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Letter: Former Havre de Grace mayor tells his side of street financing issue

Letter to The Record

10:28 AM EST, November 8, 2012

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Editor:

You mentioned me prominently in your 26th October editorial "Just Say No" on the subject of a loan bond to finance street paving in Aberdeen. Just to keep the record straight (no pun), indeed I proposed a one million dollar bond to resurface the streets in Havre de Grace some time about 2000 or so. I dropped this idea using your logic that the loan would still be outstanding while the streets would meanwhile have crumbled again.

However, I did some innovative financing to reach the same or better results. The lanes in Havre de Grace were in terrible condition and I got the homeowners and business owners abutting the lanes to pay for the materials for paving while the City crew did the paving. It worked, all the lanes were paved.

Then I got after the Philadelphia Electric Company and dug out an old 1926 agreement which said that they had to resurface Juniata Street. They reluctantly gave us the money and we fixed Juniata Street from end to end.

There was a $400,000 grant from the Feds for a sewer line to I-95 that we did not need. We managed to get that grant reworked and we used it to do Pennington Avenue and the streets surrounding it.

The main thing is that we didn't borrow any money, did a lot of work with the City crew and I was out there with the City crew every day. Finally we set up a maintenance program for streets, curbs, gutters and sidewalks that I believe is still used today.

Gunther Hirsch M.D.

Mayor of Havre de Grace 1989-97