by year,” Brooks said. “We certainly are not on easy street, but we are stronger than we are a few years ago.”

The City Council also accepted a letter from Brooks about creating a Community Development Revolving Fund.

Tom Skwierawski, executive director of the Community Development Department, is requesting it to hold events like the Community Resource Fair and create marketing materials, like the Welcome to Fitchburg packet, according to the letter.

A request will be made in May when the Fiscal 2020 city budget is presented to the City Council to establish the fund and set its spending limits, Brooks wrote.

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