Haverhill Councilors Revisit $ 217 Million City Budget Tonight; The year starts on Thursday


Haverhill city councilors pass the city’s proposed $ 217 million spending plan tonight with little time to spare with the new fiscal year starting Thursday.

On the Council’s agenda is what appears to be an attempt to break the deadlock between a majority in City Council and Mayor James J. Fiorentini. Counselors will consider an order placing $ 500,000 in cannabis “impact fees”, if collected, in an account for youth activities and mental health. The amount is an increase from the $ 358,000 suggested by the mayor last week as a compromise, but does not reach the $ 700,000 requested by some councilors. Fiorentini said he was prepared to devote part of the impact fee, which is disputed by at least one cannabis retailer, but not the undisputed local option tax.

“I am not going to commit part of the tax revenue to a special fund as I have indicated. I have heard from the advisers and I really need to hang in there. It would upset the budget. It’s not the right thing to do, ”Fiorentini told WHAV on Monday.

If the council rejects the budget again, the mayor said, the city will not close on July 1. “I made sure this time around,” Fiorentini said, referring to state law.

Haverhill City Councilor John A. Michitson in a previous appearance on 97.9 WHAV.

Councilor John A. Michitson, among others, requested the special rainy day fund last week.

“What worries me though is that the youth mental health crisis has worsened by COVID in combination with drug addiction this has to be something that we are addressing over a long period of time,” a- he declared.

Advisors should also consider related household chores, such as accepting a state law allowing at least 25% of “a particular fee, fee, or other receipt” to be allocated to the account. dedicated. Another decree specifies that the city devotes 40% of the “local impact of cannabis fees” to “for the purposes of sports activities for children, mental health for children and adults and any other impact of the legalization of cannabis. marijuana .

Last week, councilors voted 5-4 against the mayor’s budget – the second time in four years, members rejected such a spending plan days before the start of the new year. In addition to Michitson, votes against the budget were cast by Board Chair Melinda E. Barrett, Vice Chair Colin F. LePage and Councilors Timothy J. Jordan and Michael S. McGonagle.

Michitson noted that a $ 125,000 game would recur every year for five years if Haverhill was accepted into the Drug Free America program. In addition, he said, nonprofits such as MakeIt Haverhill, Cogswell ArtSpace, Leaving the Streets Ministry and the Haverhill Public-Private Partnership, created by the retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General Jack Gardner, could tap the dedicated money.

Councilors Joseph J. Bevilacqua, Thomas J. Sullivan, Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien and William J. Macek voted in favor of the budget.

The city expects to collect $ 700,000 in “local option” taxes – not to be confused with “impact fees” – from cannabis stores. Local taxes on options are equal to 3% of the gross sales of these retailers.

Following the council’s defeat of the budget, members accepted a call from Macek to reconsider their actions this week. Macek said last-minute opposition from councilors was “unreasonable.”

In other cases before city council, retired Police Chief Alan R. DeNaro is expected to talk about his time as Chief and Keith Boucher of MakeIt Haverhill is asking $ 60,000 to pay a full-time employee and some expenses operation of the non-profit organization.

Haverhill City Council meets at 7:00 p.m., remotely and in Theodore A. Pelosi Jr. Council Chamber, City Hall 202, 4 Summer Street. As a public service, 97.9 WHAV plans to broadcast the meeting live.

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