The upcoming Everett City Budget is a mish mush of flagrant and superficial listings that fails to itemize entirely expenditures throughout its large mass.
The Everett City Budget, which advertises itself as award winning is a farce and in many respects, is a fraud perpetrated on the taxpayers of this city.
The last several Award Winning Budgets did not include the fact that Mayor Carlo DeMaria was being paid $40,000 a year for a longevity payment that should have been $2,500 a year.
The funds to pay the mayor for this unlisted $40,000 item that should have been included in the budget for all to see were paid to him with vacation and sick time funding.
Two $20,000 payments were issued to the mayor last year so he could receive the $40,000 longevity payment that he had been receiving for the past four years without his name attached to expenditure and disbursement in the budget.
Those of us bewildered to the point of exhaustion by trying to understand the budget’s mumbo jumbo with taxpayer dollars have come to understand this: the budget is all about secrets and fakes.
It is about hidden raises about to be given to the mayor’s staff so they will stay in place and keep their mouths shut.
It is about financial dealings that appear to be year to year but are actually financial deals that extend over many years.
These items need to be prorated to be understood.
Reading the budget is not about reading the simple line item and then saying to one- self – “Oh. We’re all set. There’s the exact expense.”
This isn’t the case with the award winning Everett budget.
Councilor Stephanie Smith has been study- ing the budget.
She was outraged at what she found.
She expressed that outrage two week ago at a public meeting.
She said the budget is riddled with inexplicable numbers not extended in any meaningful way that basically obstructs the meaning of a sane, sound and transparent budget.
For instance, Smith noted that many items in the budget are not simply a single line item, but items spread out over years.
These items must be explained with more diligence and attention to detail.
Millions of dollars are likely involved that are not revealed in the budget.
Whose work is this?
Chief Financial Officer Eric Demas is the man in charge of the award winning budget.
Demas should get an award for the various items he hides inside the sprawling budget.
Demas is more a magician than a financial expert. He knows the intricacies of the budget. He understands what to put in the budget and what to hide in the budget and what to leave of the budget.
Smith has called his bluff. It is a shame she is away on vacation when the budget is gone over for two days.
Smith claims a budget like Everett’s should be explored almost line for line and not for two days but for at least two weeks.
Last week’s governmental failure to form a quorum for the long awaited budget hearing was a disaster.
Frankly, it was just another embarrassment tied to a string of them regarding the DeMaria Administration’s failure to provide transparency in the budget process.
This was a move that made it easier to pass the budget without proper review, something the mayor privately applauds but publicly denies.
The failure to post by name for everyone to see Mayor DeMaria’s $40,000 longevity payment is an admission and an omission of the first order from the Everett city budget.
Demas and all those who work by his side should be reprimanded for hiding such payments to the mayor.
They can deny it all they want, but the payments were hidden, and they were hid- den for a reason, the reason being, they were not proper and many believe, as does Attorney Fred Capone, they were illegal – a fraud is what Capone, the former councilor who would have been mayor, has referred to them.
The useless city council busies itself with nothingness while budget secrets multiply.
We have come to expect this from the city council.
However, a new day is at hand. People are rising up. Questions are being asked.
The bent city budget is now in question.
The budget needs to be studied for longer than a day or two.