Mayor Proposes New Plan to Reduce Homeowner Taxes

Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini.

When Haverhill city councilors reconsider their tax classification vote Monday night, they will hear a revised proposal from Mayor James J. Fiorentini to use $500,000 from the city’s health insurance budget instead of its stabilization fund to reduce taxes.

Fiorentini now proposes the council vote to reduce the current year’s health insurance budget by $500,000 and shift the business tax classification factor from 156 to 158 percent. City Finance Director Charles Benevento is expected to demonstrate there are adequate funds in the health insurance account. Fiorentini said such a move would “not affect our healthcare trust fund in any way.”

“This will have the effect of lowering our tax levy for our residents and our businesses. It has the same practical effect as the transfer I proposed (last week) from the stabilization fund but meets the councilors’ concerns about our reserves,” Fiorentini said Thursday in a letter.

Under the mayor’s plan, the annual tax bill for the average single-family home would be $4,163. The average commercial property bill would be $15,524. He hinted today another compromise may also be in the works.

Haverhill City Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan.

Haverhill City Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan.

As reported by WHAV Thursday, Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan requested the special meeting and asked homeowners to attend Monday night’s meeting and “let us know how they feel about the decision we made, and implore us to change our vote.” He said the only reason he voted in favor of Tuesday’s motion was so he would have the ability under the city charter to request a reversal.

“I support the homeowners and I was outraged by the comments that night (by Councilor Michael S. McGonagle and others). They were all so adamant about having their way. The best tactic was to vote for the majority. Hopefully…we can reverse a bad decision,” Sullivan told WHAV Thursday. He added he will make “persuasive arguments” to try to change some of his colleagues’ minds.

Sullivan has received support from Councilors William H. Ryan and Mary Ellen Daly-O’Brien

The Haverhill City Council meets in special session at 7 p.m., Monday, in council chambers at Haverhill City Hall.

8 thoughts on “Mayor Proposes New Plan to Reduce Homeowner Taxes

  1. Ahh the Renaissance of Haverhill. I’m still waiting…. Section 8 housing, rentals throughout the downtown area and who is paying the taxes for the majority of the city service???

    • Yeah we build these really nice loft and housing units and a certain percentage has to be alloted to “AFFORDABLE HOUSING” that’s what brings the trash to our city. Go watch some of these people leave their affordable housing in their unaffordable cars. And to raise the parking fees downtown they just want everything we have. Typical government

  2. Last year the council and mayor had the chance to lower both homeowner and business owner. He chose lower homeowner and increase the business tax. Here we are again.
    Businesses are leaving period. The new ones or ones that stay are getting big tax breaks (see Southwick)

  3. Thank you for that summary Duncan!

    Real estate tax & sales tax are an ever increasing burden for homeowners. If peoples rent was increased this much every year, year after year they would simply move. Homeowners are still feeling the hit in property values and simply can not afford to move or stay. These increases could push people into foreclosure. So sad!

    • Jenn, Do you really think they would move? Section 8 doesn’t move anybody because of high rents… Most rents are are what one would call “the going rate”.

  4. There shouldn’t be a tax increase on anyone, business or residential, as The People of this city are being economically destroyed by members of their own government. Aside from the financial wizards that decided deficit spending without state intervention was a good idea, here’s a snapshot of what the serfdom classes of Haverhill have been subjected to:

    Just in the past 5 years, debt servicing has increased 134% (this is not a typo).
    In the same 5 years, the cost of government in employee benefits (not including OPEB’s) has shot up 43%, and is also responsible for 24% of the budget.
    The past five years in Massachusetts, thanks to Merrimack Valley Legislators (i.e. Haverhill’s own Brian Dempsey), state taxation has risen 23%.
    In this same time, The People’s real median incomes have DECREASED 4.7% (Taxation is up 52% in 15 years, with incomes down 10% during same period).

    With the extensive crony capitalism that is endeared in this city and state, it is you fellow Citizens that pay the price, and pay you shall. Chances are, as The City of Haverhill is a relatively poor city, the numbers tend to be skewed due to the income disparity that leads the nation. Whether The People realize or not, unless you have actually done the math, it is quite conceivable if your incomes have not been able to keep pace over the years, you are in fact on your way to economic oblivion at the expense of government cronies. Those in higher income brackets don’t feel it as much as those in the lower incomes percentiles, as those in the lower consume their incomes immediately. Of course, as we see by the decisions being made, and those taxpayers that are left paying, are paying a higher price for not only those who don’t pay anything or to those that enjoy the benefits of financial/mathematical engineering gone awry.

    Eat Cake!

    • You hit the nail on the head! I think it’s pathetic that the majority of the councilors jumped right against it. This should have been something that was voted on before elections. I would have changed a few votes! Unless they change their tune I’ll have to wait a couple years now.