The City Council passed a nearly $181.5
million City Budget for Fiscal Year 2020 Monday night, but not without some
dire warnings about the financial future of the City by a few of the
The $181,486,465 budget passed by an 8-3
vote, with Councillors Damali Vidot, Joe Perlatonda, and Robert Bishop voting
against the 3.7 percent increase over the FY19 budget. The School Department’s
$95.4 million commitment comprises the largest chunk of the budget.
The Council also approved the Water and
Sewer Enterprise accounts for FY20, bringing total City appropriations to
around $205 million, but the water and sewer accounts are paid through the
water and sewer rates, not taxation.
Several attempts were made to cut money from
the budget Monday night, but with the exception of a $1,300 cut in the
Emergency Management department budget, none of those efforts garnered a
Among those failed efforts was one by Vidot
to cut salary lines in the police, fire, and planning budgets.
Vidot proposed the $80,000 cut to the
planning budget, $50,000 to the police, and $100,000 to the fire last year as
well, citing a top heavy administrative budgeting in the Police and Fire
departments, and her displeasure with the way the Downtown Coordinator position
in the Planning Department has panned out.
One of the biggest issues, Vidot said, is
that the Downtown Coordinator has not been properly involved with the small,
local businesses in the city.
“We have to think about the future of this
city, and (the position) is leaving out a huge part of Chelsea,” said Vidot.
Perlatonda said he couldn’t agree with an
effort to cut $80,000 from the planning budget when the Council didn’t take
action to cut millions of dollars from the Department of Public Works budget.
Perlatonda made his own amendments looking
for the cuts in the DPW budget, which would have effectively ended a request by
City Manager Thomas Ambrosino to have the DPW oversee a new City Water and
Sewer Department, rather than contracting for the services.
Those amendments also failed.
Councillor-At-Large Roy Avellaneda also
voted against the cuts to the planning budget, noting several recent city-wide
events that have brought hundreds of people to the downtown area.
Vidot noted that her amendment was not a
personal attack on anyone, but added that City events would more appropriately
be funded in the Recreation Department budget.
In casting his vote against the overall
$181.5 million, Bishop said the constant increases in City spending are
“Last year, I voted against the budget
because it was unsustainable,” said Bishop. “This year, it is even more
unsustainable … this can’t continue. It’s no surprise to everyone that I
usually oppose certain spending.
“I’m against a lot of spending because I
think it is not spent wisely,” he continued. “When is this going to end? I hope
I am not around when the bottom falls out, because it is going to fall.”
District 6 Councillor Giovanni Recupero
voted for the budget, but said the City needs to seriously heed Bishop’s
warning, noting that other large cities in Massachusetts such as Springfield
and Lawrence have seen the economic bottom fall out.
“It can happen anywhere, … and then we will
have to start laying people off,” said Recupero. “We only have 1.8 square miles
in the city, how much can you grow in our city?
“I am going to vote for the budget because
it is the right thing to do now, but like Mr. Bishop said, we have to beware of
the future, because the future is not too far away,” he continued.
Perlatonda said that the budget is rising
without the City doing enough to help its poorer residents through things like
tax and water and sewer rate breaks.
“When is it going to end?” he said. “This budget
needs to be stopped at some point.”
District 8 Councillor Calvin Brown said the
councillors have gone through a long budget process with ample chance to make
amendments or address their concerns to Ambrosino.
“I believe this budget is solid, well thought
out, and well supported,” Brown said. “I know the investment we are making
today is sound.”
Avellaneda voted to approve the budget, but
said it is the first time he has ever given serious pause to voting in favor of
“What I have seen during the last year with
the budget process is that I don’t think we are doing enough during budget
season,” he said.
Avellaneda said there should have been more
debate about, and more information provided about, the proposed change to the
control of the Water and Sewer Department.
He also noted that the budget will have to
be paid for in October, when the Council sets the City tax rate.
When that time comes around, Avellaneda said
he will have questions for the City’s Assessing Department, which he said has
been doing a “terrible job” capturing the true value of many larger properties
“Across the board, there are many, many,
many buildings, and these are large landlords, that are not paying their due in
this community,” Avellaneda said.
How much awesomeness can be contained within
The people of Chelsea will soon find out as
the first of a series of five monthly events takes place downtown on Saturday,
June 8, with the launch of the Chelsea Night Market.
Presented by the City of Chelsea through its
downtown initiative called Chelsea Prospers and local events production company
Jukebox, the Chelsea Night Market is an ambitious undertaking for a hidden
corner of the downtown that’s beginning to awaken.
