— Eye on Everett —

Taxes Are Going Up

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By Josh Resnek

Last week’s article on taxes going up here, by as much as 11% is what has been predicted by the city’s chief financial officer, is a news story that resonated better than anything else we have so far printed.On our website alone more than 3,000 visitors came online to read the story last week.

For a single publication with a very modest place in the industry, such a number of people coming online to our website to read the story about taxes rising is a story in itself.

That story, we have come to understand, was a red flag flying, a warning signal, a reason to question the mayor and his CFO and to wonder: do these people know what they are doing or is it a dog and pony show at city hall when it comes to the city’s finances?

A few outsiders commenting about the story expressed wonder about the city’s taxes rising higher and higher – higher every year for the past decade overall – when so many millions upon millions have already been poured into the city treasury by Wynn Resorts.

How can taxes continue rising with all the new construction, with the casino, with the many businesses all paying huge taxes these days?

This is a good question, a central question about whether or not the leaders of the city have any real idea what they are doing.

Our leaders are good at picking up the dough in taxes and then spending nearly every dime that comes in.

The spending has reached such proportions that the millions upon millions already donated by Wynn Resorts represent largely, mostly, millions and millions now gone – as gone as big bank account made empty by overspending.

Chasing a dream for Everett to be something it isn’t at the expense of nearly every business and property owner here reveals how egregious city spending has been during the past decade.

Taxes rising here by double digits with the casino/hotel down the street contributing millions and millions – $12.5 million just three months ago – well, it defies economic logic.

Money coming in has to match money going out.

Millions upon millions coming in and more and more going out and taxes being raised atop of it is insult added to injury.

This is how the thinking goes with homeowners and commercial property owners here.

It is also cause for concern for local bankers as well as all those who consider themselves informed about how a place like this should run its city treasury.

The faith in the city government is being sorely tested by homeowners and commercial property owners.

They all intuitively know something is not right for taxes to be going up double digits when so many extra millions have already owed into the city treasury.

Something isn’t right about it.

The leaders at city hall should know this, especially the mayor and the CFO.

Taxes should be sinking.

They should be diving lower and lower from year to year with this incredible harvest of Wynn Resorts money.

But they aren’t and they won’t, not until the spending practices of the mayor and his CFO are curtailed.

Until then, it is business as usual here.

In the Land of Millions and Millions, Spending For Coffee Suspended

The directive to all city department heads sent out Monday by CF Eric Demas was beautiful. If the directive was art, it would have been considered a Rembrandt or a Picasso.

It wasn’t art.

What we learned from the message is that an internal audit has shown that some departments have been purchasing coffee and food and snacks against Massachusetts law and City policy.

We received a copy of the memo from one of our allies inside city hall whose name will remain a secret or he could face rather Draconian difficulties from the mayor.

No one is supposed to talk with me or anyone from the Leader Herald – too risky for the mayor is the mayor’s feeling about it. What is too risky for him is too risky for everyone else working for the city.

In other words, if a department head speaks with me he could be admonished or even red.

I get it but when you think about it, why and what is the mayor so paranoid about?

What the memo should have enumerated before being sent to the press for review is how much was spent and by whom and if it is against the law, then how is everyone going to get away with it who bought coffee, food and snacks with department money?

The city’s CFO believes he is the law. His missive to the troops wreaks of this belief. He promises to punish those responsible for buying coffee, food and snacks with the city’s money if he finds any further abuse of the city’s money.

But what about his responsibility to punish those who have already broken the law – and having been proven to do so by an audit?

You can’t have your cake and eat it. You can’t think you are the law when you are the CFO.

If you have found department heads spending money they are not allowed to spend, the money must be paid back.

Not in Everett.

“Accordingly and effectively immediately, any invoices submitted for payment that do not comply with the law will not be paid, and will become the personal responsibility of the respective department head. Further disciplinary action may also result as determined by the Chief of Staff,” is exactly what the CFO wrote.

If only Eric Demas was as good at watching the millions and millions being spent as he is the dimes and nickels.

The Aruba Trip

We are told by a number of people that 65 Everett folks journeyed to Aruba for the wedding of the child of one of Everett’s most popular couples. The mayor went to Aruba as well for the gala.

Some of those who attended have told us it was a great time but…the mayor stayed at the Ritz while the plebeians and everyone else, stayed at much lesser hotels.

What’s worse, the mayor did mix it up with his “friends” at all.

“He stayed to himself. Had nothing to do with us,” said one attendee.

Must be an income or net worth thing with the mayor.

He’s come a long way from the donut business – and his salary now as mayor proves it.

Being mayor proves its easier for him to run Everett than four donut shops.

Patrick Scully

He had a brief but spirited experience here before passing away last week.

I write of Patrick Scully, whose website, The Everett Stimulus, provided some delight for many Everett people who find their pleasure in reading online blogs and articles about politics.

Scully knew how to write.

He knew how to take a side.

He understood local politics.

During his site’s short tenure, he had an impact. His insightful writings will be missed.

Our condolences to his family.

 

 

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