The Medford City Council approved a first reading of a paper Tuesday night that could eventually lead in the procurement of $3.2 million in loans from the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority (MWRA).
The MWRA loans are interest-free and can be used for any purpose and not just water improvements, Medford Mayor Michael McGlynn explained to the council during a committee of the whole meeting.
Before the end of the year, the MWRA approached McGlynn about their Local Pipeline Assistance program.
McGlynn said the city had a balance in its account from zero or low-interest loans approved by the council.
Under the program, the city could produce documentation for all water work appropriated from city accounts dating back to 2000 and applied to be reimbursed for that amount.
McGlynn said that total for Medford comes to $3.2 million. If the city goes forward with participating in the program, McGlynn currently has $1.43 million in projects for which the money can be used.
The remainder would be used to "replenish" accounts previously used for the water improvements.
The biggest project McGlynn proposed for the $1.43 million was $950,000 to build the road to enter Brooks Estate.
Also, McGlynn is proposing $150,000 for a complete upgrade to the school system's security cameras. He also discussed purchasing five new Medford Police cruisers, new identification system equipment for police, a new pumper for the Medford Fire Department and lighting improvements in the city.
The council will have to give the plan three readings before it is approved by the city and then the MWRA would have to give their approval.
"Nothing's done until it's done," McGlynn said.
During Tuesday's regular meeting after the committee of the whole, the council voted 5-1 to approve the first reading.
Although he voted in favor of the reading, Councilor Robert Penta expressed some concerns on behalf of taxpayers. He noted the city will have to pay back the loan to the tune of $320,000 a year.
"Even though this is a zero interest loan, you still have to pay it back," Penta said.
Councilor Breanna Lungo-Koehn voted against the reading, expressing "reservations" about the loan payback amounts.
"My reservations are about the years where we have to pay that back," she said.
Councilor Michael Marks was not present Tuesday evening.