By Joseph Domelowicz Jr.
Everett City Auditor Eric Demas, who serves as the City’s chief financial officer, addressed a Joint Convention of the City Council and School Committee on Monday night, on behalf of Mayor Carlo DeMaria to present the annual budget proposal for the Council’s consideration.
Demas apologized for the Mayor’s absence, and told the Joint Convention that Mayor DeMaria “had a pressing matter” that came up at the last minute. Demas than began a concise, but thorough presentation of the Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposal for the City of Everett.
Overall, the Mayor and his administrative team are proposing a $227 million budget for the City in fiscal year 2018, which begins July 1, 2017.
Following the presentation, the Joint Convention voted unanimously to forward the entire budget package to the Committee on Budget for hearings on May 31 at 6 p.m. and June 3 starting at 8 a.m.
Demas explained that the total budget figure looks larger than it really is, because for the first time, the City is including the City’s chargebacks to state and Middlesex County government. As Demas explained, these chargebacks have always been expenses to the City, but they were never represented in the budget document, since they are typically taken out of what the state passes on in state aid.
“We added them into the budget to increase transparency of the total cost of operations,” said Demas.
According to Demas, the budget is broken down into four main section that cover the financial forecast; operating budget; water and sewer budget; and capital improvement plan.
Demas also told the Joint Convention that the City’s tax levy capacity in FY18 is projected to be $109,258,479, of which the Mayor is proposing to raise just $100,371,904 in local taxes to balance the budget. That would leave the city with an excess taxing capacity of just under $9 million. The other $127 million of the budget would be paid for through other revenue sources including state aid, free cash, school building assistance and other local receipts like excise taxes.
The Mayor is also proposing a general government budget of $56,586,185 with $74,685,290 going to schools and $51,688,898 for other fixed costs including retirement assessment, employee insurance, FICA, employee injuries, property and liability insurance and debt service.
The Council’s committee on budget will review the School Department budget during a public hearing on the budget with members of the School Committee and school administration on Wednesday, May 31 beginning at 6 p.m.
The general government portion of the budget will be heard on Saturday, June 3 beginning at 8 a.m. All budget hearing sessions will be in the Council Chambers at Everett City Hall.