Following nearly two hours of additional questioning of city department heads and Mayor Carlo DeMaria, the Everett City Council voted to approve a $154,363,765 fiscal year 2015 operating budget for the City of Everett, which was just $85,000 less than what had been proposed by the mayor from the outset.
First year Councilor Fred Capone recommended a total of seven amendments to the budget, which had they all been adopted would’ve reduced the budget by a total of $322,000. However, the Council voted against nearly all of the proposed amendments, mustering only the needed seven votes to reduce the City Services salary line item by $85,000, which Capone pointed out equals the cost of a proposed new Budget Manager position in the department.
However, since department heads have great flexibility within their departmental budgets, and because Mayor DeMaria indicated that he still sees value in the proposed Budget Manager position, the city is likely to hire someone to fill that role anyway, and perhaps reduce the department somewhere else to accomplish that.
A separate amendment to reduce the Mayor’s salary line item by $58,000, by Councilor Sal Sachetta was also defeated by the Council on a close 6-5 vote. Sachetta had indicated that he did not see the need to fund greeter positions at City Hall.
During the course of the budget discussion, Capone reiterated time and again that his recommendations were not intended as criticisms of the departments their performance of management, but simply an attempt to save taxpayer money.
“This is simply a reflection of the times we are living in,” said Capone. “We are very fortunate to have a lot of good, hardworking people working for the city of Everett. I just feel we need to ask them to stretch a little further.”
However, Mayor DeMaria made an impassioned plea to the Council, during a discussion to reduce the City Services general overtime budget by $100,000, to consider the fact that he had already reduced departmental requests by $1.5 million in building his proposed budget and asked for the leeway to implement and work with that budget.
Among Capone’s failed amendments was a motion to reduce the City Council’s expenses line item by $22,000; a motion to reduce the Inspectional Services Ovettime account by $10,000; the earlier mentioned motion to reduce $100,000 from the City Services overtime budget; a motion to reduce the Planning and Community Development budget by $40,000; a motion to reduce the Human Services budget by $30,000; and a motion to reduce the Recreation Budget by $35,000.
All of Capone’s proposed reduction were targeted at line items that included either new positions and programs or overtime and expenses.