Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini (WHAV News photograph.)
Property taxes for the average homeowner would jump between $225 and $350 if the city were to raise taxes to the maximum allowed by law, Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini contends.
The mayor said the higher amount is double the usual residential tax increase, appearing to attempt to head-off a movement by city councilors and some private groups who have suggested improving schools and reducing crime warrants raising taxes.
“If we taxed to the max…the taxes for the average single family residential taxpayer would go up by about an additional $125 per year, in addition to the yearly increase which is always around $100 to $150 per year,” the mayor said in an email.
“For the past three years, we have been taxing at less than we are allowed to tax. I do this because I recognize that even modest yearly increases are a burden to some,” Fiorentini wrote.
He is asking residents for their opinions in an online survey abut spending and taxes before he submits his budget for the year that begins July 1. The mayor set the tone of his survey by saying the city cannot provide more services without increasing property taxes.
Fiorentini’s survey also asks residents to rank their priorities regarding schools and public education, adding more police, paving and repairing more streets, fixing more sidewalks, improving parks and playgrounds or providing raises for city and school department employees. Alternatively, the mayor asks whether the city should be “holding the line on tax increases,” but also gives his opinion, saying, “I am tired of increases!”
Those who did not receive the survey may email the mayor.