Haverhill City Council Vice President Colin F. LePage surprised many Friday by taking out nomination papers for a possible run for mayor just after submitting completed nomination papers for re-election to the Council.
It may not be what it seems, however. LePage told WHAV he will gauge resident reactions during the little more than a week he has left to collect signatures.
“I am going to go out, talk to more folks and take more signatures and see what they say,” he said.
If LePage ultimately chooses to run against Mayor James J. Fiorentini and challenger Guy Cooper, a Haverhill patrolman, a preliminary election would take place Tuesday, Sept. 14.
He said his role during the 12 years he has served on the Council has been to better allocate money, but he has been frustrated by “some things that take a very long time, if ever, to come to fruition.”
He counts among his achievements: finding more than $2.75 million in obscure or overlooked accounts; bringing expanded waste recycling to the city, saving $2 million in disposal costs; successfully becoming a state Green Community, which delivers $300,000 annually in energy savings; instigating redevelopment of downtown in the area where the parking garage now stands; and pushing for replacements of the Dr. Albert B. Consentino and John Greenleaf Whittier Schools as early as 2016.
“I’m the one who’s found the money for the taxpayers. I’m the one whose found where it hasn’t been allocated or where services haven’t been provided. I’m the one who highlighted,” he said.
Going forward, LePage said, issues center on how to best spend $38 million in federal COVID-19 relief money and which redevelopment options are best for downtown.
Completed nomination papers must be turned in to City Clerk Linda L. Koutoulas a week from tomorrow, July 27. LePage then must decide which office he will seek and withdraw from one of the races by Thursday, Aug. 12.
LePage has considered “for quite some time” a run for City Hall’s corner office. As of this past weekend, he had not yet spoken with Fiorentini, but he expected to do so.