Council Votes in Favor for Tax Home Rule Petition

December 1, 2017

By John Lynds

The Lynn City Council voted 10-1 Tuesday night in favor of a Home Rule Petition that seeks a one-time exemption from state law that requires cities and towns to have a balanced budget before sending out the third-quarter residential tax bills.

The City’s Chief Financial Officer Peter Caron told the council last week that if the city was unable to set the tax rate and mail out the third-quarter tax bills by the end of the year, the city would not receive the $31 million in real estate taxes by Feb. 1.

“We will be unable to meet payroll,” Caron told the Council. “Without the Legislature’s approval, we would have to borrow a significant amount of cash that would probably cost $100,000 in interest.” Caron and others have suggested that the city’s $5 million deficit could ballon to $36 million without the special exemption voted on by the Council Tuesday night.

If the Home Rule Petition is approved by the state legislature then the city would be able to mail out the third-quarter tax bills and start to receive revenues without the budget balanced.

Caron requested the Council take action and was backed by Council President Darren Cyr.

The City Council has taken several measures to raise revenue to close the deficit gap this year. The Council has voted in favor of implementing a trash fee, raising meals tax and payments from the city’s two medical marijuana facilities that will open soon.

However, while this revenue from these sources has translated into over $3 million in new revenue it has yet to be realized in the city’s accounts and the deficit remains.

A Philadelphia financial advisory firm, PFM, hired by the city earlier this year has made recommendations that the city ‘not issue raises after union contracts expire, freeze hiring, contract EMS services to a private company, and eliminate three dozen jobs.”

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