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News

Mayor submits $227 million FY18 budget

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At a joint session of the City Council and School Committee on Monday, city officials got their first look at Mayor Carlo DeMaria’s $227,398,677 FY18 budget. City Auditor and Chief Financial Officer Eric Demas presented the budget to the council, filling in for Mayor DeMaria, who could not attend the meeting due to a “pressing matter” which came up at the last minute.

According to Demas, while the budget total appears to be significantly larger than previous year’s budget (which came in at $205,569,572), this is largely because the city is now including state and county chargebacks in its totals, which the city had always paid (typically through state aid) but had not previously accounted for in its budget totals.

Under the proposed budget, the city would levy $100,371,904 in property taxes, leaving an excess tax capacity of just under $9 million below the city’s levy limit of $109,258,479. The city levied $98,197,960 under the FY17 budget.

The remainder of the budget will be funded through other revenue sources. The city is anticipating that it will receive $10,279,000 in local receipts, $73,500,817 in state aid, $18,127,319 in Enterprise Fund Revenue and $14,500,000 from “other financing sources.”

City expenses under the proposed budget total at $56,586,185 comprise:

General government expenses: $6,951,286

Public Safety: $31,989,717

City Services: $11,839,271

Human Services: $3,797,492

Libraries and Recreation: $2,008,419

The School Department foundation budget is $92,101,035, though after subtracting chargebacks to the city for shared expenses and adding $4,600,000 for special education transportation, the true total School Department budget comes to $74,685,290.

The City also has fixed costs totaling $51,688,898, comprised of the following:

Retirement assessment: $14, 431,080

Employee insurance: $20,853,473

Federal Insurance Contributions (FICA): $1,415,294

Employee injuries: $702,000

Property and liability insurance: $1,626,563

Debt service: $12,660,488

According to Demas, the city’s financial health is strong. Standard & Poor’s recently issued a bond rating for the city of AA+, the second-to-highest rating. There is currently $7,590,008 in the city’s Stabilization Fund, $2,521,865 in its Capital Improvement Stabilization Fund and 3,484,186 in its OPEB Liability Trust, and the city will soon receive 12.5 million from Wynn Resorts towards its Community Enhancement Stabilization Fund.

Two public Budget Committee meetings have been scheduled, both of which will be held in the council chambers on the third floor of City Hall. The school budget will be reviewed on Wednesday, May 31 at 6 p.m., while the city budget will be considered on Saturday, June 3 at 8 a.m. The Budget Committee is expected to report out to the full council on Monday, June 12. The hearings will be televised.

Copies of the budget are available on the city’s website, in the city clerk’s office and at the Parlin Library.

 

City revokes TIF agreement with Exelon Mystic plant

After months of hushed discussion on the matter, on Monday the City Council voted unanimously in a special meeting requested by Mayor Carlo DeMaria to prematurely decertify and revoke the City of Everett’s 20-year Tax Increment Financing Agreement (TIF) with the Exelon Mystic Generating Station on Alford Street. Much of Monday’s meeting was conducted in “executive session,” a procedure in which the council may privately discuss a matter which relates to “ongoing litigation” involving large sums of money. Upon emerging from the session, the council voted 9-0 to decertify the agreement with no further discussion.

Councillor-at-Large John Hanlon was absent from the meeting; a seat occupied by Councillor-at-Large Michael Mangan, who resigned, and expected to be filled by former Councillor Cynthia Sarnie next week, currently remains vacant.

Councillors have been reluctant to comment or provide details on the issue. In a statement, Mayor Carlo DeMaria said simply that he felt decertifying the agreement “was in the best interest of the City.” Several councillors spoke after the meeting about how Exelon “wasn’t doing its part” under the agreement, but could not divulge any details.

It has been a common subject of conversation in the city for some time; however, that a number of construction projects have occurred at the site which have added value to the property, with no corresponding increase in Exelon’s payments to the City of Everett under their payment formula.

Exelon officials maintain that they have complied with the agreement since its inception. “Exelon and prior Mystic Plant owners have made all payments to and for the benefit of the City of Everett that were negotiated in the original TIF agreement, have paid all taxes due under the TIF, and have complied with all other conditions of the TIF over the past 16 years,” said Exelon Vice President of Public Advocacy Marshall Murphy in a statement. Murphy also indicated that Exelon will “continue to address this legal matter and values its collaborative and cooperative relationship with Everett.”

