WATERVILLE — The City Council on Tuesday will hold a special meeting to consider declaring an emergency and approving funds for city and school operations in light of an effort by three residents to repeal a budget override.

The meeting will be at 7 p.m. in the council chambers on the third floor of The Center at 93 Main St. downtown.

Councilors will consider approving a resolution declaring an emergency to preserve the public health and safety. They also will consider approving an order to make available emergency funding for city and school operations.

Councilors last Tuesday voted to postpone indefinitely considering the resolution and order, which basically killed the requests, according to City Clerk Patti Dubois.

“But they can reconsider them and bring them back up, because we need both,” Dubois said Monday. “The budget now is stayed from going into effect because of the affidavit filed. The budget is not in effect now, so we need authorization to spend in the interim until something is passed.”

The City Council on Tuesday last week voted to override Mayor Nick Isgro’s veto of the $41.9 million city and school budget they approved unanimously June 19.

Petitioners seek to re-open the budget process, but councilors defend the bare-bones budget, saying if it is cut further, vital services and personnel will be significantly impacted.

The $41.9 million city and school budget for 2018-19 increases the tax rate tax by $1.94 per $1,000 worth of property valuation — an 8.3 percent tax increase.

On Friday, resident Eric Chamberlain filed an affidavit with Dubois’ office to start the petitioning process. The affidavit is signed by Chamberlain and residents Normand Veilleux and Henry D. Poirier.

Dubois said Monday that their deadline to submit 857 signatures to her office is 5 p.m. July 24. After that, she has 10 working days — to Aug. 7 — to certify the signatures, and if they are sufficient, the matter goes to the City Council.

Councilors could reconsider their action to override the mayor’s veto and reconsider the budget or they could decide not to do so, in which case, the budget would go to voters in the form of a referendum, according to Dubois.

She said there is no clear direction about what the referendum would ask voters.

“That part is murky to me,” Dubois said. “This is kind of unchartered territory.”

City Solicitor William Lee did not immediately return a call Monday morning seeking comment on the process.

Isgro vowed during the budget process that he would veto a budget that raised taxes more than 3 percent. To reach that 3 percent, $900,000 more would have to be cut from the budget.

Laliberte Strategies issued a press release Friday announcing the petition. It says, “City councilors have failed to listen to pleas of residents asking them to make cuts in the budget.”

Laliberte Strategies is owned by Jessica Laliberte, a member of the city’s Planning Board.

Council Chairman Steve Soule, D-Ward 1, said in an email Friday that he sees the repeal effort as in line with the divisiveness that has wracked the city recently.

“The new strategy over the past few years is to think petition if your views do not coincide with decisions,” Soule said. “Will there be another petition in the upcoming months, as every decision has a losing side?”

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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