A proposed addition to the City’s nuisance/panhandling law would effectively outlaw begging within city limits.
Monday night, Councilor-At-Large Michael Marchese proposed an addition to the law stating that “it shall be unlawful for any person to beg or solicit money or aid in his own behalf in any place of business, house, or upon any of the streets of Everett.”
The proposal was forwarded to the Council’s Legislative Affairs Committee for further discussion and review.
While there are laws on the books regarding panhandling, Marchese said his proposal would help strengthen those existing laws.
Councilor-At-Large Wayne Matewsky said with the Encore resort and casino opening soon, the addition to the law is needed now more than ever.
“There are going to be a lot of visitors to our community,” said Matewsky. “I’ve been to the casino and seen the panhandlers all over the casino area. Our city is going to change quite a bit, so I think we should be prepared.”
Ward 1 Councilor Fred Capone said the City Solicitor should also be involved in discussion over the change in the law, since there could be constitutional issues involved.
But he added that in addition to being a nuisance, many panhandlers create a safety issue by walking in the middle of the street.
Ward 4 Councilor Leo McKinnon said panhandling is already a major issue in the city.
“It’s already happening, and we should be able to enforce it better,” he said.
•In other business, Marchese put forward a resolution that any new piece of business that is placed on the Council calendar be sent to committee without discussion, with the exception of whomever proposed the business. He said the resolution would help cut down on unnecessary discussion of issues only to have the issues referred to committee for further discussion.
“We’ve seen it happen time and time again that we talk about an issue for an hour, an hour and 20 minutes, then decide to stick it in committee,” said Capone. “I think this has merit.”
The Council voted to forward the resolution to the legislative affairs committee.
Councilor-At-Large John Hanlon said he disagreed with the resolution, noting that councilors should have the opportunity to speak on resolutions as they are originally presented.
•The Council also requested that a representative from the Assessor’s Office, as well as Mayor Carlo DeMaria appear before them to discuss and explain the assessment process and the steps implemented to ascertain property values.
Several councilors said they have heard from residents, but especially business owners, concerned about rising property taxes, even as the expected windfall from Encore promises to be right around the corner.
•And in a resolution that likely surprised very few people, the Council requested that a representative from National Grid appear at the next meeting to update it on street light replacements.
Councilor-At-Large Peter Napolitano said there are currently at least a dozen lights out on Ferry Street and seven on Main Street.
McKinnon said requesting that the street lights be replaced is not a new issue. “We need to come up with a better way of dealing with this if they are just going to come up here and ‘yes’ us,” he said. “If we can’t get assurances, we need to do something.”