Council Rejects Funding for Study

In a move of solidarity amongst a growing group of City Councillors concerned about the City’s books, councillors solidly shot down a request from Mayor Dan Rizzo for $50,000 to begin planning for the renovation of City Hall offices.

After getting a fairly positive review in subcommittee, the matter was reported out to the full Council Monday night and met an untimely and unexpected death.

Six councillors surprisingly voted against it, enough to kill the measure.

Those voting against were Brian Arrigo, Jessica Giannino, Bob Haas, Steve Morabito, John Powers and Stephen Reardon.

Those voting for were Arthur Guinasso, Ira Novoselsky, Charlie Patch and Tony Zambuto.

The expenditure was quite small and was only to fund a preliminary assessment of City Hall renovations, which would relocate the Mayor’s Office, create a lunch room and renovate several offices. The renovation is expected to cost around $1 million, but the $50,000 expenditure was necessary to find out specifics.

The idea was presented by Mayor Rizzo in May, and received lukewarmly by councillors at that time.

That said, no one expected Monday’s request to be denied.

Councillor Stephen Reardon was the first to speak against it, saying he wouldn’t vote for it until a plan for the old McKinley School was funded.

“I can’t support this renovation fund until plans for the old McKinley School have been addressed,” he said. “It seems to me we can’t renovate this building until we have a handle on the McKinley situation. I don’t want it to be a situation down the road where we say we did this, but we should have done that. I’m just not in favor of that approach.”

President Zambuto the expenditure was only for a needs assessment and shouldn’t be so controversial.

“We’re not voting here to remodel City Hall,” he said. “It’s 50 grand, not $5 million, or whatever it’s going to cost.”

Nevertheless, a majority of the Council on Monday agreed silently with Reardon – saying nothing, but voting ‘no.’

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