Last year, GreenRoots took the lead in the
block’s transformation by creating a colorful mural with Chelsea artist and one
of the state’s top muralists Silvia López Chavez on the Chelsea Walk.
That pedestrian walkway provides the
entrance to the next phase of the effort with activation of the space through
the Chelsea Night Market.
Edwardo Chacon of Jukebox said, “Vendors are
still being accepted for future markets and there’s always room for more
artists and performers to join in. Our priority is to engage as much local
talent as possible. We’re excited by all the energy growing around the market
and the new connections we’re making. This is going to be epic.”
Here, in the large parking lot on Cherry
Street behind the businesses on Broadway between Fourth and Fifth Streets,
event visitors every month will find the area transformed with activity and
something new to discover on each visit.
More than a dozen booths will feature local
businesses, artists, merchants and community groups. Merchandise includes both new, vintage,
thrift and handcrafted items.
Jack’s Men’s Shop will highlight emerging
brands for men’s fashion, while Allen’s Cut Rate features a selection of
high-quality fragrances. You’ll find hand-crafted jewelry by Beaded Inspiration
and Sacred Soul Fire. Over at the booths for Dandelion District and High Energy
Vintage there’s a variety of vintage items including old school video games,
nicnacks and clothing.
At Jukebox’s booth, show off your local
pride with swag that shouts your love of all things 02150. Among the offerings
are T-shirts and totes emblazoned with Chelsea. All proceeds are dedicated to
supporting the next projects to improve Luther Place.
A variety of other tents will feature
community groups and artists.
Test your aim with Archery Games Boston,
show off what you’re proud of with the Chelsea LGBTQ Coalition, and play around
with the team from the Phoenix Charter Academy Chelsea.
Several local restaurants are on board with
menus of street food as well.
Get a sandwich hot off the grill from the
chefs of Broadway House of Pizza, nibble savory Chinese food from Chung Wah, or
sink your teeth into an empanada from Pan y Café.
On the main stage a variety of performers
will entertain the crowd.
MC for the night is comedian and actor Chase
Abel. Host of the podcast “Ready Set Blow” with Randy V, he’s a
regular at Boston’s top clubs.
Among them is a band headed by Bengisu and
It’s impossible to describe their mix of
Turkish-funk-rock, but it will definitely get a groove going.
DJ Tempo Sauve’s upbeat house electronica is
gathering a strong following, and he’ll keep the energy going throughout the
night. There’s a rumor some comedians from the recent show at Tu Casa may stop
The performance highlight, however,
undoubtedly will be the crew from the Boston Circus Guild. They’ll be roaming
among the crowd to show off their amazing skills and costumes and then at 9:30
p.m., will take the stage for a 20-minute fire performance that will top off
Serving as a backdrop to the main stage and
to provide a tangible reminder of the market through the summer, the wall of
456 Broadway will serve as space for temporary mini murals with new designs
appearing each month by local artists.
The Chelsea Night Market team is grateful
for the support of the Chelsea Record as a media sponsor helping them to spread
the word about the upcoming event and to highlight the new happenings of
For additional information check out the
Chelsea Night Market’s website at www.chelseanightmarket.com, the facebook
event at https://www.facebook.com/events/529915294079626/ or contact at Mimi Graney, at email@example.com
Future dates include:
•July 13 (raindate 7/20)
•August 10 (raindate 8/17)
•September 21 (raindate 9/28)
•October 5 (raindate 10/12)
CITY OF CHELSEA, MA
Department of Planning and Development
City Hall, 500 Broadway, Room 301 · Chelsea,
District 6 Councillor Giovanni Recupero
doesn’t like some of the noise he is hearing about a proposed Massport-funded
Earlier this spring, Recupero and
Councillor-At-Large Roy Avellaneda proposed that the City use $300,000 of the
$600,000 annual Massport mitigation payment to help provide soundproof windows
for residents who deal with the whoosh of jets traveling to and from Logan
But a letter from City Manager Thomas
Ambrosino to the City Council states it might not be that easy to automatically
earmark those funds for a soundproofing program.
“I am not opposed to creating some local
grant program, operated through our Planning Department, to provide funding for
soundproofing to residents adversely impacted by airport related noise,”
Ambrosino stated. “Deciding who should qualify for such grants, and how to
prioritize areas of the City, might be a bit challenging. But, I feel with some
time, we can work out those details together in collaboration with the City
But Ambrosino said the funding proposed by
the Council is problematic, since the annual mitigation payment cannot be
directly used for a specific program. The payment is considered a payment in
lieu of taxes by the state’s revenue department, making it a general revenue
source that is deposited into the City’s general fund.
