AUBURN — City Councilor Belinda Gerry said she voted against a proposed $7.9 million bond package last week because she lacked some crucial details.

On Monday, Gerry said she was satisfied. She and four of her colleagues voted 5-1 to  approve the bond package at a special council meeting. The bond was the sole item on the agenda.

“Last week, I voted against the bond package so that we could have more time to get the information we needed,” Gerry said.

This year, the city plans to sell $7.9 million worth of bonds to pay for a variety of projects, including equipment replacement, road and drainage repairs, road lighting and traffic-signal repairs. It also includes $2.5 million in repairs to Auburn schools. The Maine State School Renovation Revolving fund could reimburse the city for at least $1 million of that.

Overall, the city’s total debt is $73 million.

Councilors approved the bond reading by a 5-1 vote on July 19, with councilor Mike Farrell opposing. The matter came up for a second reading at the Aug. 2 meeting. This time, Gerry  and Councilor Dan Herrick joined Farrell in voting to oppose the spending.

The bond package failed, falling one vote short of the five needed for passage, meaning as much as $6.7 million worth of road repairs scheduled for the summer would be canceled. It also meant that federal matching funds for road work and state matching funds for education were in jeopardy.

Mayor Dick Gleason called Monday’s special meeting to give councilors one last shot at passage.

City Manager Glenn Aho sent councilors a memo last week that went into deeper detail concerning the bond package. According to Aho’s memo,  $4.7 million of the package is for road improvements in the city and $200,000 of it is to use for matching money to leverage up to $2 million more in federal money.

According to the memo, the city will spend$749,000 for road reclamation projects, $1.13 million for road reclamation work and $2 million full road reconstructions. Another $100,000 is set aside for sidewalk improvements.

Other construction projects include  parking and ramp improvements at two fire stations, traffic signal repairs, roadway lighting and road drainage projects.

The city plans to spend $238,050 to purchase a new sidewalk snow tractor, a trailer for a dump truck and a side body for another truck. The bond package includes spending for building heating projects, security cameras and repairs to city softball fields.

Gerry said she was concerned about how the money was specifically going to be spent and getting assurances that it would be spent where councilors agreed.

“In the past, if we approved a truck and it turned out to be too expensive, all the department head had to do was ask the city manager and they would change it,” Gerry said. She said the city council has a different understanding with Aho.

“If we approve money for something, it should be used to for what we’ve approved,” she said.

[email protected]

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.