Haverhill Council to Hear Plans to Study More Local Government Changes, $1.2 Million City Hall Work

Haverhill City Councilor John A. Michitson. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Click image for Haverhill City Council agenda.

Plans to elect Haverhill city councilors and School Committee members mostly by ward next year is not the end of a push to overhaul city government.

Council Vice President John A. Michitson, chairperson of the Citizen Outreach Committee, plans to formally notify his colleagues and the public tonight that the subcommittee will solicit feedback on a “possible future ballot question to establish a charter commission.” Michitson has been consistent in voicing his belief city government will not change meaningfully until it adjusts the balance of power between the mayor and City Council.

“If you really want to give those 11 people a real opportunity to make a difference in their city, then we have to look at the power between the mayor and the City Council. We really ought to be taking a good look at that as well,” Michitson said at a January 2020 forum, “Exploring the Possibility of Neighborhood Representation.”

Michitson explained then that a new City Council could still be hamstrung by Haverhill’s “strong mayor” form of government.

The matter was raised again two years ago when councilors weighed the possibility of asking voters to create a Charter Commission to study, and possibly alter, the current form of government. The matter was placed on hold at the time because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Michitson plans a meeting of the Citizen Outreach Committee Wednesday, March 30, at 6 p.m., in City Hall, room 202.

City councilors are also expected to consider allowing the city to borrow $1.2 million to replace a retaining wall at City Hall, between the building and parking lot.

Purchasing Director Steven Bucuzzo told the City Council in a letter dated Feb. 24 the city received eight construction bids and plans to choose low bidder George R. Cairns and Sons of Windham, N.H.

Bucuzzo, calling the project “critically needed,” said work involves demolition of the existing wall between Main and Newcomb Streets, construction of a new precast block retaining wall and stairs, installation of new guard rails, removal of an underground oil tank, demolition of an old wooden coal shed, pavement restoration and related tasks.

The Haverhill City Council meets at 7 p.m. remotely and in-person at the Theodore A. Pelosi Jr. Council Chambers, room 202, Haverhill City Hall, 4 Summer St., As a public service, 97.9 WHAV plans to carry the meeting live.

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