Encore has successfully traversed the new normal we are all living with by opening for a full week following a four-month shutdown due to the Coronavirus.
While the jury remains out on exactly how successful a week it was, company officials are ebullient that the casino and hotel have reopened, and that a semblance of normalcy has returned to the gaming floor and hotel.
The casino is open 24/7. The hotel has reopened four days a week – Thursday through Sunday.
This translates into positive news for Everett City Hall.
Encore’s in lieu of tax payment to the city brings in $30 million yearly according to the host agreement.
Encore closed, and the city cannot survive financially in its present iteration.
Encore open and doing business, well, that’s a reason for relief, at least for the moment.
Encore has rehired as many as several thousand employees – or called them back after furloughing them – in order to meet the crush of new and costly COVID-19 regulations.
Casino analysts point out that the cost of doing business right now for Encore, and all casinos in the region, is weighted down by the heavy price for having so many employees to watch over hygienic issues when so few people are tending to come to the reopened casinos.
Given the secrecy and the quiet about the city’s budget making efforts, the assumption is that the city must be broke or very close to it.
The mayor and his financial chief, who most often have something to say about the brilliance of their financial meanderings for the city, have remained especially quiet during this budget making period.
When you are the city of Everett, here’s what it means to be broke.
It means that there are very likely millions of dollars in the city Treasury to draw from, but that those millions could be gone with the snap of a finger, just like that.
Having $5 or $6 million on hand in a city of this size with heavy expenses to be met from week to week, is like opening a corner store with only enough money in the register on hand to break a $100 dollar Benjamin Franklin.
Break one Benjamin Franklin and you’re out of business.
Into the second week of July and the City of Everett still doesn’t have a budget. Not even a draft spending plan for the City Council exists and the council doesn’t meet again until September.
According to city hall sources who speak with the Leader Herald, several things have happened during the past ten days.
About 80 men and women have been laid off by the mayor, including a number of eyebrow raisers.
Many clerics in many departments have been let go.
Several employees with strong ties to the mayor have been let go, as well, proving that knowing him and being close with him doesn’t count for much when he lays you off. Some who haven’t been laid off have had their salaries dramatically reduced, according to sources.
The mayor’s chief of staff Kevin O’Donnell has had his salary cut by $50,000 a year, still leaving him $30,000 a year in addition to his state pension.
The Director of Inspectional Services Jim Sopa is said to be leaving rather than be dealt with miserably by the mayor, according to a source. He is believed to be heading to Winthrop.
City Clerk Sergio Cornelio has apparently been stripped of several lucrative duties that pumped up his yearly income.
First came the grand opening of the Encore Boston Harbor in our city in June 2019.
The president at the time, Rob DeSalvio, in an indescribable moment of self-delusion, said the doors would be open forever.
The mayor cried. Everyone on the podium in front of the hotel cheered. The fireworks were launched into the sky. The thick stream of customers flowed into the casino and hotel.
If he noted the opening of this stunning gaming and entertainment achievement on one of the most polluted pieces of land in the United States, Steve Wynn was left to mumble to himself somewhere far away. He was unwelcome at the opening.
Little did DeSalvio know he would soon be asked to leave and then in October the taste of things to come.
Revelations that Wynn Resorts had not paid the city more than $6 million due to it in the form of an in lieu of tax payment got out in the local media.
Company officials reacted swiftly at the time. A check was cut or the money transferred by wire to stop the embarrassment at so rich a company being so late on its payment to the city.
Everyone should have asked why or how such a thing could happen.It was like your richest relative who bought you a car hadn’t made the loan payment, and your car was going to be towed away.
It left you wondering about how rich your relative really is, and whether or not he or she could keep his word.
Encore Boston Harbor’s first year anniversary has been postponed or canceled, however one chooses to look at it, by the coronavirus.
The mayor and his spit and polish chief financial officer Eric Demas are way behind the curve at the present moment with the new budget hanging in the balance.
The bond rating so coveted by the city won’t be helping very much in overcoming the terrifying financial crisis it is facing right now.
In just a few weeks, the city will be forced to figure out a way to support itself financially given the cruel results of the Coronavirus on the local economy and how the city’s treasury will be effected.
The mayor and his financial chief and the city council and the school department with the school committee all need to be right now preparing for the financial cave-in, a shortfall of funding like no other ever experienced in modern times, and very likely to change the course of the local economy for many years to come. Continue reading The coming city budget