By Joseph Domelowicz Jr.
Council authorizes letter to school building authority
The City Council voted unanimously Monday night to support the Everett Schools’ request to submit a Statement of Interest letter to the Massachusetts School Building Authority, for an addition or some other solution to the Everett High School.
One week after the School Committee unanimously took the same action, the vote effectively authorizes Superintendent of Schools Frederick Foresteire, the School Committee and school administration to inform the MSBA that the city is interested in looking at solutions for its current and anticipated overcrowding problems it faces at the school.
Assistant Superintendent Dr. Thomas Stella, appeared before the Council, explained the purpose of the letter and answered questions about the process.
According to Stella, the high school is currently about 250 students over its maximum capacity and enrollment projections show that will only get worse over the next several years. However, the Statement of Interest does not commit the city to build an addition or a second school, it simply asks the state to consider allowing Everett to enter the school building process to identify potential solutions.
Council appropriates $150,000 for roadway consultants
The Council also unanimously approved an appropriation request by the administration for $150,000 to provide independent review of roadway engineering and design plans being prepared by Wynn development associated with the casino development on lower Broadway.
As part of its mitigation agreement with Everett and other surrounding communities, Wynn is designing roadway improvements to several streets and intersection to improve traffic flow and limit negative impacts of the development.
The $150,000 approved by the council will pay for independent third-party engineers to review those plans and advocate in the best interests of the city. The funding will ultimately be reimbursed by Wynn as well.
Florence Park to be completed in June
Planning and Development Director Tony Sousa told the Council on Monday night that plans and progress on Florence Street Park are continuing on schedule and he expects the park to be completed by June of this year.
According to a memo Sousa prepared for the Council, last week the contractor established the retaining wall footing and assembly of blocks near the tot lot. Equipment for the new playground and splash park has been ordered and trees and plantings are being installed over the next week or so.
Sousa told the Council he was satisfied with the progress made so far and he believes the park will be completed in the current fiscal year.
Council grants request for 60-day delay in CIP, will vote again in 2 weeks
The Council also voted to grant a request by Mayor Carlo DeMaria’s office and new CFO/Auditor Eric Demas to authorize a 60-day delay in the charter requirement that the Mayor present a Capital Improvement Plan.
The reason for the delay, according to a letter from the CFO and City Solicitor Colleen Mejia, is the City of Somerville’s appeal of the Wynn projects Chapter 91 licenses. That court appeal has slowed process on the project’s request for a building permits and the Mayor’s FY 2017 CIP is likely to rely on a $5 million payment to the city from Wynn, once permits for the project are granted.
“The administration doesn’t want to submit a Capital Improvement Plan in piecemeal,” said Mejia. “The council has the right to have it submitted in full, this delay is requested so that you can get that.”
The Council had questions about whether it could even grant the delay under the terms of the Charter, but Mejia noted that the Charter “grants the council broad authority to interpret the Charter liberally in the best interests of the city,” therefore if the Council determines the delay to be in the best interests of the city as a whole, it can choose to allow the delay.