Mayor Carlo DeMaria Jr. recently noted budgeted spending per person in the city of Everett over the last four years has remained almost stagnant. In 2009, approximately 38,000 people were living in Everett and the City’s budget was $133,200,000. The City was spending approximately $3,500 per person per year, on services such as: trash collection, curbside single stream recycling, snow removal and capital improvements.
The recently approved fiscal year 2013 budget is approximately $154,700,000, including the water/sewer enterprise fund. With approximately 41,700 people living in Everett today, City spending this year is approximately $3,700 per person. The City continues to offer the same services offered in 2009.
“I am very proud that my administration has kept spending per person level despite mandatory increases for education and increases in fixed costs,” noted Mayor DeMaria.
Looking over the last five fiscal budgets, education spending increased by over nine million dollars, mainly due to the increase in school population. Since 2009, the administration has cut the City’s obligatory fixed costs: debt from municipal bonds and health care costs. Given the tough economic conditions, the Mayor was able to restructure the City’s debt and negotiate a major change in the City’s healthcare coverage. Nonetheless, despite cuts to fixed costs, pensions and water and sewer fees continue to escalate. Since 2009, health insurance costs have increased by $2.3 million dollars, pensions have increased by $2.5 million dollars, and water and sewer fees have increased by $1.1 million dollars.
DeMaria credits his team’s fiscally conservative spending in city departments, along with the City seeking grant funds through State and Federal agencies, as the key factors in keeping per person spending at a manageable level. “ The general government budget is one of the few areas where I can really control spending in the City. We’ve worked hard to keep those increases as low as possible, while adding a deposit into our stabilization fund and capital improvements account for street, sidewalks, parks and city vehicles.”
While maintaining per person spending here in Everett, the Mayor also noted the City is on par with surrounding communities and the City offers more services for residents and businesses. In comparison, the City of Chelsea is spending $3900 per person with an additional quarterly trash fee, the city of Malden is spending $3000 per person, and residents pay to throw away their trash. Even nearby Melrose is at approximately $3000 per person, and they also have instituted a quarterly trash collection fee.
“In one way or another we all have to pay for services, this is how we maintain our financial integrity and is the backbone of living in a community,” offers Mayor DeMaria “education and public safety are our highest priority, infrastructure is our long term investment, and delivering quality services keeps good people in Everett.”