“It’s necessary in a tight economy to extend the life of buildings,” he said.
He takes special pride in another innovation, the Veterans Day Breakfast, a gathering of some of the city’s most honored men and women.
“It drove home the point about pride in the city,” he said, adding that it will be an annual event.
Among the downsides of the job, he cites the necessity of making tough personnel decisions, letting people go and deciding between hopefuls for city positions.
“Those things are never easy,” he said.
If anything has surprised him, it’s the amount of time he’s had to put into being mayor. With three young children, “there have been moments that it’s been difficult, but I’m very fortunate. I have a great support system.” He still manages to coach the kids in soccer and basketball.
His announcement comes with the full support of his wife, Andrea, he said.
With $15,000 in his campaign account, the mayor is beginning an effort to raise more with a fundraiser on Saturday. He hopes to match the roughly $90,000 he collected in the 2011 contest.
“He’s done very well,” Liacos said. “He’s careful, and he plods along and he’s good at making decisions. ... A lot of people would like to be mayor, but he’d be very difficult to beat.”
Peabody has had little experience voting out sitting mayors, Schulze noted. As for this one, “He’s very popular. He’s been a good mayor.”
For Bettencourt, serving as mayor is something he’s always wanted to do, he said.
“I’m right where I want to be,” he said, looking around the corner office. “... I couldn’t imagine not having this in my life.”
Alan Burke can be reached at email@example.com.