City Campaign Update: ARP criticism, fiscal plans and the approaching filing period

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It’s July 9, 2021. Here’s what’s been going on recently on the municipal election campaign trail in Manchester.

Craig challengers criticize ARP decision

This week, the two current non-incumbent candidates in the mayoral race released statements regarding the Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen’s (BMA) first approval of proposals regarding the $42 million in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds coming to Manchester.

Former New Hampshire House Assistant Majority Leader Victoria Sullivan criticized Mayor Joyce Craig for using parts of the funding to fund salaries, stating that one-time funds should not be used for salaries or job creation and believing the temporarily grant funded salary funding will eventually be replaced directly by Manchester taxpayers specifically.

“Manchester has received over $174 million in new funds from the state that is meant to support city operations, the business community, non-profits, and the healthcare infrastructure during the four years that she has held office. Yet, despite additional funds, the city is worse off than it was four years ago due to Joyce’s failures. It isn’t about the money, it is about the lack of leadership and a solid direction for the city of Manchester at the top,” said Sullivan.

Former At-Large Alderman and BOSC Member Rich Girard echoed the sentiment of several of those on the BMA who opposed Craig’s plan, believing the decision on how the money should be used should have a more thorough oversight process.

Girard also criticized Craig following a question from Alderman Ross Terrio (Ward 7) where she said she had not yet added up the cost of salaries of the new employees (can be seen at 45:40 of MCTV video of the meeting here.)

“While I agree with Mayor Craig that this is a matter for the whole board to address, I disagree that means the normal committee process has to be short-circuited.  The committee process exists to provide elected officials and citizens the time and opportunity to ask their questions, air their concerns and come to an informed decision,” said Girard. “Demanding a vote on $43 million in spending just five short days after releasing the information and the same day the presentation was made is unreasonable, unfair and irresponsible.  There is not only ample time for the normal process to play out, there is also plenty of time to schedule a public hearing on the proposals, which state law would require but for the COVID exemptions contained in the governor’s executive orders.”


Sullivan and Girard release plans

In addition to the ARP plan criticism, Sullivan and Girard also released fiscal policy plans this year.

On Wednesday, Sullivan released her fiscal responsibility plan. In it, she aims to implement zero-based budgeting, eliminate duplicative roles in city government and increase efficiency, increase online services and make the Manchester School District a department of the city.

The plan also focuses on upholding the city’s tax cap and looking at fees issued by the city.

““Manchester families are hardworking individuals who deserve a mayor that is an authentic fiscal conservative. They deserve someone who has the mindset that it’s not government’s money — it’s the taxpayers’ — and it needs to be spent wisely. Concurrently, Queen City taxpayers are entitled to a system of accountability when it comes to city spending, and a transparent process that discourages backdoor spending and identifies it when it is attempted.”

Girard also announced his Community and Economic Development Plan to Rebuild Manchester’s Middle Class.

In it, he discusses the issue of homelessness, creating an educational marketplace, increasing the city’s housing stock and addressing crime in the city.

“My plan also directly confronts Manchester’s self-defeating and largely deserved reputation as unfriendly to business,” said Girard. “As with my answers to our other problems, there’s a healthy dose of common sense, some creative thinking born of my extensive experience and a lot of good ol’ fashioned hard work to get the job done.  I’m confident that these are challenges that will lead to our city’s improvement as we overcome them, which we must do if we are to break the cycle of urban decline that has us and our city in its grip!”

The plan in its entirety can be found here.


Municipal Candidacy Signup Period begins on Monday

The speculation is finally over, declarations of candidacy for municipal offices in Manchester can be filed starting on Monday. More information on that process can be found on this part of the city clerk’s page on the city website.

To date, Manchester Ink Link has received notice that for Alderman, Monday signups are planned for Elizabeth Moreau (At-Large, challenger), June Trisiciani (At-Large, challenger), Sebastian Sharonov (Ward 6, incumbent),  Robert Kliskey (Ward 9, challenger). Ward 4 BOSC Member Leslie Want has also indicated she will file for re-election on Monday.

Aldermen Dan O’Neil (At-Large) and Kevin Cavanaugh (Ward 1) have told Manchester Ink Link they will be filing for re-election, but have not yet indicated a time when they will do so.

Ward 11 BOSC Member Jane Beaulieu (ward 11) has told Manchester Ink Link she will not file for re-election.

Sullivan announced she will be filing at 3:45 p.m. on Monday.

The filing period will conclude on July 24.