The taxpayers of Everett just got put on Santa Claus’ list.
The Everett Common Council voted on Monday night to transfer $4 million from the stabilization account to offset this year’s tax rate and save residential taxpayers on average about $300 per year and $2,000 a year for commercial tax payers.
The motion was put forth by Council President Rosa DiFlorio, saying that these are the hardest times since the Great Depression.
The motion received almost unanimous support except from Councilor William Cardello who wanted to see the amount taken from the stabilization account to be $2 million instead of $4 million.
Presently, the stabilization account has more than $9 million in free cash that the City of Everett officials use to help plug different department shortfalls during the fiscal year. The fund was established more than 20 years ago by former Mayor John McCarthy to fund certain capital improvements like new schools.
The account also figures in the rate that the City of Everett is charged by lenders on long-term bonds. According to City Auditor Larry DeCoste the withdrawal of the $4 million will have a minor effect on the interest rate. He estimated that the City might have to pay up to a quarter of a percent more when borrowing money.
“This is taxpayer money,” Mayor Carlo DeMaria told the Councilors. “The economy is terrible on local and national levels, people are out of work, foreclosures are increasing, so we have to act in the best interest of the taxpayer,” he said.
The Board of Aldermen still will need to approve the transfer before it can take effect.
According City Assessor Bill Hart, if approved by the Aldermen, residential and business taxpayers will see lower bills in January.
More on the Old High School
Councilors voted to designate the old Everett High School site as a Priority Development site. This designation allows the site to be eligible for state grants as well as making the development of the site more attractive to developers according to Melissa Murphy of the Mayor’s office.
Presently, the city had received four bids to re-develop the site. The purchase price ranged from $250,000 to almost $2 million.
“None of the bids were accepted,” Mayor DeMaria told the councilors. The bids were rejected by the re-use committee comprised of members of the Board of the Board of Aldermen, Common Council, Mayor’s office and neighborhood liaisons.
In all the bids, the city would still have to pay the carrying cost for three years. He also noted that none of the bids that included a mix use of commercial and housing would add to the neighborhood and business districts.