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15 Million Dollar Road Bond Back on the Table

In a surprise move to many, Ward 3 Councilman Joe Botelho has resurrected the thought dead proposal for a 15 million dollar bond for road repair.

The proposal, which was originally presented back in September, was a plan of the city administration in response to Botelho's challenge to City Manager Tim Chapman. The plan failed at that time with Mayor Briden, Councilman Faria and Councilwoman Sousa voting against it. The plan was also criticized by former Councilwoman Tracy Capobianco and School Committee member Joel Monteiro, the latter fretting it would take debt capacity away from a potential new High School.

Botelho resurrected the plan in a Facebook post on March 6th, hours before the City Council met. The post, done in the form of a 'note' starts "Tired of bad roads and giant potholes? Me too!" the post continues "It called for a $15 Million program to fix our incredibly worn road network in the city that has suffered decades of neglect. But astonishingly it didn’t pass. Although the measure received support from Councilman Britto, it was voted down by Council members Faria, Sousa and Briden."

Botelho then appealed to both his council colleagues and the public to support the plan. "This measure can ultimately be placed before the people for a vote in the next election if just one member of the council who voted to defeat this measure in September changes their mind. They have the power to place the ordinance back on the table and call for another vote... so please let them know you want to vote on roads."

Botelho did not keep his intentions entirely to social media however. At the meeting later that evening, Botelho appealed to his colleagues on the issue during an agenda item by Ward 2 Councilwoman Anna Sousa, who announced a community meeting on streets and sidewalks. Botelho followed many of the same talking points as in his social media release.

Councilman Faria noted the amount of money that had been budgeted for the roads this year without borrowing while Mayor and At-Large Councilman Jim Briden said he was not against the measure but it would need to be part of an overall capital bonding plan that includes the now high school and other capital needs.