As the City Council convened for its first meeting of the New Year, Ward 3 Councillor Anthony DiPierro called attention to the growing number of homeless individuals congregating at Santilli Circle. “This is right out in the open; it’s not a good situation,” he said during the January 10 meeting.
DiPierro said the number of homeless individuals coming into the city continues to be driven by the closure of the “Mass and Cass” encampment in Boston’s South End. “If it’s not nipped in the bud early enough, it will become a larger issue,” he said.
DiPierro also said the encampment is only one mile from the Madeline English School. Therefore, he called upon the Inspectional Services Department to rectify the situation.
Ward 1 Councillor Wayne Matewsky said he recently observed six tents and a campfire at Santilli Circle, adding that the situation “isn’t a homeless issue.” “These people choose to do this,” said Matewsky.
He also said homeless encampments tarnish the city’s image. “We’re in Everett, here,” said Matewsky. “We’re up the street from a $3 billion casino and you’ve got people nesting.”
Councillor-at-Large Richard Dell Isola said that while his heart goes out to those individuals, action is still necessary. “I don’t want to throw them out and take away their tents, but we have to do something,” he said. “I don’t know if the state has to get involved because it is their property, but it’s our city.”
The City Council voted unanimously to refer the matter to the Committee on Public Safety.
In other news, Ward 2 Councillor Stephanie Martins suggested a meeting of the Committee of the Whole to discuss the overall compensation package for Mayor Carlo DeMaria.
Matewsky said that while the City Council has the authority to change the mayor’s salary, it would be four years before the new figure took effect. He also said there would be no purpose in referring the matter to the Committee of the Whole. “We can discuss it right now,” said Matewsky. “The mayor’s salary is set, pretty much, in stone. We’re not going to decrease it, that’s for sure.”
Councillor-at-Large Michael Marchese once again took aim at DeMaria’s longevity pay. “This is a travesty, what’s been happening,” said Marchese, adding that the longevity figure was increased without the City Council’s knowledge. “Somebody changed it somewhere. You either work for the corner office or you work for the people of Everett.”
The council voted 9-2 to refer the matter to the Committee of the Whole.
Public safety facility for Encore
Matewsky said there has been an uptick in the number of times that the Police and Fire Departments have responded to incidents at Encore Boston Harbor. “It’s like a war zone,” he said.
Therefore, Matewsky recommended that a public safety building be constructed on Lower Broadway specifically to service the casino. “The City of Everett has been good to Encore,” he said, adding that the casino should cover the cost of building the facility. “It’s something that should be built in the next few years.”