“If the Council desires to depend upon this
Massport payment to help fund a soundproofing program at the level of $300,000
annually, it must appropriate the $300,000 separately,” Ambrosino stated. “It
can do that either in an annual Budget line item, or as an isolated appropriation
from a source such as Stabilization or Free Cash.”
Ambrosino recommended the City commit to
appropriating $300,000 for the soundproofing program from Free Cash whenever it
is available, rather than making it a permanent part of the budget.
“I can see what
the City Manager is saying, but this money comes to us direct from Massport, we
get it all the time, so why do we have to wait and put it in free cash?”
Recupero asked. “What kind of guarantee can the City Manager give us? I want
the City Manager to give us some kind of guarantee that the money will be used
for that purpose, not all of it, but a piece of it.”
Monday marked the biggest day to date for
Encore Boston Harbor and its crew of 4,800 employees as they reported to work
at the resort site for the first time, and existing employees and the executive
team moved into offices at the Encore tower.
After many job fairs, interviews,
discussions and trainings, approximately 4,800 active employees were brought on
board at the new Encore Boston Harbor resort casino site on Monday, June 3 –
the first day that work began in earnest at the $2.2 billion resort, which
opens June 23.
It also marked the first day for existing
workers and the executive to move out of their long-time offices at Station
Landing and into offices at the resort tower.
From shuttle drivers to blackjack dealers to
employee cafeteria chefs to Encore President Bob DeSalvio, most everyone with a
job to do at Encore was on site Monday.
“On Monday, we were able to move into the
resort,” said President Bob DeSalvio. “We now have 4,800 incredibly
excited and enthusiastic employees preparing to receive our guests. This
is truly a magical time in the building, as employees embark on new careers
that positively impact not only their lives but also their families. I’m seeing
a lot of smiling faces this week.”
Employees have been busy getting acclimated
to their jobs for the past few weeks, training in massive conferences off-site
in local venues and in Boston function halls. Monday marked the first day they
could begin training onsite, getting their uniforms from the state-of-the-art
clothing check system.
To date, Encore representatives said they
have brought on 4,800 employees, but they are not yet finished.
They still have
offers out to another 700 employees, and are looking to employee another 300
employees. That number includes dealers and others throughout the organization.
The story of the Chelsea High Class of 2019
won’t be complete with just a rundown of what happened in the hallways of the
In fact, it’s what this class did at City Hall, on social media and in rooms with powerful decision makers that will define the 312 seniors who will walk across the stage on Sunday to collect their diplomas and celebrate a journey concluded.
Workers on Monday began cobbling together more than 20,000 hard plastic squares over the new Chelsea Stadium turf field to protect it for the first outdoor graduation in many years. The new situation was a hard-fought win for the Class of 2019, and will likely define them for years to come, school officials said. Graduation takes place at 1 p.m. on Sunday, June 9.
That story starts and ends with having graduation under what (hopefully) will be bright blue skies and sunshine – as the class celebrates their year-long fight to get graduation back outdoors and open up the celebration to many more family members.
will be bright blue skies and sunshine – as the class celebrates their year-long fight to get graduation back outdoors and open up the celebration to many more family members.
Principal Alexander Mathews said the class
is very accomplished academically, socially and athletically, but it has taken
an extra step of moving outside the school and advocating in the community.
“It’s a class that more than any I’ve seen
is driven to show leadership in a way that feels organized and professional,”
he said. “I’ve been really, really impressed with what I’ve seen at Chelsea
High this year – even in the face of discord among the adults at times…They
remained calm and serious even when so much was happening around them. It’s a
very community-minded ethic in the group. They are genuinely of a belief that what
they’re doing is best for the community and not necessarily their families
only. They believe they are doing this for the future of the other classes
behind them. That’s pretty impressive in a teenaged mind.”
The Class of 2019 decided early on that they
wanted to be able to graduate outside, and it wasn’t just to get some sun.
In fact, since the graduation moved into the
indoor gym, many family members have been excluded from the ceremony due to
space reasons. With larger classes and larger families, many parents found they
had to go and watch the graduation on a telecast in the cafeteria.
Students in the Class of 2019 didn’t think
it was right and fought back against that.
“In some cases, relatives traveled hundreds
or thousands of miles to be there, but weren’t able to be with the family in
the gym,” said Mathews.
