By Mayor Brian Arrigo
On Monday, I delivered my State of the City address, outlining some of the progress we’ve made together and laying out important initiatives for 2017 that will make this city even stronger. For us to realize our vision for Revere, I will be seeking your help.
Improving online constituent services
After years of delay, my administration got online bill payment up and running within six months of taking office. You can also now apply online for parking permits. These are good first steps, but we need to do more to make the customer experience easy and convenient.
This year, we will open a 311 constituent service call center, so you can call, text, tweet, email or Facebook message City staff to resolve issues spotted in the community, from a pothole to a missed trash pickup. One call or communication to City Hall will get issues resolved in a professional, courteous manner.
We are also rolling out electronic-permitting software, so you can request a building inspection, a permit, or a bulk trash pickup sticker from the comfort of your couch or office. This software will make life easier for residents and small businesses alike.
Professionalizing City Hall
When I took office, Revere was the largest city in the Commonwealth without an Human Resources department. No more. An interim HR consultant is in place, and an HR director will be hired later this year. We’ve ensured that city positions are posted publicly, with an interview process that gives all qualified applicants a chance to apply.
We asked UMass-Boston to assess the city’s HR deficiencies. Later this month, I’ll be presenting their report to the City Council, detailing our shortcomings and offering recommendations on how to professionalize personnel and hiring practices. We want to attract and hire the best and brightest, while retaining the talent we already have.
As part of setting high expectations for city employees, we are drafting an ordinance to ensure that all city staff are in full compliance with state ethics laws. We are working with the State Ethics Commission to hold ethics trainings for employees in the coming months.
Data-driven infrastructure repair
In 2016 we created a website so all residents could see which streets were scheduled for repavement. That laid the groundwork for our efforts this coming year, in which we will be utilizing state-of-the-art software to analyze the wear and tear on city streets, and lay out a transparent, comprehensive plan for street repair. Residents should know that street repair — and all city services — will be prioritized based on need rather than politics.
In 2017, we will also be tackling the three-year backlog of sidewalk repair requests inherited upon taking office.
Overhauling resident parking
We have heard loud and clear the comments from residents about the city’s parking issues. As a result, we are cracking down on illegal parking of commercial vehicles in residential neighborhoods, and ending abuse of the visitor parking permit program – ensuring that resident-only spots are for residents whose cars are registered here.
I will soon announce the formation of a Parking Committee that will guide a major overhaul of residential parking. If you want parking rule changes on your street, this will be your resource.
Building a thriving, sustainable local economy
Revere residents rejected continuing to chase a “quick fix” by coming out overwhelmingly against the short-sighted slot parlor proposal. We know we can do better than that by building a sustainable, 21st-century local economy, built on small businesses. New restaurants, cafes and small businesses celebrated grand openings all across the city in 2016, and we’re creating an environment where more will thrive in the years to come.
The mixed-use project on Revere Beach Parkway is breaking ground this year and will feature Revere’s first new hotel in nearly 20 years. This project will create hundreds of jobs, and bring with it millions of dollars in water, sidewalk, and pedestrian access improvements.
That’s the kind of model for development Revere needs for a vibrant economic future, and it’s what we’re working towards at Wonderland. After a year of holding Wonderland ownership’s feet to the fire, there is good news to announce. A sale appears imminent. Soon, we can begin the community-oriented process of turning a decaying relic of a bygone era into an engine for our local economy.
The owners have committed in writing that if for any reason the sale doesn’t go through, they will initiate the processes necessary to clean up the Wonderland site. In the coming months, we’ll have news to announce about progress on the site and the kickoff of a master planning process.
Building a Revere that welcomes everyone
Revere’s public schools continue to be a shining example of what a great public school district can be: inclusive, innovative, and award-winning. We can all be proud of our students’ continued success.
In 2017, we will make sure the rest of the city lives up to the standards set by our teachers, students, and parents — especially in how our schools welcome everybody.
Our city has always thrived on immigrants. We are richer for the presence of those following in the footsteps of Irish and Italian immigrants of the past, making a new life for themselves and their families here in our community.
My message to all Revere residents is this: I am not interested in getting in the middle of a national political debate that pits neighbors against one another. What I am interested in is making sure that each and every one of you, whether here by birth or by choice, is treated with dignity and respect.
I am proud to be your Mayor. No matter who you are or where you came from, my goal is to make you proud to call this city your home.