City Sends Back Unspent $2.3 million COVID Funds Without Explanation

By Paula Sterite and Josh Resnek

The return has returned to the state 2.3 million in COVID emergency funding the city of Everett could have used for a variety of expenditures including school expenses.

City financial records reveal the city wrote a check to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for $2,307,912.85 on June 30, 2022.

The city used some of the total amount it got in COVID emergency funding to pay back the Everett Public Schools for $471,000 of COVID expenses it incurred in 2020, but the payments were made so late in the budgetary process that the School Department never got to use the money.

This raises the question of why the city waited so long to reimburse the city.

In what might be viewed as bureaucratic incompetence or outright political retaliation, the city ultimately refunded the money to the School Department but the refund was too late to be used in the Fiscal Year 2020 budget because the refund arrived after the schools closed their books in 2020.

Unable to spend the money because its books had been closed, the School Department account was swept of the $471,000 by the city and placed into the city’s free cash account.

The result, the School Department is out $471,000 of funding it could have used in a variety of ways in 2021 and 2022 and the city likely used the funds elsewhere.

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