Downtown Everett is in danger of losing a number of its most popular and durable retailers if the commercial tax rate remains where it is.
With the tax rate so high and revenues so low, and with property values dropping and assessments remaining high, property owners and their tenants especially in the downtown are placed in jeopardy.
Owners trying to sell their buildings can’t afford the taxes that they are paying.
Potential buyers won’t sign on the dotted line to come here because they are not about to buy into a situation where the building they would be purchasing has unsustainable tax bills to be paid.
It is a vicious downward circle and it is a problem that is rapidly coming to roost.
In the downtown today the higher taxes are causing owners to pass along the increases to tenants.
If you are, for instance, a shoe cobbler and your rent has been upped $400 a month, you will not be in business much longer.
If you own a legally licensed rooming house with a good record and you offer decent housing to those who choose your product, right now, about half your rooms are empty because of the recession and your taxes make it such that you begin thinking about letting your property go.
The danger to the downtown of these commercial taxes is that they can become a game changer.
Everett Square runs the risk of becoming a ghost town if the commercial tax rate is not lowered or if the entire tax burden is not shared.
Many businessmen operating in the downtown will simply move to the suburbs where taxes are lower and the price for occupancy is doable.
We applaud the effort of Aldermen Joe McGonagle and Mike Marchese, who are attempting to have the commercial rate lowered.
However, without the mayor’s advocacy, without the mayor’s influential input, and without the mayor’s sense of urgency for a situation spinning out of control, the commercial tax rate will go higher and Everett as a city will lose.
Everyone working together can solve this dilemma, which could become more costly in the months and years to come.