NEW BEDFORD - The City Council voted to send a loan request of $6,499,000 by Mayor Jon Mitchell for environmental cleanup projects to the Committee on Finance during Thursday's meeting for further discussion. 

The order is to be used to finish a three-year environmental cleanup and remediation projects of the Parker Street Waste site in the city's west end.

According to city CFO Ari Sky, the city already has $3,160,903 in funds from previous settlements, and more could be on the way. Sky said because of this, taxpayers would be on the hook for no more than $3,338,097.

Highlights from the project include the construction of a soccer field on the Nemasket Street lots, cleanup of wetlands behind Keith Middle School, removal of hazardous material beneath New Bedford High School and private residential properties in the area.

Councilor-at-large and Committee on Finance chair Linda Morad said despite the reduced cost to taxpayers, it's still too much of a burden.

"I think this administration needs to make a decision whether they're going to clean up waste sites or whether they're going to fix buildings," Morad said. "The taxpayer can't do both."

Morad said the matter will be discussed by the council during a May meeting of the Committee on Finance.

In other City Council news, councilors voted to accept two Community Host Agreements (CHA) regarding medical marijuana processing and sales.

Councilors voted 6-1 to accept a CHA for ARL Healthcare, Inc. to operate a Registered Marijuana Dispensary cultivation and processing facility in the New Bedford Industrial Park. Steve Martins was the sole dissent.

Councilors also voted 6-1 to accept a CHA for Beacon Compassion Center to operate a medical marijuana dispensary at 366 Hathaway Rd. Morad cast the lone "no" vote.

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