The adage of the only certainty in life is death and taxes always rings home this time of the year as city officials set the new municipal tax rate.
This year, the tax rate will drop for both the residential and commercial payers.
We know that our residential tax is low compared to many of the surrounding communities and that this group of taxpayers has always been given preferential treatment by city officials as opposed to the commercial ratepayers.
Part of the reason for the tax rate drop this year is that real property values in Everett have risen.
And part of the reason rests with good management of city finances by Mayor Carlo DeMaria and the work of City Auditor Richard Viscay.
The decrease is especially sweet since unlike other communities, city officials have not gone to the maximum tax levy as allowed by law as other communities do year in and year out..
We know that some taxpayers will not be happy with the drop in the tax rate claiming that their tax bills are still too high. In some cases this is still true especially in the commercial group.
The real reason for our tax rate lies in the lack of state aid to maintain the costly mandated state programs. Just last week — halfway through the fiscal year — , city officials were blind sided when state officials cavalierly decided that there was to be a decrease in school and municipal state aid to the tune of more than $2.8M. City officials were able to make up this shortage with cuts in the school and municipal budget.
However, there will come a time when cuts in our budget just will not be able to be made and the tax rate will just have to continue to rise in spite of good fiscal management.
That is why we are looking forward to the possible awarding of the state gaming license for Eastern Massachusetts to Wynn casino in the early spring of 2014. This one taxpayer could make up for state aid shortages for years to come while lowering our tax bills at the same time giving relief to those that have borne the brunt of the taxes for the past few years.
So while taxpayers can not count on the Wynn revenue yet, they can count on an early Christmas present of real estate tax decrease.