While the current economic times translate into major savings with many construction projects costing less and in some cases getting additional work done for no more than the money already allocated, the Board of Aldermen made it very clear at their meeting on Monday night that they still do not want to expand the scope of any current project.
In probably the least palatable project before the city government, the Aldermen voted to appropriate only $3.5M for the construction of sewer lines in the Beacham Street area, foregoing fixing or installing new sidewalks, storm drains and street re-pavement that Mayor Carlo DeMaria was seeking to do for an additional $2M.
“This is a sandwich that no one wants to eat,” Aldermen Robert Van Campen told both DeMaria and his colleagues.
Presently, The City of Everett is under a time deadline to appropriate the money to repair the sewer discharge pipe that runs down the length of Beacham Street and connect this pipe to the MWRA main pipe. Under the scope of work that is being put out to bid, Chelsea would get about a 1,000 feet of new sewer line courtesy of Everett.
If the city does not meet an October 15 deadline to approve an appropriation then the Department of Environmental Protection could impose a daily fine.
“We have the most civil lawsuits resulting from the condition of Beecham Street,” DeMaria said in explaining his reasoning for seeking the reconstruction of this roadway. “There are a hundred small businesses in the produce center that pay a lot of money in taxes and their street is the worst in the city,” DeMaria added.
The Aldermen were unmoved and defeated a measure to bond $4.5M for the project. They finally voted to approve a bond of $3.5M. DeMaria was seeking a bond of $5.5M.
In another project, Aldermen Marchese led the charge to seek to have $500,000 from the Everett Stadium project returned to the general fund. This price tag for this project was originally pegged at $2.5M with $500,000 coming from a state grant and the rest from a sale of property by the City of Everett.
Several city officials verbally agreed at the meeting that the project would probably be a $1M less than what was earmarked. The idea to expand the scope of the project to include possibly re-doing the public bathrooms was nixed by the Aldermen.
Business tax Relief
Aldermen gave their initial nod to a measure that would lessen the tax for some 100 businesses. Under the measure, businesses that have real estate values at less than $1M and have less than 10 employees can apply for a 10% tax abatement. According to Assessor William Hart, the tax commercial tax rate would increase to by about 16 cents if they order had been enacted in this current year.
“I will put the matter before you,” DeMaria told Aldermen.