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March 18, 2014

Cahill gives first state of city speech

BEVERLY — In his first state of the city address, on St. Patrick’s Day, Mayor Mike Cahill forgot to wear green.

But as he explained to about 50 listeners, including several department heads and the City Council, he bleeds orange and black for Beverly High School, and later on, he planned to bleed some green, too, “for my Irish roots.”

Cahill began by saluting Beverly High’s boys hockey team, winners of a state championship.

“It was an incredibly well-played game,” he noted.

He then painted a portrait of a city government scoring on some problems and taking good shots at others. By his own estimate, the biggest news was a plan to create a stabilization fund built up with the donation of at least 10 percent from free cash each year.

“All actions by the City Council to deposit money into or take money from the fund will require a two-thirds vote of the City Council,” he said. “Stewardship of your tax dollars requires diligence and creativity.”

Part of that, he said, includes his administration’s efforts to secure grant money, seek partnerships with business and save with regionalization. However, the Essex County Regional Communication Center in Middleton, to which the city has dedicated $660,000 per year, won’t be able to take on Beverly Fire and Police dispatch this year as scheduled. “The communications tower has not yet been constructed,” Cahill said.

The mayor offered a more encouraging summary of developments on the waterfront.

“We have begun the process of removing the state’s Designated Port Area designation,” he said. That would allow the realization of a waterfront vision including a harbor walkway, boat slips, restaurants, shops and even housing, he added. It’s the “kind of Beverly waterfront that will help open up our downtown and our harbor for the enjoyment of our whole city,” he said.

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