Chief Financial Officer Eric Demas began the City of Everett’s Fiscal Year 2024 budget process with a brief overview of the budget at a joint meeting of the City Council and the School Committee May 10 in the Council Chambers.
As required by the City Charter, Mayor Carlo DeMaria called for the joint meeting during which Demas provided a financial update that included the city’s annual budget policy and the five-year financial forecast.
Supt. of Schools Priya Tahiliani was also officially invited to the meeting under the City Charter’s rules. She was joined by Assistant Supt. of Finance Anu Medappa Jayanth and Assistant Supt. of Academics Kevin Shaw at the meeting.
Mayor DeMaria’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2024 is $268.6 million.
As affirmed by Demas’ presentation, the City of Everett enters the new fiscal year in a strong financial position, no doubt aided by a $27.6 million host agreement payment this year from Encore Boston Harbor. Because of Mayor DeMaria’s vision to build a world-class resort in Everett, the City continues to reap big dividends. That host agreement is being renegotiated, and the annual payment could grow as Encore has revealed plans to expand its entertainment options across the street from the five-star resort.
“The goal tonight is to just give a very brief overview as detailed budget discussions will happen at future meetings,” began Demas in his presentation.
Demas said that Standard & Poor’s (S&P) has given the city high ratings for the City’s financial management and outlook.
“Standard and Poor’s (S&P) has assigned a Double A-Plus stable rating to the City’s 22 General Obligation bonds,” said Demas. “Standard and Poor’s has given the City a stable outlook regarding our financial future, and it’s important to note that all of the City’s bonds are backed by the City’s full faith and credit.”
Standard and Poor’s also wrote that the City’s Double A-Plus rating reflects the City’s “prudent management with well-embedded financial management policies.”
On another positive note, Demas revealed that the City has $7.7 million in its stabilization fund and $7.4 million in its capital improvement stabilization fund.
Demas also announced that the City had received a national award for its budget from the Government Finance Officers’ Association (GFOA). It is the eighth consecutive year that the DeMaria Administration has received the GFOA’s highest award, which recognizes the budget’s “excellence, transparency, and accountability.” The City also received the GFOA’s Distinguished Budget Award.
Demas said the Everett school budget for Fiscal Year 2024 will be $128.6 million, an increase of $19.9 million that he attributed to the requirements of the Student Opportunity Act “that ensures that every student in the state experiences high-quality learning opportunities that lead to success in school and in postsecondary success,” as stated by the Mass. Department of Education on its web site.