Rivera delivered the address to an overflow audience of the council chambers, which included a sprinkling of department heads and School Committee members, two also-rans in last years mayoral election (firefighter Manny Gonzalez and inventor James O’Donoghue) and one state representative (Diana DiZoglio). Bob Nunes, the city’s fiscal overseer, and Jeff Reilly, who is running the city’s schools for the state, did not attend.
“I’m very happy to hear he’s not raising taxes,” O’Donoghue said about Rivera’s pledge that there will be no property tax hike in his budget proposal for the fiscal year that begins July 1, which Rivera said would be the first flat-tax budget in 12 years. “We’re not able to afford it. We need a break.”
“Everyone is hopeful, like he said,” said Brenda Rozzi, president of the Sacred Heart Neighborhood Association and a lifelong friend of Rivera’s. “He’s going to bring us back to where the city needs to be.”
The new mayor waited quietly in the back of the council chambers for 30 minutes before delivering his 8-minute address, while the council first recognized the Lawrence Pop Warner cheerleading squad for placing third in a recent national competition and then held four public hearings on the placement of stop signs and a bus stop.