The Revere City Council voted 9-0 Monday night to declare a budget emergency that will allow Mayor Dan Rizzo and the City’s Financial team to make emergency payments related to the tornado on July 28, including expenses related to paying for shelter for those who have been left homeless.
Rizzo told the Council that late in the day on Monday the state Department of Revenue (DOR) contacted the City with options the City had within municipal finance laws to ease the pain of the expensive clean up.
“It is our Director of Finance’s recommendation that the City declare a local state of emergency in order to utilize this section of Massachusetts General Laws,” read Rizzo’s letter.
The approval, Rizzo said, allows the City to continue with the clean up efforts despite not having a specific budget for the spending. All of it, of course, is done with the hope that reimbursement money might be available from insurance companies and state agencies.
Anything that isn’t reimbursed will be pushed to next year’s budget and included in the 2016 tax rate rather than this year’s tax rate.
Councillor Brian Arrigo had concerns that the City wouldn’t fall victim to any contractor or landscaper scams.
“I just don’t want there to be an issue with a vendor because there are predatory folks out there right now,” he said. “We know a lot of the vendors, but there are vendors who kind of come out of the woodwork. They could submit phony bills.”
Rizzo said the City is prepared for that.
While the situation is kind of fluid, he said that each and every storm-related bill will be approved or rejected by a department head. Following that, the City Financial Team as an extra precaution will review each bill.
“It’s going to be a work in progress,” Rizzo said. “We’re still identifying problems that have taken a week to identify.”
Most of all, councillors on Monday used the meeting as a platform to praise the City and its residents for coming together in fine fashion to recover quickly from such an unexpected event.
“This was a real Revere effort,” said Councillor Jessica Giannino. “We really came together when we had to.”
Said Council President Tony Zambuto, “It was incredible to watch how everyone united to help one another. Whether black, white, red or yellow, it didn’t matter who you were. Everyone stepped up.”