The city has so far distributed $216,000 in rent and mortgage assistance to those qualifying for it since December, according to the mayor’s chief of staff, who reported the official figure to the city council last week.
Ironically, that amount for rent and mortgage assistance is $53,000 less than what the mayor’s office approved to spend for Christmas decorations and in fact paid for.
More $838 wreaths (about 250) were placed on light poles than applications processed (70) for working people behind on their rent and mortgages because of being laid off from their jobs.
The report from the mayor’s office produced the predictable amount of gushing and perfunctory thank you’s from the mayor’s obedient city government.
“I’m really glad at the great job you’re doing,” Councilor Stephanie Martins gushed.
She told the mayor’s chief of staff at the council’s Zoom meeting she couldn’t say enough about the mayor’s effort.
The mayor’s office revealed to the city council Monday night that the city spent $268,000 for Christmas decorations.
The mayor’s office failed to provide information or documents about the bid process – if any – that preceded the purchase of the Christmas wreaths or the tree or the services of an electrical company to install everything that cost $23,000.
Councilor Fred Capone questioned the $268,000 expense and the procurement effort.
“I am requesting invoices and bid process information,” he told the mayor’s representative.
Capone said he was concerned about the expense for the Christmas decorations and that several constituents had requested that he inquire about them.
At least two councilors have said they will be putting motions on the city council agenda for next week’s meeting to determine who paid for almost $200,000 in Christmas decoration expenses for wreaths and placed on poles around the city.
Questions have been raised by at least two councilors, Fred Capone and Gerly Adrien about who purchased the wreaths, exactly how much they cost, and from what city account were the decorations paid for?
“I have received a number of requests from concerned constituents about the expense involved. They want to know why the city is spending so much money on decorations when we are in a state of virtual emergency,” Councilor Fred Capone told the Leader Herald.
Councilor Adrien said she too would be raising similar questions at the upcoming council meeting.It is believed the distinctive golden and green wreaths with colored lighting were acquired for $800 apiece.