The City Council’s Ways and Means Committee will discuss at its June 5 meeting the proposal for allocating $1 million in ARPA funding to the Everett Youth Initiative Council.
Councillor-at-Large Stephanie Smith had requested at the last Council meeting that the matter be sent to the Ways and Means for further discussion and her colleagues voted in favor of her request by a 6-3 margin.
Everett High students Thalia Pattino, Shreeya Musyaju, and Kien Lau spoke about the matter at that meeting, mentioning some of the projects that would be funded.
Lau said once the funds are allocated, the Youth Council would seek input from the public, and a vote would be taken by Everett residents on how to prioritize the projects, though the voting process has not been determined.
Ward 2 Councillor Stephanie Martins, an advisor to the Everett Youth Council Initiative, said that councilors will have the opportunity to ask questions about the entire process at the Ways and Means Committee meeting.
“The proposal would then be referred out from the Committee either with no recommendation, an unfavorable recommendation, or favorable recommendation,” explained Martins. “I expect once it gets back to the Council, there will be additional questions before we vote it up or down.”
Martins said there has been some confusion about the issue. “The Council will not be giving a blank check to the students [for funding various projects]. They’re just allocating the money that will sit until the process is completed, and the funds will then go toward the projects that the people have voted for,” said Martins.
Council President Michael Marchese agreed with Smith’s motion to send the matter to the Ways and Means Committee. Marchese spoke after City Clerk Sergio Cornelio clarified that the amount of funding will be $1 million, not $2 million as one councilor had inferred at the meeting.
“I don’t think it’s the amount that’s in question,” said Marchese. “I think it’s the issue of who is going to be overseeing the amount. And that’s why we have to send this [to Ways and Means]. You can’t just write a check to somebody and find out where it’s going unless we get to look at it – it’s not fair to the taxpayers or anybody. We just have to know where the money is going. That’s all. And I think that’s what Councilor Smith is alluding to [with her request].”