, Salem, MA

Local News

December 13, 2012

Senate, City Council pay tribute to Spiliotis


A mouse, and later what appeared to be another mouse, darted this way and that before disappearing under the desks of the legislators, startling some dismayed onlookers.

“Some of our little critters have joined us,” Murray announced. Then, she suggested that their presence stemmed from the fact that the people who make the rules don’t always obey the rules.

“It could be the stuff you keep in your desks that’s not supposed to be there,” she chided colleagues.

You can say that again

He was the only resident to appear when the tax rate was set at a City Council meeting on Tuesday. Former mayoral candidate Russ Donovan was expected. He comes every year, Mayor Ted Bettencourt observed earlier in the day.

Donovan did not disappoint, speaking out about the impact of the average $95 tax increase on people who might have spent the money instead eating at a Peabody restaurant.

“Homeowners have been paying more and more over the last 10 years,” he said.

On the other hand, he offered rare praise for city officials, including Finance Director Patty Schaffer, who gave a review of the budget for the coming year.

“I appreciate it,” he told her. “I know I speak a lot about negative things.”

That remark literally had some councilors turning away, laughing silently.

Home, James

When he came to the City Council to plead for a limousine license on Lowell Street, Charles Diorio was paying attention. First, he sat through a lengthy hearing on the tax rate, which included much discussion of the need to keep rates low in order to attract businesses. Councilors competed in their eagerness to sound sympathetic to business.

“I want to continue to promote our reputation as a business-friendly community,” Bettencourt said.

Diorio made his pitch, concluding that he is confident of success, “where this is a pro-business town.” Councilors got a good laugh and then swiftly approved the license, 10-0.

“You don’t get any more business-friendly than that,” Liacos said.

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