Making the Sound Investment - Carlo DeMaria

Making the Sound Investment

When local officials, like myself, take office we assume a variety of responsibilities on the public's behalf.  As public servants, we pledge to do the very best for the residents whom we represent.  We listen to concerns, debate the issues, and deliver the best services possible.  We research, we plan, and we implement policies that shape our community’s foundation and future. 

In my 18 years of service to this City, both as an Alderman and as the Mayor, I have always recognized Everett’s greatness.  This City’s value lies not only in its strong foundation, but also in its immense potential.

This year I have been reaching out to my fellow public servants to support a future vision for Everett.  A vision that includes not only a well-maintained City, but a growing, flourishing, City.  In order for Everett to grow we must consider the long term, and make sound investments.  That means putting money into maintaining our existing infrastructure and services, and even more so into the larger planning and development projects.

Recent economic adversity has had a significant impact on property values both nationally and at the local level.  This has created unprecedented financial challenges for our local economies and, more importantly, has adversely impacted your investment in our community.  Declines in property values in our community have been more severe than our neighboring communities and as I look around, I see one glaring difference.  Those communities had more vibrant periods of capital investment, either through redevelopment authorities or aggressive planning departments.  Those capital improvements were supported by the local legislatures and as a result those communities were more insulated from the adversities of the recent economic instability.  From 2003 to 2009 investment in non-school capital improvement in Everett was virtually inexistent.  This alternative, to “spend down” our infrastructure, can result in deterioration and poor service.  It’s time for us to strike back and make every attempt possible to begin to recapture these critical declines in the market values of our homes.   It’s time to make Everett an attractive investment to future homeowners and thereby positively impact our citizen’s nest eggs.  An aggressive capital improvement plan is the strongest solution.

Citizens in growing communities want and expect improvements to roads, sewer, and water systems.  They want safe and functional fire trucks and police cars.  They want schools, police stations, firehouses, parks, recreational facilities, and libraries that they can take pride in.  And that is absolutely the case here in Everett.  Residents want a City of value.  I promised a City of pride, progress, and possibilities; and that is what I am constantly trying to deliver.  I am so pleased to see the first phase of the Capital Improvement Plan receive a unanimous vote by the Common Council.  This long-term strategy will not only greatly improve City infrastructure, but will also increase the quality of life for our residents, and it will do so in a fiscally responsible manner.

Recently, a company with over 100 years of history decided to make a $13.5 million investment in Everett.  One of the reasons cited for this move was improvements to the infrastructure in the area in which they wished to locate.  These improvements were made possible through grants from the Commonwealth.  This is a major accomplishment for the City as it signifies that we may have finally reached a bottom on our commercial market.  We are confident that this move will positively impact property values in the surrounding area and furthermore, this transaction prompted a favorable response from the Commonwealth, when Richard Pellagrini from the Massachusetts Office of Business Development identified Everett as having a business friendly climate.  It is critical that we continue to maintain this momentum and become the beneficiary of many more of these types of strategic alliances with the commercial sector.  This can only help the City as a whole moving forward.   

That being said, with historically low interest rates due to the struggling economy, and our current favorable bond rating (AA3), now is the time to move forward with these capital goals.  The City can take advantage of these exceptional market conditions and complete these much needed projects with no additional burden to the taxpayer. We’re starting our plan through issuing short term Municipal Notes. This will allow us to raise the revenue needed for the projects while keeping the bottom line of our budget secure.  Over the course of the next five to seven years, we’re essentially going to replace current debt with new debt and phase down our budget line item committed to capital.  This will allow our annual commitment to stay the same in our budget, thus keeping our taxes stable, while allowing us to complete these much needed projects such as street, sidewalk, and crosswalk reconstruction, water and sewer main replacements, the integration of updated water meters, repairs to the Parlin School, 911 Building, and the Police and Fire Stations, replacement of defunct city vehicles, and the redesign and renovation of our major parks.

These improvement projects are essential in that they directly impact the future of Everett.  Together we can create a city with improved appearance, increased property values, and first-rate facilities, equipment, and infrastructure.  If we make the sound investments, we can build a better Everett. 

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