Clarify my position on new City Hall
I would like to take a moment of your time to explain the recent actions of the City Council in regards to last Monday’s Council meeting. Presently there is a Bond Order to borrow $17 million dollars to fund several important purchases and projects going forward into the next fiscal year. There is one item that has the concern of several councilors. Within this Order is an appropriation of $3 million dollars to start the process of converting the old high school into a New City Hall and Police Station. Once this process starts, according to the Administration, the City will be borrowing up to an additional $85 million dollars over the next five years.
At a recent finance committee meeting, the Administration cited the conditions at the current Everett Police station and the maintenance problems at the current City Hall as the need for this project. Now I do not have any issues with the designs that were presented before the Council, but the Mayor also stated that there would be a badly needed new fire station built to replace Central Station, a new recreational building and an additional Elementary school constructed within the same time period. With the exception of the school, this represents the largest, unassisted set of projects in Everett’s history. We will potentially be borrowing substantially more than what is being proposed over the next five to six years. This is not politics as some would believe, it is finances. We are being told that the City can afford to do this due to monies we will obtain from the casino project and a hotel potentially to be built on the Parkway. To date, the City of Everett has not received any money from these projects but we are still being asked to approve borrowing against this potential revenue. How is this not spending money we have not received yet?
Unlike the school rebuilding projects of the last decade which were reimbursed by the State at up to 80%, these projects are not subsidized and will increase the amount of the City’s debt substantially over the next 5 to 6 years. If this is not a classic example of “wants” versus “needs,” I do not know what is. There is no question in my mind that there is a need for a new fire station. Our firemen have been waiting decades for a new building that can support modern firefighting equipment but they are being placed on the backburner again. The Police station is not that old but has been shown to be poorly designed and unable to sustain the needs of modern law-enforcement. Public safety, given the future growth of Everett, needs to be the top priority and the current project at the old high school, although a beautiful design, only addresses the law-enforcement need.
Some of my colleagues and I may be asking to remove the $3 million dollars to start the process to convert the high school from the Bond Order. We would like to hear a more concise plan as to the cost and timeline for not only a high school conversion to a new city hall and police station, but also the other items the Mayor mentioned such as a new fire station, a new recreation center and the new elementary school. We would like the direct input from the voters this fall in the form of a referendum on whether you feel the City should borrow up to $88 million dollars over the next 5 years to convert the old high school into a new city hall. This will be the largest unassisted spending project in Everett’s history. Despite the Administrations’ assurances, it is inconceivable that so much money can be borrowed & spent while maintaining the City’s infrastructure without further negatively affecting our already high residential and commercial tax rates. Please keep an open mind on both sides of this issue and let us know where you stand. We are all only looking to Everett’s future prosperity for generations to come. Thank you for your attention.
Peter A. Napolitano
Let us never forget
As we approach both Memorial Day and Father’s Day and people of Everett should know that during the past few years the City has lot 2 of its longtime residents and public servants – brothers Andy Guarino, Jr. (“Zeke”) and Eddie Guarino.
Andy and Eddie were lifelong residents of Everett, veterans of WWII, and longtime city employees.
Shortly after WWII began both men enlisted in the armed services-Andy proudly served for the duration of the war as a Machinists’ Mate First Class in the US Navy aboard the USS Merrimack, which transported oil in the dangerous waters of the North Atlantic. Eddie was a private in the 101st Airborne Division serving as a paratrooper in the European Theater and at the Battle of the Bulge where he earned the Bronze Star for valor. They were both very proud of their service to their country.
Andy and Eddie returned home to Everett after the war where Andy married Mary Gianatassio and Eddie married Lorraine Hogan and together they raised 5 children. For many years thy both served the City of Everett with distinction and pride. Andy as a member of the Water Department and Eddie as a Lieutenant on the Everett Police Force.
They lived humble lives in Everett as devoted husbands, fathers, blue-collar workers, and union members – men of character, principles and high moral values, a credit to their families and the City of Everett. They taught their children by their example to work hard, be loyal, and maintain a high moral standard.
Andy and Eddie were part of the “Greatest Generation” – a term coined by journalist Tom Brokaw to describe the generation who grew up in the United States during the tough times of the Great Depression, and then went on to fight for their county in World War II. Brokaw wrote in 1998, “…It is, I believe, the greatest generation any society has ever produced.” He argued that these men and women fought not for fame and recognition, but because it was the right thing to do.” Brokaw asserted that these men and women developed values of “ personal responsibility, duty, honor and faith.” They returned home from the war to raise their families, find a job, and enjoy their lives in peace. As these members of the Greatest Generation slowly disappear I believe we owe them a debt of gratitude for all they have done for our country, their hometowns, and for their families. They have taught us by their example of sacrifice, hard work, and mental toughness 0 their honesty, dedication and achievement.
The Greatest Generation and the City of Everett has lost 2 great ones, Andy and Eddie Guarino. We should always remember their service to and sacrifice for their country in time of great peril and need and for their dedication and devotion to making the City of Everett a better and safer place to live. Men and women like them helped shape our county into what it has become today, a country of freedom and personal liberty for all, values we sometimes take fro granted.
Let us never forget what these two men and others of their great generation have accomplished and the example they have left for us.
Andy Guarino, III