The city’s chief financial officer Eric Demas and its director of the assessor’s office BJ Devereaux came before the city council Monday night to discuss the setting of the new tax rate.
We have to admit, when they were finished describing the city’s convoluted income and assessment picture
for the coming year in great detail, we were slightly confused as to what exactly they were talking about.
That being said, the residential tax rate came in at $11.78.
The commercial tax rate was set at $25.36.
Revealed during the financial discussion before the council Monday night:
The average Everett residential tax bill is about $3,362 a year. This compares well with all surrounding cities and towns, and in fact, Everett’s yearly tax bill for homeowners is lower than all of them by a fairly wide margin.
The average value of residential real estate here is about $634,000.
Total residential real estate is valued on the books at $5.4 billion.
Of greater concern was the lowering of assessments and or value of two of the city’s two largest taxpayers.
Distrigas valuation was down 15%.
The city’s largest taxpayer, the Mystic Generating Station, which will be closed by 2024, its valuation was almost cut in half.
It went from $546 million to $248 million.
This is problematic for the city because there is presently no replacement for the lost assessment value or the ensuing taxes paid.
There was limited discussion about the attrition of commercially taxed properties and the necessity to replace the lost income.
The city presently has $18 million in free cash, and this is after having to dole out $500,000 for legal expenses for the Federal discrimination investigation.
The Encore casino is technically the city’s largest taxpayer – but it does not pay taxes.
The casino pays $30 million a year in lieu of taxes.
That money is apparently deposited into the city’s operating account.
The mayor is apparently insisting the casino pay taxes in full for its planned expansion across the street on Broadway where it is hoping to build an entertainment center, a parking garage and to have as well a dedicated space for table gaming off-site.
The Massachusetts Gam- ing Commission is deciding whether or not to allow the expansion.