City Council Preps for Property Tax Vote; Seeks Information

Haverhill City Council President John A. Michitson.

City Council President John A. Michitson.

Haverhill city councilors are seeking additional, “critical financial and planning data” from the administration, in advance of its annual property tax rate deliberations in November.

The council voted 9 to 0 Tuesday on a motion, by President John A. Michitson, asking Mayor James J. Fiorentini to provide an updated five-year tax plan, with projected revenues and expenses, to supplement data provided each year by City Assessor Stephen C. Gullo. Michitson said a similar document used during annual budget reviews was last updated in June. He also noted Gullo “does a great job” in giving the council property tax comparisons, at various classification factors, between city residential and commercial landowners as well as “compare our rates with other cities and towns.”

“That provides us with a good view of what the possible tax factors and tax rates are. However it really doesn’t provide the context, the impact of what we’re doing,” Michitson said. “This is probably the only one I’m going to request because I’ve been able to already get a hold of all the other documents that I recommended.”

A tax classification hearing by the council, for the current city budget, is scheduled Nov. 15. The annual hearing typically draws speakers for residential and business property owners into the council debate on setting the tax burden ratio between the two assessment categories.

In other business, councilors voted unanimously to vacate a demolition order, as requested by Building Inspector Richard Osborne, on a fire-damaged property at 425 Washington St. According to Osborne, the multi-family structure, damaged in an October, 2014, fire, was “properly demolished at the expense of the owner,” identified in city documents as Abelardo and Blanca Nunez.

“I appreciate the effort by Mr. Nunez to abate this public nuisance and comply with the City’s order to demolish this fire damaged structure,” Osborne wrote in a memo last Friday.

6 thoughts on “City Council Preps for Property Tax Vote; Seeks Information

  1. councilor michison is in bed with the business lobby…he wants to raise the property tax on home owners and give a reduction to the business lobby…..he will be a hero to the chamber of commerce….they will name him man of the year….in will come political donations….keep an eye on him Haverhill…..

    • Uhhh, no. Obviously you haven’t been paying attention for very long. Business generates tax revenue and creates jobs which creates more revenue. Simple economics. Respectfully, you sound a lot like Hillary. Councilor Michitson does support businesses because without them, we become a ghost town. Imagine if you can, 5 industrial parks empty and void of businesses. See a downtown of empty storefronts. Who pays the bills then ??

  2. Five year tax plan?
    How about a look back at the “previous” five year review of city tax receipts?

    The City of Haverhill utilizes a “traditional budgeting process”. Which means it calculates every fiscal year’s budget based upon the total budget figure from the previous year. It does not use a “zero based budgeting process” where all expenses must be justified for each new fiscal year.

    In 2013 the City of Haverhill ended that fiscal year with a budget surplus of $3.5Million. It was a “surplus”…which means the expenditures were put in the budget, taxes were collected, and then never used. As you’d expect with this corrupt mayor, those taxes collected were never returned to taxpayers.

    In 2014 the mayor submitted a budget which just picked up where the 2013 budget left off. It included the $3.5Million in expenditures from the 2013 budget which resulted in a surplus. He was scamming taxpayers by manipulating the accounting and budgetary process the city uses. Because of the city’s budgeting process, he did not have to justify the request for the $3.5Million in funds. That year’s budget was approved and the city once again collected $3.5Million which it did not need. This was also done for each subsequent fiscal year budgets in 2015, and 2016. Including the 2016 fiscal year budget, this corrupt, deceitful mayor has now collected over $14million in tax receipts which is essentially “free” money. It’s free money because the funds have been collected, but there is no real expenditure associated with getting them off the books. This does not include the yearly 2.5% tax increases on each of those four years $3.5Million was collected. 2.5% of $14Million means the city collects an additional $350,000 every year from the tax increases on money that taxpayers shouldn’t have had to pay in the first place.

    The mayor has a very lucrative scam going. His problem is that he has to work hard to find ways to hide this money in the budget. That is why he has not approved full citizen access to financial software the city has purchased. It is also why he is billing one department expenditure against another like he did with Hunking School. He needs to find ways to bring the money out of hiding and make it legitimate.

    Looking forward at a five year tax plan which does not include the removal of the $3.5Million surplus funds from the 2013 budget means the mayor will collect an additional $17.5Million through this fraudulent scheme. The city will also collect $1.75Million from just the interest increase associated with the yearly 2.5% tax increases. By 2021 the mayor will have intentionally and knowingly scammed city taxpayers out of $33.6Million!!!