Taxpayers heard some good news at the regular meeting of the Common Council on Monday night. According to Senator Sal DiDomenico and Rep. Stephen Smith, the City of Everett will receive about $5 million more in state aid for the local schools.
This additional revenue means that almost $1 million will not have to be raised by the local tax rate. Even though local aid for the city services excluding local schools will see an almost $500,000 drop, nevertheless the net effect for taxpayers will still be a plus of more than $500,000.
On the progress of the Health Care reform bill that was approved in the House last week, DiDomenico was not as direct as what might happen in the senate. “At the end of the day, nobody will be happy, but cities and towns need relief,” DiDomenico said.
However, the 200,000 union employees having their health care pakages reviewed and changed in order to create savings rather than to maintain unsustainable premiums is compared with the more than 1.5 million Massachusetts families who pay their own health insurance without subsidy. Those people are happy. The union members are not.
The Health Care debate has been a hot button issue at the State House in the last few weeks. All unions have been said that the House version of the Health Care bill has eliminated collective bargaining whereas city and town officials maintain that they will save millions of dollars if they can change their city plans to the state health insurance plan. Governor Deval Patrick and the House of Representatives in their budgets have already approved the option for cities and towns to have their employees enroll in the state health care plan. The Senate still has to formally announce their decision.
Mayor Carlo DeMaria has said that the ability to go to the state health insurance plan would save the City of Everett well over $1 million in premiums in the next fiscal year.
National Grid coordinator for the City of Everett, Victor Santana had to field numerous complaints from several councilors about a power outage on April 22 as well as various street lights being out. Santana told the Council that National Grid is aware of the problems and is resolving them. Several councilors said that they will personally tell Santana about the street lights that are out so that he can get them fixed.
Councilor Leo McKinnon felt like there was a crime wave in Everett. “I have been getting calls and what is being done on the police side,” he asked Captain Richard Basteri. However, Basteri said that the statistics show that crime is down for the first four months of the year. He cited residential breaks down by 20%, commercial breaks down by 42% and car breaks down by 21%. These figures include all attempted break-ins.
Old High School
On the Block – again
Community Development Director Margie Galazka told the Councilors that the old Everett High School on Broadway will be going out for sale with bids from prospective buyers due on June 22. She said that she would inform the Councilors of all bids as soon as they are open. The last series of bids from prospective buyers came in at a sale price of few hundred thousand dollars and were rejected by Mayor Carlo DeMaria. The city is presently spending almost $500,00 to heat and maintain the building that sits on almost four acres of land.