But Monday’s vote is not the end of the matter. While it signaled the city’s desire to leave the agreement and started the process, the issue will still have to go before the Economic Assistance Coordinating Council for the decertification to be official.

The City’s TIF agreement with Exelon (technically with the owners of the Mystic Generating Station, which has been shuffled between a number of corporate owners in the last two decades, including two distinct stints as owners by Exelon) was first approved in 1998 and went into effect in 2000. Without Monday’s vote, it would have remained in place until at least June 30, 2020. The 20-year term of the agreement was the maximum length of such agreements allowed by the state.

In the late 90s, the station’s current owners, Sithe Energies (acquired by Exelon in 2003) undertook a $604 million project to demolish the site and construct a new natural gas plant. In the midst of this project, Sithe negotiated a TIF with the City that promised to create 1,100 construction jobs and 35 permanent full-time jobs, in exchange for a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreement with the City. Under this agreement, the company paid $1.5 million to the City in 2000, as well as a one-time, $1 million contribution to the refurbishment of the Central Fire Station.

   

Sounds of Everett

Remembering Leader Herald Publisher
Last week the city learned of the passing of Joseph Curnane, Jr., publisher of the Everett-Leader Herald at the young age of 63. Joe, Jr. as he was called by many, carried on the tradition given to him by his father, the late Joseph Curnane who was a highly-respected businessman and community leader in Everett for decades. The Curnane family name was part of the fabric of the city in education, business, and especially, politics. Upon the passing of the family patriarch, Joe, Jr. continued publishing the century-old Everett-Leader Herald News & Gazette without missing a deadline. Joe could be seen delivering his weekly editions to various stores, always with a warm greeting to all. Like his dad, Joe knew everyone – whether it was the mailman to the mayor, his office door on Church St. was open to all. Joe was blessed by a wonderful family and dedicated staff of Mary, who anchored the office every day, and Brenda, who put the edition together every week. Anyone who knew him could always relate a funny anecdote Joe offered which always left you laughing. I say this with firsthand familiarity - Joe, Jr. was a good man, a dedicated family and businessman as witnessed at his wake on Wednesday. He was all Everett, all the time. He will be truly missed. Rest in Peace, Joe.

Congratulations, New England Patriot’s

No one could have written a better ending to the New England Patriots season. Beginning with the upheld four-game suspension of our beloved gridiron leader Tom Brady to the shocking trade of defensive stalwart Jamie Collins, a Patriots fan could occasionally have reason to doubt a playoff berth given the rise of National Football Conference foe the Atlanta Falcons. But as Pats fans, we know that the leadership of head coach Bill Belichick – along with defensive and QB coach Matt Patricia and Josh McDaniels, respectively – will always have an answer for any opponent. How lucky we are to be Patriots football fans – and five Super Bowl championships!

And of course, we have to thank the Patriots’ ownership: Bob Kraft and son, Jonathan, who years ago, with Bob’s late wife, Myra, bought the team from the Sullivan family and created the football dynasty we have today.

As approximately one million Patriot Nation fans gathered in Boston for Tuesday’s Duck Boat Parade – offering their show of appreciation for their team on their Super Bowl victory – we congratulate them on their behavior as they represented the best that fans can be.

As New Englanders we are truly blessed to live in the City of Champions. Congratulations, New England Patriots, on your exciting, never-say-die Super Bowl LI Championship. GO PATS – WE WANT SIX!

   

Make a Vow to Lower Blood Pressure and Reduce Sodium Intake during American Heart Month

February is American Heart Month and as a leading community-based organization committed to improving the nation’s health, the YMCA urges everyone in Malden, Medford and Everett to help prevent heart disease by lowering your blood pressure. Two ways to keep the pressure off your heart are by monitoring your blood pressure and reducing sodium intake.

According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease is the nation’s number one killer, responsible for 1 in 3 deaths each year in the United States. Additionally, 32.6 percent—about 80 million adults—have high blood pressure with less than half having it under control. High blood pressure is most prevalent in minority communities, and is often referred to as “The Silent Killer” because there are typically no warning signs or symptoms.

