Published in the Revere Journal:
Revere has always been a place where people want to stay and raise their children, get involved in community organizations, and participate in city politics. I am running for Mayor because I want to preserve and grow the civic involvement and sense of community that encouraged me to go into public service. That’s why I am calling for a property tax exemption for owner-occupied homes to encourage and reward home-ownership.
Thirteen cities and towns have homeowner property tax exemptions, including nearby Chelsea, Everett, Malden and Somerville. In Somerville, Mayor Joe Curtatone went a step further and got special permission to exceed the 20 percent exemption, giving homeowners who reside in their homes a 35 percent property tax exemption. The combination of this exemption and the city’s strong commercial tax base has allowed residents of Somerville to enjoy a lower tax rate than most surrounding communities.
In Revere, we have not been so fortunate. Revere’s average single-family property tax bill has increased a staggering 16.3% in the past four years, and that’s before getting in to the increase in water and sewer rates. Revere’s residential tax rate of $14.80 per $1000 exceeds Somerville’s $12.61 per 1000 and Everett’s $14.61 per $1000, and Chelsea’s $14.40 per $1000 – without providing any of the exemption for owner-occupied homes that these communities do.
This represents not only a failure of our city to reduce the squeeze on its residents, but also a failure of budget management. If our neighboring communities can operate with a lower tax rate and an exemption for owner-occupied homes, why can’t Revere? Inadequate planning and misplaced priorities have prevented our ability to build a commercial tax base, and has put more and more pressure on our families, driving them out.
We need to change this dynamic and embrace a smarter vision for Revere’s future. That change can start with November’s election. If I am fortunate enough to be elected Mayor, I will always put Revere’s families first, and prioritize ways to provide them relief.
Brian Arrigo is a current Revere Councillor at-Large and a candidate for mayor.