By Sara Brown
The Revere City Council on Monday night made only one cut to the mayor’s proposed $206,992,903 FY19 budget, which was unanimously passed. During the June 25 Ways and Means Subcommittee meeting, the council proposed their budget cuts after a week-long meeting with department heads to discuss the budget. Councillor-at-Large Dan Rizzo was the only councillor to propose cuts.
Rizzo pointed out there are 65 new positions created within the budget and 19 of them are on the government side; the rest are within the School Department. “I don’t know what to say about that, but it is an awful lot of positions,” said Rizzo.
Rizzo proposed that the City Council cut $50,000 for outside legal services. “Why give the money up front if it’s not needed now?” said Rizzo.
The cut passed. The only councillors voting in opposition were Steve Morabito, Ira Novoselsky, and Jessica Giannino.
Rizzo also proposed a $1 million cut to the city’s health insurance. The city was asking for $20 million for health care insurance, which is a $2.4 million increase from last year. Rizzo said in the last four years health insurance has gone up 6 percent but with the proposed amount it would have gone up 13 percent in one year. Rizzo called the increase mind-boggling.
However, City Auditor Richard Viscay suggested they do not play with the number because employee’s premiums would have to be calculated differently if they make a cut. “I would recommend not fooling around with it,” he said.
However, Rizzo didn’t agree. “Sometimes people come up to the podium and say things that make no sense, and you are just supposed to believe it,” he said.
Councillor-at-Large George Rotondo also didn’t understand the increase and said he was against it during the regular City Council meeting. However, Ward 3 Councillor Arthur Guinasso said it made sense, and time to talk about the cuts was at the subcommittee meeting. “We had so many meetings; that was the time to talk about any issues – not now,” he said. “I respect the subcommittee.”
“Some of us work and are not retired,” retorted Rotondo. “It’s not my fault if you’re ignorant and don’t understand health care.”
The cut failed with Councillors Morabito, Novoselsky, Giannino, Guinasso, Patrick Keefe and John Powers voting against it. No other councillors suggested any cuts to the budget.
After the one cut was approved, the council unanimously passed a budget of $192,676,571, which is down from the proposed budget of $206,992,903. This will include the addition of five Dept. of Public Works laborers, three new police officers and four new firefighters.
Mayor Brian Arrigo must now approve the amended budget.