In a powerful, fact-based address emblematic of his 22 year-career in city government, past City Council President Anthony Zambuto told his former colleagues that he was against the construction of the new Revere High School on the Wonderland Greyhound Park site.
“Councillor Zambuto, welcome back,” Council President Gerry Visconti said to his predecessor prior to his remarks.
Zambuto began by stating, “I’m here to put some facts on the table. The bottom line is that the City Council is the people responsible for the funding here. I spent 22 years as a city councillor protecting the taxpayers. That’s what I’m here doing tonight.
“I’m trying to prevent the city from making the most fiscally irresponsible mistake in the history of this city,” he continued. “It’s not about the $25-50 million in land acquisition costs or the $250-$275 million it’s going to cost to build the school. It’s about taking Wonderland off the tax rolls.”
Zambuto said the Suffolk Downs development will generate $47 million per year in tax revenue upon completion.
“Let’s say Wonderland is just half of that,” said Zambuto. “That’s $23.5 million a year in lost revenue – times [multiplied by] 50 years – is almost $1.2 billion that the taxpayers are being asked to come up with, because we’re not going to get it from the piece of property that we’re taking off the tax rolls.
“Your job is to protect the taxpayers,” he said to his former colleagues. “I ask you to vote against this location [Wonderland]. “I’m for a new high school and I know everybody up here is, but please don’t go down this road. Please don’t vote to take $1.2 billion over 50 years, off the tax rolls. I ask you to vote ‘no’ on the Wonderland site.”
Despite Zambuto’s impassioned speech, the City Council unanimously voted, 9-0, in favor of the Wonderland site, affirming the votes of the School Building Committee and the School Committee.