HAVERHILL — Mayor James Fiorentini wants to use funds donated to the city to replace the police station’s deteriorated roof, but police Chief Alan DeNaro and several city councilors say that’s not the best use for the money.
DeNaro said the mayor has changed his mind on spending a private donation to build a police maintenance garage at the Public Works complex on Primrose Street.
In the 2012, the city received $607,000 from the trust of the late Elmo D’Alessandro, a former resident and businessman who died in 2008. The bequest, which can only be used for law enforcement purposes, is being held subject to appropriation by the mayor and council.
DeNaro said the mayor committed to using the money to build the maintenance garage. The chief said $60,000 has already been spent on plans for the facility and that construction was supposed to begin soon.
Police vehicles are maintained at a space the city leases for about $42,000 a year at the private Kazmiera Marina on Coffin Avenue. The marina space is small, expensive and has numerous other problems, DeNaro said.
“Everything is done and ready to go on the garage,” the chief recently told councilors. “But now the mayor has changed his mind. He wants to do a 180 (degree turn) and I don’t know what to do.”
At tonight’s council meeting, Fiorentini will ask councilors to instead use the D’Alessandro money to replace the police station’s deteriorated roof. That project is expected to cost about $375,000.
The police chief recently told councilors the 15-year-old police station is “infested” with mold because the roof has been leaking for years and the city has delayed fixing it.
“It’s become a serious health issue for us,” DeNaro said. “The mold is serious and we need to get it out of there. The roof has leaked so long that water has also begun to rust the building’s support beams.”