HAVERHILL — City councilors were expecting to hear a debate last night about whether to use money donated to the city by a deceased resident to replace the deteriorated police station roof or to build a maintenance garage for police and fire vehicles.
Mayor James Fiorentini wants to use funds donated from the trust of the late Elmo D’Alessandro for the roof. Police Chief Alan DeNaro has said the garage is a better and more appropriate use of the money.
Last night’s would-be debate ended up being a one-sided pitch, however. City Council President John Michitson said the mayor declined the council’s request to send DeNaro to the meeting.
“The administration speaks with one voice,” Fiorentini told Michitson, who told the mayor he was disappointed the police chief was not allowed to attend the meeting.
Councilors listened to the mayor’s argument for using the D’Alessandro money to replace the police station roof, then agreed to table the discussion until their final budget review meeting tonight. The mayor indicated DeNaro won’t likely be attending tonight’s meeting either.
“I haven’t decided yet,” the mayor said when asked by Michitson whether DeNaro would be attending tonight’s meeting.
Elmo D’Alessandro is a former Haverhill resident and businessman who died in 2008. Fiorentini said the city has received a total of $858,000 from his trust. The money, which can only be used for law enforcement purposes, is being held subject to appropriation by the mayor and council.
A new police station roof is expected to cost $367,000, while the public safety maintenance garage is estimated at $750,000. The garage would be built at the Primrose Street public works complex and also include space for highway department vehicles.
DeNaro 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.