It’s time for some good news ... and a fact check.
I am proud to share that the 2020 Budget passed with overwhelming support from the voting Revere City Councillors, who universally lauded the Department Heads for their presentations to the Ways & Means Committee.
The majority of our Councillors were incredibly supportive of the smart financial decisions that have defined my time as Mayor, commending the necessary upgrades, Revere’s good financial standing, and the significant improvements in the delivery of city services.
There was one exception that must be addressed.
While offering no ideas and a meager proposed cut of only .003% of the overall budget, Councilor Dan Rizzo, as usual, chose to grandstand with false and misleading information and refused to vote in favor of the budget. Dan, once again, failed to do his homework and his poorly contrived political stunt falls short. In reality, the City is in the best financial shape of its history.
Here are the facts.
1) While making claims of a bloated City workforce, Dan failed to note that of the approximately 80 new hires over the past two years, 23 were new public safety officials hired to protect our residents and 49 were additional staff hired by the School Department to help educate our children. As Mayor, I believe these are worthy investments in Revere’s future.
2) Dan tried to make a striking comparison between Revere’s budget to that of Malden, but he got it wrong. First, I would hope that he recognizes that Revere is its own city. But second, he quoted a supposed $40 million differential, failing to include Malden’s $30 million in water and sewer enterprise fund. The remaining differential can be seen in our school department, which we fund by approximately $10 million more than Malden. I stand behind investments in improving the delivery of city services to our residents and to the money dedicated to our children’s education.
It’s disappointing to see a sitting elected official mislead the people and his belated critique, after chairing hours of meetings, only highlights his lack of vision for Revere’s future. This is politics at its worst and Dan refuses to acknowledge all the good work that the 2020 Budget reflects. You deserve better from the people you elect.
This year’s budget increase is substantially attributable to fixed costs, including health insurance, pension obligations and the settlement of nearly all collective bargaining agreements for municipal employees accounting for two years of raises. The budget also reflects a continued commitment to public safety and public works — staffing increases will put more firefighters, uniformed police officers, and code enforcement personnel on the streets of our community and equip DPW with the necessary equipment to keep those streets clean and safe.
This budget also represents some exciting news: the opening of a Community Center in the Garfield School, which will be a multigenerational, multicultural, and inclusive space open to all residents and will include access to the gymnasium, auditorium and swimming pool. Also, the Parking Department has received long-overdue major upgrades in meter equipment which will make collecting and tracking more transparent and efficient, with record high projected revenues.
I remain committed, as I did on my first day as Mayor as well as my time on the City Council, to making sure that your tax dollars are being spent to deliver the city services that you expect and deserve, in the most efficient and effective manner. My administration has achieved and maintained a bond rating of AA, the highest rating in Revere’s history. The passing of this budget assures Revere’s continued progress and further solidifies the City’s financial status. I intend to build upon this success and continue to build strong reserves, adopt financial policies and procedures informed by best practices, and pursue smart and responsible economic development.