By Stephen Quigley
The bleak economy can have some positive effects. Members of the Board of Aldermen voted at their Monday night meeting to pay off two school bonds and refinance them at a lower interest rate, saving the Everett taxpayer almost $429,000 in interest charges over the remaining life of the bonds. The two school bonds that were issued, one in 1996 for $16 million and another in 2000 for $11.5 million, were due to mature in 2011 and 2019, respectively. The bonds will still mature on the original due dates, but the interest rates will be only about 2.5 percent, compared to the current 5.25 percent.
On the U.S. Senate Seat
Proving the adage of former speaker of the US House of Representatives, Thomas Phillip “Tip” O’Neill Jr., “All politics is local,” Rep. Stephen Smith informed the aldermen about the possible vote on Thursday to change the law that would allow the governor to appoint a temporary U.S. senator. Smith, who is on the Election Committee, told the aldermen that he found out “a lot” during the Statehouse hearing last week – especially that Massachusetts residents aren’t being well served during the vacancy. “Kennedy’s office received as many as 1,000 phone calls a week for help. Today, many of these calls are going unanswered,” Smith told the local board. If the vote to change the law comes to the House on Thursday, Smith said he would vote yes to change the law and have the governor fill the vacancy until the General Election in January.
“This is a good program, but I have concerns with how it is being used and the priority of public spaces being chosen,” Alderman Robert Van Campen told his fellow aldermen. He pointed out that some of the rotaries that are being repaired are owned by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). “They should pay for their own rotaries to be beautified, not us,” he said. The three orders to accept into the city’s general fund almost $30,000 in donations to the Beautification Committee weren’t acted on but laid on the table until the next aldermen meeting in two weeks.
“I have no problem with $15 for paying to take a couch away, but we should reduce the price of taking away mattresses, maybe to $5,” Alderman Michael Marchese said at Monday’s night Board of Aldermen meeting. He cited the example where he put a mattress out from an apartment that he rents and that it was full of bedbugs. “I paid the fee, but someone took the mattress before the trash collectors came,” he said, “This is now a public health issue.”
Other aldermen also took issue with the fees being charged. “There are a lot of inequities,” Alderman Sal Sachetta said.
Alderman Jason Marcus said he wants to see a discount for senior citizens.
On other related trash matters, the aldermen also voiced their concern over the recycling program. Code Enforcement Director Frank Nuzzo, Jr. told the aldermen, “ Recycling has become an issue.” The aldermen voted to send the measure to the Public Works Committee.
“There is an accident waiting to happen,” Van Campen told his fellow aldermen about drivers speeding in the municipal lot on Corey Street. He sought to have the police chief use his temporary power to make the speed limits in all municipal parking lots 10 mph. The order was sent to the Public Safety Committee that is meeting tonight (Wednesday) at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall. The public is invited to attend.
Primary on September 22
The only primary race to select two nominees to fill the office for Ward 2 Alderman will be held on September 22. Three candidates, Dennis DiBiase, Michael Mangan and Stephen Simonelli, are vying for the seat that will be voted on citywide. The aldermen approved the list of voting places, noting that Whittier School polling place for Ward 1 Precinct 3 has been changed to Parlin Library on Broadway.
New ISD director
The aldermen sent a request to consolidate five departments into one to the Rules and Ordinances Committee. The request includes consolidating the Board of Health, Wire, Plumbing, Code Enforcement and Building departments into one department, headed by a new director.
The aldermen wanted to know what the savings would be, whether anyone would be laid off, and if a new director hired. The ISD will help developers and local residents with their City Hall permitting needs. See Aldermen meeting minutes on page 5.