Mayor Carlo DeMaria is pleased to announce that the City of Everett has been ranked second only to Chelsea as having the lowest single family residential tax bill in the Greater Boston region, according to a fiscal 2019 property tax report from the City of Boston Assessing Department.
Mayor DeMaria stated, “ I am happy to report that as a result of conservative budgetary management and responsible fiscal forecasting, we are able to provide some relief to help residential homeowners stay in Everett and invest in their community.”
Although residential property values continue to grow, the City has been able to dramatically reduce the tax burden on homeowners as compared to the other 22 communities in the Greater Boston Region. By utilizing all of the Encore Community Mitigation Funding and implementing a 25 percent residential tax exemption, the mayor has fulfilled a commitment to utilize gaming revenue to provide tax relief.
The mayor has also committed that 100 percent of future casino revenue will be used to offset taxes as part of his long-term fiscal policy. This also includes utilizing the full $25 million in annual pilot (payment in lieu of taxes) payments with Encore and additional meals and room excise taxes to reduce the tax burden.
This commitment has not come without controversy.
Recently, the School Task Force released a report calling on the administration to use gaming revenue for operations and infrastructure, not for tax reduction, stating, “The distribution of the annual casino revenue for the City should be dedicated to on-going critical needs of the City in its provision of operational and capital services. Going forward, these funds should not be applied to reducing property owner’s tax bills.”
However, Mayor DeMaria insists tax relief is affordable and achievable while continuing to make investments in the city.
“Standard and Poor’s has given us one of their highest ratings,” he said. “Our operating surpluses, our very strong liquidity, our low overall net debt, and formal five year long-term capital projections show that we can meet our infrastructure needs, while also providing some relief to our taxpayers.”
Along with the current strong fiscal position, the city has committed to fully funding its future obligations. The annual appropriation for the retirement system is currently one of the highest in the Commonwealth and the City is on track to fully funding the system by 2030. The City will also continue to fund its other post-employment benefits such as health and life insurance, and will increase that appropriation once the retirement system is fully funded.
The administration also expects a significant increase in Chapter 70 school funding based on the current state negotiations regarding a new school funding bill.
In addition to the tax ranking, Everett’s water and sewer rates are the eighth-lowest out of the 56 MWRA communities and the City does not impose trash fees.