It seemed like an attainable goal, but then
they ran into the red tape of consumer affairs.
That came in the form of the warranty of the
brand new turf field at the Stadium where graduation would take place. That
warranty would be void, City officials learned, if the graduation were held on
the field without and protections in place.
And those protections cost nearly $200,000.
School officials and City officials
seemingly told the class members that it was a good effort, but couldn’t be
Leaders like President Jocelyn Poste and
activist Manuel Teshe would not take ‘no’ for an answer. They began to
fundraise and attend City Council meetings to speak in favor of finding a
solution to their predicament.
After a lot head scratching, City Manager
Tom Ambrosino, Supt. Mary Bourque, the School Committee and the Council found a
solution, but it cost $175,000. Students advocated that the expense was well
worth it so that families could be together on what was a very big day.
And the City agreed.
This week, workers have been cobbling
together 25,000 hard plastic pieces over the new turf field that will protect
it on graduation and preserve the warranty as well.
“I think these students have realized the connection
between their growing academic skills and their ability to influence policy and
important decisions around the city,” he said. “Seeing that connection is
really motivating for students.”
And those students, in what is another one
of the largest classes in several years (last year had a record 344), will take
the academic and advocacy lessons they have learned this year to a number of
great colleges, universities and workplaces.
Students will be attending schools such as
Dartmouth College, Tufts University, Boston University, Suffolk University and
others. There are also several full-ride Posse Foundation Scholars attending
schools such as Bucknell University, Denison College, Union College, and Centre
University in Kentucky.
take place on Sunday, June 9, outdoors at the new Chelsea Memorial Stadium at 1
p.m. – rain or shine.
The new shuttle service throughout Chelsea
and Everett has launched, and dubbed the Neighborhood Runner, the service began
operating on Monday, June 3.
“We started service on Monday, June 3, at 5
a.m.,” said Jim Folk, director of Transportation for Encore Boston Harbor.
“Now, it is running 24/7, 365 days a year. It starts its route at the Chelsea
Market Basket every 20 minutes on the 20…I really think it’s going to be a
successful route. It’s great for our employees and guests, and it’s great for
Everett because it gives them a new connection to the Silver Line for the
airport, Seaport and even South Station.”
The new Neighborhood Runner stops at Market
Basket (Chelsea), then goes through Everett to Everett Square (outside
Braza’s), then to the GE site on Air Force Road, and finally to the Encore
Employees reported to the resort on Monday,
and Folk said the Runner has become popular already with the new employees
looking to get to work from the neighborhoods, or to catch transit lines that
run near the new stops.
“Believe it or not, we have picked up some
passengers even though we haven’t advertised the Runner yet to the public,”
Folk said. “Our employees are aware of it and many are actually taking it to
and from the resort. We had a good amount of people on Monday that used it. We
expect more and more people as time goes on. I think it will really be
The 26-passenger Runner is made by Grech,
and has a lot of extras.
The interior has leather seating and large
cupholders, along with plenty of space. It is 100 percent ADA compliant and
also has video screens for entertainment.
Folk said right now they are sticking to the
four stops on the route, but he said they aren’t ruling out expanding the stops
in Everett and Chelsea once the resort opens.
“We think it’s a
great, great alternative for the folks in Everett and our employees and guests
coming to Encore,” he said.
A U.S. citizen appeared last week in federal
court in Boston after being extradited from Brazil in connection with a $2
million wire fraud scheme.
Christopher Morris, 48, formerly of Lowell
and Chelsea, was extradited from Brazil and arrived in Boston last week. Morris
was detained following an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge M.
Page Kelley. In November 2014, Morris was indicted on four counts of wire fraud
and 12 counts of unlawful monetary transactions. Since 2013, Morris had been
living in Uruguay and Brazil.
The indictment alleges that Morris, an accounting
professional, participated in a wire fraud scheme targeting his employer, PBS
Distribution (PBSd), a media distribution business with operations in Allston
and elsewhere. Morris’ position gave him access to U.S. mail addressed to
PBSd’s accounting department, including checks payable to PBSd. According to
the indictment, beginning as early as January 2008 and continuing through
September 2012, Morris took more than $2 million in checks under the guise of
depositing them into PBSd’s bank accounts, but he instead endorsed them to
himself and deposited them into a personal bank account. Morris allegedly used
his access to PBSd’s accounting system to conceal the theft by, among other
steps, fraudulently causing credits to be issued to the accounts of customers
whose checks he stole, and by causing PBSd’s general ledger to be altered to
show that the same customers had made payments. It is further alleged that
Morris spent the proceeds of the scheme on a lavish lifestyle that included
year-long apartment rentals in New York City’s Greenwich Village and Tribeca
neighborhoods; the down payment, purchase and upkeep of a waterfront
condominium in Chelsea; and luxury clothing, dining and travel, including a
$16,000 two-week South American cruise.
