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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Newton North Vote likely in January

If aldermen approve, the referendum on the site plan for a new Newton North High School will be held on Jan. 23.

How much it will cost is a matter of dispute, in keeping with a pattern of controversy that has dogged all aspects of the project. Mayor David B. Cohen requested $81,000, but the aldermen’s Finance Committee voted Monday night to reduce that amount to $50,000.

‘‘There seems to be a concern on the Board of Aldermen that the mayor is trying to build up a pool of money in order to pay a separation agreement with Peter Karg,’’ said Paul Coletti, the committee’s chairman.

Karg, the city’s chief election official, is on paid administrative leave pending an investigation into a miscount that initially led the city to announce that a petition drive for the referendum had failed to gather enough signatures.

The mayor’s spokesman, Jeremy Solomon, denied the mayor was trying to sock away money for a deal with Karg.

‘‘With all due respect to Aldermen Coletti, we have to let the investigator present his findings before any personnel decisions are made in the Election Department,’’ Solomon said Tuesday. -- Connie Paige

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