By Katy Rogers
During Monday evening’s Council meeting, Mayor Carlo DeMaria was on the agenda to make an appearance to discuss the recent trip to Italy by city officials and employees.
As per request of the Chief of Staff, the Everett City Council unanimously decided to forward the matter to the Committee of the Whole to be discussed at a later date.
The issue had been raised by numerous councillors in a motion put on the agenda for this week, the last Council meeting before the city election. The trip had apparently taken place last summer for the mayor and several City officials to travel to Everett’s sister city in Italy. A contingent from the sister city had traveled to Everett previously.
There are concerns as to how the trip was funded and who traveled.
In other news, the Committee on Ways & Means reported an order to appropriate $2.2 million for paying costs of park improvements, specifically at The Meadows near St. Anthony’s School. The Treasurer, with the approval of the Mayor, is approved to borrow the amount under and pursuant to state law with City bonds authorized by the order.
The $2.2 million would be expected to cover Phase 1, which includes basketball courts, play areas, and landscaping.
It was further discussed that an additional estimate of $500,000 would be needed to complete Phase 2 at a later date, which includes a ballfield and dog park.
City Treasurer Domenic D’Angelo, current acting City Auditor Eric Demis, Director of Planning Tony Sousa, and Arsen Hambardzumian, of NESRA Engineering, were available at the meeting for questions.
Councillor Cynthia Sarnie suggested combining the cost of the phases to enable the park to be completed as one project. Councillor Mike Mangan agreed with Sarnie, stating this would be less disruptive to the neighborhood and community. Councillor Peter Napolitano expressed his concern that it could increase the bonded debt for Everett taxpayers but did not object to the project.
Councillor Rosa DiFlorio asked why the City would borrow an additional $500,000 when it could be taken from available free cash. Councillors John Hanlon and Sal Sachetta determined that the decision of where the additional $500,000 would be funded from is up to the Mayor and the discussion should be focused on the initial proposal of $2.2 million. Ultimately, the Council unanimously voted in favor to appropriate the $2.2 million towards park improvements.
The Committee of the Whole reported that the City appropriate $850,000 for additional costs of remodeling projects at the Parlin School. With the approval of the Mayor, the Treasurer is authorized to borrow or issue bonds or notes to the City with Council approval.
The Council unanimously approved the matter without hesitation.