The financial good news from Christmas Eve hit the City coffers on Monday night, as the City Council voted to approve an additional $3.1 million in federal CARES Act funding that was announced on Christmas Eve.
The approval represented one of three key grants procured by the Administration and approved on Monday night by the Council.
None was as hard fought as the $3.188 million in CARES Act money, according to Mayor Carlo DeMaria. The mayor relayed at his State of the City Address on Feb. 4 – and previously in an announcement on Christmas Eve – that the state had rejected Everett in its request to get an additional disbursement of CARES Act monies last fall. After a full-court press by DeMaria and his Administration, Gov. Charlie Baker finally announced in December that Everett would, in fact, receive the $3.118 million.
The money has been earmarked for homeowner stabilization and rental assistance. The Council approved the grant by an 11-0 vote. Additional federal money is expected to be delivered this spring to the City as well from the December Stimulus funding bill that passed Congress.
The second grant came from the Mass Gaming Commission (MGC) planning study grant of $100,000 to begin a close look at the Mystic River Designated Port Area (DPA) uses. The City is angling to reclaim part of the waterfront in the Mystic DPA, which sits along the waterfront and across from the Encore Boston Harbor casino. Both the casino, the City and other entities would like to see the DPA be modified for other water-dependent uses, such as a Cruise Ship Terminal and a HarborWalk – perhaps even more traditional items like a hotel as well.
The planning process is expected to begin sometime later this year.
The final grant was a $375,000 construction grant to get the Northern Strand Community Trail Extension project going.
That grant was the key to unlocking further financing to build out the path from West Street to the Mystic River – with the hopes that one day the Mystic River Pedestrian Bridge would be constructed and fully connect the path from Nahant to downtown Boston. Construction on the extension is to begin once the winter lifts.
•George Lane Named ISD Director
Long-time Facilities Maintenance Chief George Lane was voted in unanimously as the next director of the Inspectional Services Department (ISD). Lane has been around the Department for some time, and has led an innovative, in-house building crew that has renovated public spaces and buildings around the city for several years.
Now, he has been elevated to director of the entire department, filling the vacancy left when Jim Soper passed away suddenly last year.
“It’s nice to be liked, but it’s even better to be respected and liked,” said Council President Wayne Matewsky. “That’s what I hear from everyone I talk to about Mr. Lane. Mr. Soper did great things and Mr. Lane will have big shoes to fill, but I’m confident he’ll do a great job.”
•School Committee Salary Adjustment
The City Council voted 10-1 on Monday night to make an upward adjustment to the Everett School Committee salary and institute annual cost of living increases.
Starting in 2022, the salary will move to $12,500 per year with Cost of Living Adjustments of 2.5 percent per year. In 2026, the salary will move to $15,000 per year along with the adjustments.
Councilor Rosa DiFlorio explained that the increase is not a raise, but rather fixing an issue from the past. Apparently, when the Council increased its salary a few years ago, it was supposed to also increase for the School Committee. That did not happen though.
She said this was simply correcting that error.
Councilor Michael Marchese voted against it.
•Moments of Silence
At least eight people commanded a Moment of Silence at the Council on Monday night, with several of them dying recently of COVID-19 related complications.
Chief among those recalled on Monday was Lena Parker, who worked in the Everett Public Schools and was the mother of School Committee Chair Frank Parker.