By Joseph Domelowicz Jr.
The Everett City Council opened a discussion with Chief Financial Officer Eric Demas on Monday night, about the potential future impact of Wynne Development payments to the city on the local tax rate.
The Council, which in June had elicited a promise from Mayor Carlo DeMaria to find a way to use Wynne payments to offset tax increases to local home owners, was looking for clarification of how that could be implemented.
According to Demas, the city is just now closing the books on the just completed 2016 fiscal year and will not know for several months what amount of “free cash” will be certified by the state Department of Revenue and available for appropriation by the City Council.
However, he did clarify that the recently received $5 million payment by Wynn to the city and the “free cash” would both be potential sources of revenue from which the city could offset the tax rate.
“There are so many different variables that still have to be worked out, so I wouldn’t want to say what the impact would be to the individual tax bills, because I’d just be guessing,” explained Demas.
However, Demas did note that improving home valuations and other factors will be weighed in how the city both determines the local tax rate and what the rate will mean for the property tax bills that residents receive.
“I am looking to get this done a bit faster than we did last year or in years past,” he added. “Last year, we were not able to set the tax rate until the end of December, but I am looking to move that up by a month or so, so we will have a better idea of what to expect a lot sooner.”
Demas noted that the city will likely have a certified free cash amount from the state by mid- to late September and that the city assessors will also be looking to estimate valuations by early fall as well.
With those numbers known and with the $5 million in Wynne money deposited in the newly created Community Mitigation Stabilization Fund, the city will be able to forecast how much it will need to raise through local taxes, in order to balance the budget it just passed in June.