$239M City Budget Public Hearing For Public Speakers

Hanlon Rejects Dell Isola Call For Answers

By Josh Resnek

A required public hearing on the city’s $249M budget for 2023 attracted the outspoken voices of the vocal Everett trio leading the uprising against the DeMaria Administration.

The trio’s leader, former businessman and lifelong resident John Puopolo, did not mince words with the council about the budget.

“The mayor should resign. Don’t renew Demas’s contract,” he told the council and the ECTV audience.

“The budget has no sensibility for the people and for the changing economy,” he told the Leader Herald.

The trio of speakers raised a half dozen or more questions about the budget being bloated and wasteful, unthinkingly conceived and doomed to raise homeowner taxes.

An effort by Councilor Richard Dell Isola to have CFO Eric Demas answer questions that Puopolo raised along with speakers Paula Sterite and Sandy Juliano about what they consider the city’s out of control spending and failure to make cuts, was not considered.

None of the councilors seemed interested in their questions being answered.

“What difference does it make for us to be here if you don’t answer our questions?” Sterite asked.

Puopolo said the 2023 pro- posed budget is detrimental to the taxpayers.

“By not driving budget reductions across the board it shows the mayor is disconnected from reality and his constituents,” he said.

Puopolo questioned the efficacy of what he called the spend big and tax big budget.

“It is time for the mayor to resign,” he emphasized.

He said struggling residents would be hurt by the budget which pays no heed to their efforts to survive or to tackle run- away spending and waste.

He described the present economic situation in the city where nearly every homeowner and businessowner are facing tax increases, rent increases and in some cases, evictions and repossessions.

“We need transparency and accountability. We don’t need “self-inflicted bad behavior and treatment of employees.”

“Leadership needs to change at the top of the house. The mayor and the CFO must go.”

Sterite was strident about omissions in the budget and exaggerated numbers being attached to a number of city accounts, and excessive raises being given to a bevy of city employees in the mayor’s office when their salaries were high enough.

She claimed five pages had been “conveniently” omitted from the final budget.

“Raises should be kept to 2%. The budget should be paired down by 10%. The fluff should be taken out of the budget,” she added.

She was adamant about want- ing to know, and for all residents to know exactly how much the city spends each year for legal expenses and settlements.

“We should know what’s being spent. We should know what is going in and out of the general fund. Let’s do better on the budget.”

“Out of a $240 million budget city council proposed a half of one percent cut in spending. Residents are making personal cuts in their lives. What is the city doing, readying to raise taxes on struggling residents,” Steriti said.

Juliano basically echoed what her colleagues said, insisting that spending is out of control and that the city needs to get a better hand on the budget.

All three received hearty rounds of applause from the residents seated inside the council chamber.

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