Haverhill Councilors, Mayor Agree to Work Together on Downtown Paid Parking Plan

(File photograph.)

Plans to alleviate the parking problem in downtown Haverhill have been stalled like rush-hour traffic for months due, primarily, to regulations that forbid city councilors to vote on the issue if they have a conflict of interest in the matter.

Those conflicts arise when councilors have downtown parking passes or if they own property in that area. As a result, they must recuse themselves.  This has resulted in the Council not having enough members present to pass any proposals.

Last month, Mayor James J. Fiorentini proposed a plan where the entire council would purchase those passes, thereby invoking the Rule of Necessity, which would trump the conflict of interest statutes. Although the councilors agreed with the idea, the mayor ended up vetoing his own proposal when he learned that the move might be illegal.

Last night’s City Council meeting might have finally seen that impasse broken, however, as Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan has relinquished his parking pass and President Melinda E. Barrett has sold her downtown family business. Councilors agreed not to override the mayor’s veto.

Fiorentini told the group that with those stumbling blocks now out of the way, he will resubmit a new parking plan. “Leave everything on the table. I’ll do as I promised I would. I’ve got your message loud and clear. I’ll reconstitute the Parking Commission, come back with a new parking plan and we’ll see what we can do.”

The mayor’s previous plan included changes in parking fees, rates and terms.

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