Haverhill Councilors Review Refinancing City Debt, Pressuring Feds for More Help

Haverhill City Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan. (WHAV News file photograph by Jay Saulnier.)

City councilors say the financial future of Haverhill in the era of COVID-19 requires looking at all options.

Speaking at Tuesday night’s meeting, Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan suggested refinancing the city’s debt is definitely one of those options.

“We need to concentrate on how to save money in the future and we need to look at our existing debt and see what can be refinanced and how much savings can be realized by doing so,” he said.

The councilor stressed it is critical the city receive support from the federal government to offset money lost as a result of this crisis.

“This is the most critical part of the future of all cities and towns in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the rest of the states. If we don’t receive any fiscal, financial relief from the federal government, it’s going to make it that much more difficult to be able to rebound after this crisis has ended,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan went on to say Mayor James J. Fiorentini’s current estimates are that Haverhill will be out $500,000 this year and up to $4 million next year which will almost certainly result in serious cutbacks and layoffs.

Councilor William J. Macek echoed the sentiment, pointing out the situation did not originate in the city.

“They helped create this problem because they have shut us down—and it was probably necessary—but now we need some help,” he said.

Macek added Haverhill, by itself, may not be able to catch the ear of the federal government. He suggested the mayor look to form a coalition with other towns and cities in seeking federal help.

The Council agreed and voted to send letters to the mayor asking him to look into ways to refinance the city’s debt and to look into joining with other communities in seeking help from the federal government.

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