By JOSH RESNEK
The city’s second largest taxpayer and source of income is in ongoing negotiations with the Everett assessor’s department to redo its assessment for the 70 acres of land it owns along the Mystic River, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.
Exelon owns the land and the giant oil-fired generators Mystic 8 and 9 which are scheduled to be retired in 2024.
When those two generators are sitting idly, the value of the land they occupy is not worth as much as when the generators are running and generating millions of dollars in revenues.
This is how Exelon will look at the re-evaluation.
The city’s opinion will be just the opposite.
The city’s reassessment is likely to show the value of the land has gone up greatly since the TIF was signed twenty years ago.
Exelon’s tax bill will like- ly go higher but Exelon will again take the city to court if it does.
Another court trial will cost the city millions for outside counsel.
The city spent an estimated $2 million with the law firm Mintz Levin on the first trial to renegotiate the TIF which ended in a loss for the city in 2019.
Former Governor William Weld was the lead lawyer for Mintz Levin representing the city.
The Leader Herald reported in 2018 that Weld and his colleagues received more than $800,000 in 2018 alone from the city.
That figure is believed to have risen by another half-million dollars to $1 million conservatively – or about $60,000 a month for the period when the litigation was taking place.
Had the city one, it would have been a bonanza for Everett.
The city lost.
The TIF has run out. It expired in 2020.
Right now, Exelon is paying the city according to the stipulations as outlined by the TIF written up by the city more than two decades ago.
Prior to this, the city attempted to rewrite the TIF and in fact, did just that.
That’s when Exelon appealed in court.
The city’s largest taxpayer isn’t a taxpayer at all. The Encore Casino and Hotel pays the city $30 million a year in lieu of taxes.
Exelon’s $15 million and Encore’s $30 million provide the city with a cash cushion.
However recent changes in the energy production sector and the casino world, have caused Encore to apparently slow down its payments to the city, and now comes Exelon’s apparent challenge to re-write its tax bill.
Exactly how much was paid to outside counsel for representation on the TIF renegotiation is a figure the city has never released even though such expenditures are public record.
Councilors Fred Capone and Gerly Adrien have been after the city to come clean with what was paid to outside lawyers for this litigation as well as other litigation.
The Leader Herald asked the administration for a figure on what was spent.
The mayor’s office did not respond to our request.