Hello everyone and welcome,
I am Cathy Ann Viveiros, Fall River City Administrator, and I want to be the next Mayor of the great City of Fall River!
I am offering myself as a write-in candidate because the people of Fall River should have a choice in the upcoming election for Mayor. When I hear of the change my opponent is planning, I am fearful that the tremendous progress we have made over the past 6 years will be lost. Fall River deserves more than a default vote that will bring back failed economic practices from our past.
I’ve been involved in this community for over 40 years and I can honestly say that never before, in my lifetime, have I seen our City so close to the economic transformation that is finally within reach. Fall River is developing a prominent role in new emerging technologies that will allow our workforce to dominate the South Coast. We have been working diligently with our State government partners and we are so close-we cannot change course now. We’ve got to keep it going!
I was born and raised in Fall River-graduate of BMC Durfee High School. I married Dan Viveiros and we raised our sons, Matt and Mark, here in Fall River and they are also Durfee grads. I taught special needs in Fall River public schools, opened a business in Downtown and I served with dedication for 8 years on the Fall River City Council. I’ve been your City Administrator for almost 6 years, under 3 different Mayors, and it has been the most challenging, but also the most satisfying job of my life.
We can only appreciate how far we’ve come if we take just a few moments to remember just how bad things were 6 years ago. It was shortly after I became City administrator- January of 2014- when I was confronted with the mistakes of the past. I inherited a $16 million problem.
The Police Department was losing a $1 million grant funding 10 police officers and The Fire Department was losing a $14.4 million SAFER Grant funding 60 firefighters AND there were no
backup plans in place.
There was a $3.4 million deficit in Net School Spending because of huge increases in transportation and health insurance that had not been put in the current budget. The Landfill was finally closing and we were losing $1.7 million in revenue. MA DEP finally decided to force the City to clean up contamination it created 60 years ago – that came with a roughly $3 million price tag.
As many of you know-I am always ready for a good challenge and I am the eternal optimist.
I used my MBA from Boston College and 20 years of private sector management experience and got to work. With the help and commitment of the team at government center, school department employees and especially, union leaders, we slowly started the financial recovery process.
Working with the Firefighter and Emergency Medical Service unions, we began restoring fiscal stability- there would be no more threat of layoffs. Our Fire Department complement has increased from 175 firefighters in 2015 to 195 in this fiscal year. But we’re not done yet -we’ve got to keep it going.
Working with the Public Employee Committee, we have saved over $15 million in health insurance costs over the past 5 years. Fall River has been leading the state with its Health insurance innovation. We are making great strides, but there’s more work to do. We’ve got to keep it going!
Unfortunately, we had to fix the $3.4 million Net School Spending deficit by draining our Reserves to a mere $500,000-because our children needed these education funds. But, after 5 years of cost cutting, zero based budgeting and long-term planning, we’ve rebuilt our Reserves to over $9 million. -We can’t change our financial team now-we’ve got to keep it going!
And that Landfill problem…I worked with BFI and the MA DEP and, we not only succeeded in eliminating our $3 million cleanup costs, BFI paid the City over $2 million from the cleanup activity.
We are starting to give our residents and businesses the services they have been requesting for decades-and it’s finally happening, with our current team. We’ve made upgrades in our business parks and created over 600 jobs just in the last 3 years. We’re repairing more sidewalks and potholes, cleaning more streets, making more park improvements and repairing municipal buildings and schools like never before, thanks to the support and partnership with the Fall River City Council. And I am so proud to say that, as your city administrator, I have provided the leadership and stability to get it all done.
So what’s the plan moving forward?
1) We need a safe community-and it will require bringing the Police Department to full compliment.
2) We deserve quality streets and sidewalks – this will require additional investment through local bonding.
3) Our children deserve educational success- this will require a major, private sector contribution to achieve reading proficiency for all third graders.
4) We want vibrant business districts with shopping and dining, arts and entertainment- requiring strategies that are already underway.
5) We need a strong, local economy -this will require good paying jobs and workforce training in emerging industries.
My opponent has no plan; he simply dwells on the unfortunate events of our past. This message does us no good. True, it has been very demoralizing, but we can’t let it define us- it’s NOT who we are.
I want us to look to the future, believing that it holds great promise. If you agree with me that we are on the right track, let’s keep it going! On November 5th WRITE IN Cathy Ann Viveiros for Mayor of Fall River.
And finally, A message to my opponent: I am challenging you to debate with me anywhere, anytime. Let’s give the people of our Great City a real choice in the upcoming election for Mayor. Thank you.