By Josh Resnek
A succession of public speakers denounced the higher tax bills they received at about the first of the New Year and parking woes during the public speaking session preceding the council meeting Monday night.
Everett businessman and an outspoken critic of the mayor John Puopolo said that the administration is fiscally irresponsible and basically doesn’t have clue about how to cut a budget or to save taxpayer money.
Diane Nuzzo, a 40 year resident and an employee of the Everett School Department for 27 years said her tax bill soared.
“My tax bill has gone up $1,500 in one year. When Encore came in, we were promised the money from the casino to the city would be used to keep taxes low. Well, my sister’s home in Lynnfield has taxes lower than mine,” added Nuzzo.
Nuzzo also derided the notion of parking stickers aiding in the quest for more parking spaces for the neighborhoods.
“Why bother getting a sticker when there is no enforcement. Without ticketing and towing, what good is a parking sticker?” she wondered out loud.
She scolded the city council as a do nothing body.
She complained that with the closure of Stop and Shop that Everett was left without a major supermarket for residents to shop at.
“We don’t even have a supermarket to shop in,” she said.
“Many of you I voted for in the past but I will never vote for you again,” she warned the councilors.
“Something has to be done,” she told them.
Joanna Yuckins described her tax bill as “unaffordable” for the people of Everett.
“You people really need to step up and start listening to us,” she added.
She decried the closing of Stop and Shop.
“You can imagine how I felt when I saw the mayor breaking ground with a shovel for 760 new apartment units on the exact place where Stop and Shop stood. Where are we supposed to go shopping?” she asked.
“Where is this going to stop?” she asked.
Paula Steriti complained about a $500,000 ambulance purchased by the city which has not yet been used and has sat inside the Hancock Street fire station for the past six months.
“What’s that all about?” she asked.
She said that online betting would be good for Encore but would contribute no further income to the city.
“The city holds all the cards,” she said. “Revise the host agreement now.”
On taxes, “everyone was caught off guard. The thing that bothered people the most is that none of you councilors asked the administration for a spending cut.”
She also said she believes the mayor received a letter from the Inspector General indicating that he needs to pay back about $180,000 that he received as longevity payments.
She said the mayor was contesting that request.
Maria Bussle claimed the mayor is not invested in the public school children of Everett.
“After hearing repeatedly from all of us and from those in the neighborhood and after promising to carry out the will of the council, the mayor said he would never allow Pope John to be rehabbed.
“Apparently he forgot what he had promised,” she added. “He didn’t keep his word.”
She asked publicly that her statement would not cause her to be retaliated against because she’s a city employee.
“I have the right to express my opinion without the fear of retaliation,” she said.
David Fortin said Pope John will not go away.
“Leave Pope John alone. The mayor said he would do what the council wanted. He never did. He said no. He should be listening to people instead of doing what he wants.”
Fortin also told the council that the mayor should not be a member of the school committee.
“He is the mayor,” he said.
Several more speakers denounced the parking woes they must deal with.
One speaker suggested residential parking only.
Wendy Poste continued her search for justice by requesting that those convicted of sexual offenses and placed on the sex offender list should guarantee they cannot work for the city of Everett.
The council later discussed the matter sending it to committee for more study.
The Everett Youth Initiative Council has requested $1 million in funding from the city’s ARPA account to be used primarily as a learning tool for the city’s youth leaders at the high school to learn the funding process, to develop a timeline and to identify, with the aid of the council, p[laces where the money would be best spent. This too was sent to the administration for comment.