The charge of wire
fraud provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three
years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 on each count. The
government expects to move to dismiss the charges of unlawful monetary
transactions under the Rule of Specialty, a doctrine of international law that
permits prosecution upon extradition only as to charges authorized by the
This week, in one of the first mergers of
its kind in Massachusetts, East Boston Neighborhood Health Center (EBNHC) and
South End Community Health Center (SECHC) announced their intent to merge after
signing a definitive merger agreement.
Pending federal and state regulatory
approvals, SECHC will become a part of EBNHC with Manny Lopes remaining as
president and CEO. The merger will add SECHC’s 180-plus employees and 19,000
patients to the largest community health center in Massachusetts and one of the
largest in the country. SECHC will continue to provide comprehensive health
care services in the South End.
“As SECHC celebrates 50 years of service to
the South End, we also look to the future. Our number one goal is to strengthen
high-quality care for this community in an increasingly complex and volatile
health care system that favors economies of scale,” said Bill Walczak, CEO and
president of SECHC. “We have strategically considered many pathways to
achieving this goal over the past several years and are delighted to have
reached an agreement with EBNHC that positions community-based care to thrive.”
Manny Lopes, president and CEO of EBNHC,
added, “Our organizations have shared a common mission for decades and there is
a lot we can learn from one another. As health centers, it is our duty to
innovate and grow in financially sustainable ways to ensure we are preserving
and advancing affordable, accessible, high-quality care in communities that
need it most. We believe that welcoming SECHC into our organization will benefit
patients, staff, and our communities.”
Post-merger, EBNHC will support
approximately 1,200 employees and more than 100,000 patients per year with an
operating budget of $165 million, providing high-quality services and programs
in neighborhoods on both sides of Boston Harbor.
The East Boston Neighborhood Health Center
(EBNHC) has been a vital part of its community for more than 40 years,
providing easily accessible, high-quality health care to all who live and work
in East Boston and the surrounding communities of Chelsea, Revere, Everett, and
Winthrop. EBNHC supports more than 1,000 employees and handles 300,000 visits
per year – more than any other ambulatory care center in New England.
Community Health Center (SECHC) is a comprehensive health care organization for
all residents of the South End and surrounding communities. Founded in
1969, SECHC is committed to providing the highest quality,
coordinated health care that is both culturally and linguistically sensitive to
every patient, regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender
identity, physical ability, and/or income. SECHC’s multi-cultural and highly
trained staff of 180-plus serves more than 19,000 patients with an operating
budget of $16.5 million.
The Chelsea Soldiers Home water tower was blocked off and surrounded by heavy machinery for its removal. It was pulled down by heavy machinery, and it made an impact as it hit the ground, stirring up dust and dirt.
For more than a few Chelsea residents, the
Soldiers’ Home red and white checkers water tower defined home.
It was something they saw from planes,
looked at in the rearview mirror when headed over the Mystic/Tobin Bridge, and
could see from nearly every corner of the city.
Now, it’s only a memory.
The Chelsea Soldiers’ Home water tower came
down on Wednesday afternoon, May 29, about 1 p.m. after many months of waiting
for the right conditions to knock down the tower so as to make way for the $199
million state-of-the-art veterans hospital and living center.
Both could not exist in tandem, and after a
long and passionate discussion last year about the tower, the community
conceded to let the tower go.
About 9 a.m. on Wednesday, the demolition
crew moved in to prepare a 200 foot perimeter at Malone Park for the tower to
fall onto. That took several hours, but then about 12:30, work began on the
legs. One leg on the north side was sawn off, and then the tower was simply
It came down with a huge thud, but remained
The company that took it down also had most
recently taken down the water tower at the Weymouth Air Station on the South
Many people from the community gathered to watch the tower come down, and television crews from the Boston media were out in force with cameras and helicopters. Afterward, Superintendent of the Chelsea Soldiers Home Cheryl Lussier Poppe addressed the media, explaining that the tower removal will allow for improvements and construction to the new veterans home that will replace the aging Quigley Hospital.