Newburyport, There is No Money

When Al Lavender became mayor, “they” (whoever “they” were) put me on Al Lavender’s transition team.

I later figured it was to shut me up. If that was the case, it obviously didn’t work very well.

I walked into my first meeting and thought, “Oh, my goodness” (or a stronger version of that phrase), “What in the world am I going to do?” The room was full of “conservative good old boys,” for lack of a better phrase (not the usual political folks I hung out with).

But you know what, it turned out to be an incredibly positive experience. I came away with such admiration for everyone on that transition team. They taught me a ton. And they gave Al Lavender terrific advice. And I think it was, believe it or not, basically the same advice that I imagine a progressive would have given him. I was stunned.

And at the very end of the process, member’s of the group went around the table and gave verbal summaries of various areas of the city (police, fire, schools, etc) to the newly elected mayor. And I remember my jaw just dropping.

Basically, to be very simplistic, there was $8,000 for $80 Million dollars worth of things, that need to be done not yesterday, but often needed to be done 20 years ago. Just like the fire trucks we still don’t have today. Same issues 8 years ago.

So anyone who thinks they are going to find extra money somewhere in this city. There is no money.

And folks ask me why I don’t run for Newburyport City Council. That’s a big reason why. I like to have a shot at paying the bills, and with that kind of financial weight, I just could not sleep at night.

Mary Eaton