After some discussion, the City Council voted 6-3 to delay appropriating $1 million in ARPA funding to the Everett Youth Initiative Council during Monday’s meeting at City Hall.
Councillor-at-Large Stephanie Smith made a motion to send it to the Ways and Means Subcommittee, as they do with all appropriations, in a roll call vote. “I ask that students come with a project plan prior to the meeting,” Smith said.
Ward 2 Councillor Stephanie Martins requested a roll call vote on the motion, believing the Youth Initiative Council shouldn’t have to wait to receive their funding. “I personally witnessed students’ hard work,” Martins said. “The people of this city say where the money should go and will vote on where the money should go.”
Martins said students want to use the $1 million for the people to pitch their ideas and for the people to vote on it. “I don’t think this should go to committee,” Martins said. “I think we should make an exception and vote on it tonight.”
Councillor-at-Large John Hanlon said the motion is not a stranger to the council. “I don’t know what another $1 million will do except put it in the same pocket the first $1 million went in,” Hanlon said. “It won’t go anywhere and just sit there.”
Hanlon said students put in hard work, and he asked that students come to the Ways and Means Subcommittee meeting. “It will be much appreciated by me and them,” Hanlon said. “They can learn a lot more about what’s going on.”
City Clerk Sergio Cornelio said this is the actual appropriation. “We can’t allocate money without the Mayor’s Office,” Cornelio said. “We requested it to leave the Mayor’s Office a few months ago.”
Marchese said the amount isn’t in question, but rather who is overseeing the amount of money. “You can’t just write a check,” Marchese said. “It’s not fair to taxpayers or anybody.”
Marchese said they don’t want to put it in a circle again, and that is what Smith is alluding to.
Ward 3 Councillor Darren Costa said the kids have earned it. “Even if this gets through a committee, they’ll come with details of what they plan to spend for approval,” Costa said. “This is a pre-approval.”
Costa said their plan was pretty well defined. “They earned it,” Costa said. “We’re not giving them anything.”
Councillor-at-Large Richard Dell Isola said he still has questions, but he is all for it. He said that, once the Mayor’s Office agrees on it, he asked students and councillors to come up with a plan where everyone can agree.
Dell Isola said the same would apply to planting trees or installing trash cans – there needs to be a specific plan. “I have a lot of questions on how steps are going to be done,” Dell Isola said.
Smith suggested sending it to committee to avoid any debate. The motion was made and seconded to send it to the Ways and Means Subcommittee and to invite students to bring their plan as to how the money will be appropriated and who will run it next year, according to Marchese. Councillors Dell Isola, Cardillo, Hanlon, Smith, Matewsky and Marchese voted yes, while Costa, Martins and Lattanzi voted no.
Youth Initiative Council member Thalia Patino said Monday that she feels frustrated due to all the hard work they’ve put in and how prolonged the situation is. “I would have loved to have been invited up there to speak and clarify questions councillors like Hanlon, Smith and Dell Isola presented to the group, because I had the answers they were looking for,” Patino said. “Unfortunately, I was shut down and the imprudent assumptions overruled my goal for tonight, which was to finally have them vote to appropriate the $1 million that we’ve been asking for since November to fund youth projects.”
Now, the process has been extended once again, and the decision has passed to the Ways and Means Committee, according to Patino.
The American Rescue Plan (ARPA) provides emergency grants, lending, and investment to small businesses recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.