Haverhill Adopts New Policies to Ensure Improved Collection of Amounts Owed to the City

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

An overdue payment by a downtown developer has led to a policy change in how Haverhill keeps track of money owed to the city.

Economic and Planning Director William Pillsbury told city councilors Tuesday night that developer Salvatore N. Lupoli paid his 2019 mortgage payment to the city and made arrangements for the current year’s payment to be delivered over the next three weeks. City Finance Director Charles Benevento explained the process being adopted to prevent similar mishaps in the future.

“Basically, it just takes a lot of the policies that already existed and put the steps down that everyone needs to follow every time there is a contract. The only thing it really adds is highlight that if a contract requires any funds be paid to the city, that the treasurer now be included in getting a copy of this contract,” he said.

Benevento also noted that tracking money owed will now be computerized and any bills will be generated automatically.

Last week, City Council Vice President Colin F. LePage reported the developer of a 10-story building on Merrimack Street, known as The Heights, was in arrears for mortgage payments totaling more than $225,000 for purchase of a city parking lot.

For his part, Mayor James J. Fiorentini was quick to point out that this payment oversight by the developer never put the city in any financial jeopardy.

“The city was never in any risk whatsoever of losing its money on this project. We have had a longstanding policy, which we enforce, that you can’t get permits—you can’t get your occupancy permit in particular—until the money is paid that you owe us. That was never a concern,” the mayor said.

The mayor went on to praise the project as being great for the city and he was hopeful that other companies would invest in Haverhill in the future.

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