On Monday, May 13, in a joint meeting of the City Council and School Committee, the DeMaria Administration presented its City Budget for fiscal year 2020, where it spoke in glowing terms about the City’s financial stability and its prospects for future growth.
The proposed FY 2020 budget comes in at just over $208 million, reflecting a 4 percent increase over the previous year’s budget. The public schools received the highest increase with $89 million, a 7 percent increase over last year. Fixed costs, which include debt, pensions and health insurance, saw a 5 percent increase over last year. Meanwhile, City departments were allocated almost $80,000 less than last year’s budget.
Nine City Councilors as well as several School Committee members were present for the unveiling of the City’s budget.
In a letter addressed to the Council and Everett Residents, Mayor Carlo DeMaria expressed pride in the City’s financial situation, citing strong economic growth, successful partnerships, and the increase in investments in the city.
Mayor DeMaria highlighted improvements to facilities and infrastructure, including the renovation of parks and green spaces. He also underscored the millions of dollars in grant funding the City received to support advancements in public health and technology.
The mayor referred to the Encore Boston Harbor Resort as an “economic engine” capable of generating wealth for the City, some of which has already been received in the form of pre-opening payments in previous years.
He added that the casino has transformed the “formerly blighted” Monsanto site, has injected new life into Lower Broadway and has created “thousands of jobs” for the local community.
The mayor claimed that Encore is also committed to investing in the public health of the City, as well as realizing a free shuttle connecting downtown Everett with the silver line in Chelsea.
Mayor DeMaria shared that Boston Globe Magazine rated Everett as one of the top 10 places to live in the Commonwealth, and number one on the North Shore. He cited rising home values as well as tax relief to residents. The mayor also announced the creation of an affordable housing manager position in the new budget to ensure that residents of Everett can continue to afford to live in their homes.
“I know we will see even more of the growth and the progress that we saw in this past year,” said Mayor DeMaria. “This year will be when the fortunes of the city turned.”
A slideshow presentation by CFO Eric Demas accompanied the release of the budget, highlighting broadly what is contained therein.
According to his presentation, “the FY 2020 budget is balanced, with over $40 million of excess capacity available.”
For the third consecutive year, Everett has been the recipient of a high stability rating by Standard & Poor’s. This designation, which is based on management, budgetary performance, budgetary flexibility, liquidity and debts, can help the City apply for improvement grants.
The City also received its third consecutive GFOA Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting as well as the GFOA Distinguished Budget Award.
In accordance with changes in Massachusetts General Law, Demas announced that the City will be required to adopt an enterprise fund budget for Everett Community Television (ECTV), which will be paid for through cable franchise fees.
Like other City departments, the Council will be asked to vote on the ECTV budget.
The budget packet submitted to Council was divided into four sections: •Operating Budget;
•Capital Improvement Plan;
•and the newly required Everett Community Television (ECTV) Budget.
On Saturday, May 18, Council will convene to conduct a more detailed overview of the budget, in which each line item will be examined. The final budget will be on public view at the library and the City Clerk’s office.
The Council will be charged with reviewing and passing a final budget before the end of the current Fiscal Year, which concludes on June 30.