What Will Haverhill Do With $10.8 Million in Free Cash?

City Finance Director Charles Benevento and Mayor James J. Fiorentini during 2017 budget talks. (WHAV News photograph.)

Auditor Charles J. Benevento, left and Mayor James J. Fiorentini will update the City Council Tuesday on Haverhill's free cash, capital needs and upcoming tax rate decision when the council meets beginning at 7 p.m.

Mayor James J. Fiorentini will ask city councilors to consider what should be done with the nearly $11 million Haverhill holds in reserve.

The state Department of Revenue recently certified the city’s free cash at $10.8 million.

Click image for Haverhill City Council agenda.

Fiorentini and city Auditor Charles J. Benevento plan to talk to councilors about the city’s finances, including capital needs and setting a tax rate.

The City Council meets Tuesday beginning at 7 p.m. in the Theodore A. Pelosi Jr. Council Chambers on the second floor of City Hall. The meeting is open to the public.

At the end of June, the council passed a $185.7 million budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

Fiorentini is expected to ask councilors to support a plan to direct the bulk of the free cash toward supporting the current budget, using it to fill in gaps should the city fail to receive anticipated tax payments, fees, and state funding.

According to a letter to the council, Fiorentini said additional options include using some of the money for sidewalk and road improvements; pay in cash for projects or items that the city had planned to borrow to fund; pay to update the city’s master plan or create a new one; and return some of the money to taxpayers, which would allow the city to reduce a likely tax increase.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, Councilor William J. Macek will ask his colleagues to consider a new master plan for the city.

Fiorentini said he will not ask councilors for a vote this week.

Their decisions about the use of free cash will affect the discussion of classification and setting the tax rate, planned for Tuesday, Nov. 14.

8 thoughts on “What Will Haverhill Do With $10.8 Million in Free Cash?

  1. …and can we stop calling this “free cash”? who the hell has “free cash”? This is money – taken from people who work everyday and (primarily and usually) re-distributed to people that don’t work – period.

  2. I don’t think it matters who wins the state rep. race as far as money goes. Beacon Hill doesn’t care – see Lawrence. Beacon Hill is also continuing with their state debt/deficit financing with structural deficits years forward. Healthcare costs, sucking up roughly 40% of the entire MA budget (see CAFR) and rising, along with unfunded pension costs increasing (abet not one time payments) is our financial Achilles Heel. Throw in unicorn asset inflation in housing (and markets) which is taking a toll on households and younger folks, it’s just a matter of time. MA is a top-five contender of poor financial health, but as long as the right cronies get paid (and Pols gave themselves a repeal proof raise), it will be the rest of us who pay the price. It’s all theft, it’s just a matter of who is on the redistribution list.

  3. Actually Jack ….giving it back to the taxpayers is one of the options being considered.

    But ,there you go again with your tin foil hat on too tight , skipping right over the facts in your zealousness to be a contrary blowhard.

    • No tinfoil hat on Jack at all – you want to bet your home that they don’t “give it back to taxpayers”? If you actually believe that is being considered by these thieves – you’re not to bright.

  4. We have a huge albatross around our necks (Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner) which will haunt us for many years to come It is called the Hale Hospital debt. This is not going away and could cause us potential bankruptcy. The Council and Mayor should allocate as much as possible to pay it down. I m of the belief that here will be a large balloon payment due in the coming years. Positive steps now will pay benefits later.

    Neither candidate for state rep will have the power to get us state funds for the Hale disaster. Brian Dempsey will go down in history as a miracle maker with thw financial support he was able to garner for us.

    Both candidates for State Rep have a common interest– increasing their salaries.

    On another note pay increases for elected officials should only be approved by the voters not he elected officials.

  5. How about creating a reserve for removal of snow and ice? You know we are just a couple of wind shifts from going into a deficit on that account evey year. We are also prone to ice storms which can lead to enormous costs. Seat of your pants budgeting is no way to run a city. A month ago, WHAV reported that local officials and his honor were ‘brainstorming’ about what to do with less state and federal money. Now they’re looking to blow every last nickel we have on hand.

    Does this make sense to anyone who doesn’t presently hold office?