To address the prevalence of heart disease, the Y has made a national commitment to the Million Hearts campaign, an initiative spearheaded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CDC and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that aims to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes.

As part of this commitment, the Malden YMCA is increasing the availability of the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program – which is part of the CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program. The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program helps adults at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles to help reduce their chances of developing the disease. Type 2 diabetes is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and people with diabetes are twice as likely to have heart disease or suffer a stroke as those who do not have it.

The Malden YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program provides a supportive environment where participants work together in a small group to learn about eating healthier, increasing their physical activity and making other behavior changes with the goal of reducing body weight by 7 percent in order to reduce their risk for developing diabetes. A trained lifestyle coach leads the program over a 12-month period beginning with 16 weekly sessions followed by bi-weekly, then monthly maintenance sessions. Increased physical activity and moderate weight loss not only reduce diabetes risk, but also have an impact on lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.

Besides monitoring your blood pressure, reducing sodium intake is a great way to keep your heart healthy. Per the American Heart Association (AHA), too much sodium in your system puts an extra burden on your heart and blood vessels. In some people, this may lead to or raise high blood pressure. Everyone, including kids, should reduce their sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day (about 1 teaspoon of salt). Having less sodium in your diet may help you lower or avoid high blood pressure.

“There are many factors in keeping your heart healthy and having a handle on your blood pressure and sodium intake are effective tools in the preventing heart disease,” said Martin Dubovic, Director of Healthy Living, Malden YMCA “Whether you have high blood pressure, are at risk for heart disease or want to keep your heart healthy the Y has resources that can help achieve better health.”

In addition to programs and services offered in Malden, Medford and Everett, the Y offers the following tips from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help reduce sodium in your diet.

1.        Think fresh: Most of the sodium Americans eat is found in processed foods. Eat highly processed foods less often and in smaller portions—especially cheesy foods, such as pizza; cured meats, such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs, and deli/luncheon meats; and ready-to-eat foods, like canned chili, ravioli and soups. Fresh foods are generally lower in sodium.

2.        Enjoy home-prepared foods: Cook more often at home—where you are in control of what’s in your food. Preparing your own foods allows you to limit the amount of salt in them.

3.        Fill up on veggies and fruits—they are naturally low in sodium: Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits—fresh or frozen. Eat a vegetable or fruit at every meal.

4.        Adjust your taste buds: Cut back on salt little by little—and pay attention to the natural tastes of various foods. Your taste for salt will lessen over time. Additionally, keep salt off the kitchen counter and the dinner table and substitute spices, herbs, garlic, vinegar or lemon juice to season foods.

5.        Boost your potassium intake: Choose foods with potassium, which may help to lower your blood pressure. Potassium is found in vegetables and fruits, such as potatoes, beet greens, tomato juice and sauce, sweet potatoes, beans (white, lima, kidney), and bananas. Other sources of potassium include yogurt, clams, halibut, orange juice and milk.

The Malden YMCA offers a community of diverse individuals who can support all people in meeting their health and well-being goals. Learn more by visiting www.ymcamalden.org or calling 781-324-7680.

   

Family thanks Everett PD & FD for compassion in time of loss

~ Letter-to-the-Editor ~

Dear Editor,

My family and I would like to thank the Everett Police Department and the Everett Fire Department for their compassion and professionalism with the death of my brother, Tom Lucey.

We would also like to extend a personal thank you to Sargent Paul Durant, EPD and Captain Mike Nigro, EFD for the kindness and empathy they displayed to my mother during our family’s tragedy. To Kevin Noonan and the entire Everett Department of Public Works, my family will never be able to repay you for all that you have done and continue to do. You were all so selfless and helpful during this difficult time.

Each and every call, visit, delivery and text helped our family navigate this unfathomable situation and knowing we have so many caring people to lean on during our darkest days is what is helping us through this difficult time. The outpouring of love and support and the community coming together sharing in our loss is what makes this city so special.

We would also like to thank the Enforcers MC (all chapters) for their thoughtful words of encouragement and their continued support.

Forever grateful,

The Lucey Family

   

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