On behalf of the City of Everett, I am pleased to offer my strong support of H. 3828, An Act authorizing the city of Everett to establish a linkage fee revolving fund and H. 3831, An Act relative to the creation of a community enhancement fee stabilization fund in the city of Everett. These two home rule petitions are extremely important to the City of Everett, and I appreciate the opportunity to explain to the committee how each will provide the community and our residents with huge benefits. I also greatly appreciate the work of Everett’s legislative delegation, Representative Joseph McGonagle and Senator Sal DiDomenico, on behalf of the City.
H. 3828, An Act authorizing the city of Everett to establish a linkage fee revolving fund
A linkage fee is a charge on new development to pay for offsite improvements that both are necessitated by and benefit the new development. Linkage fees must be proportionate to the share of public costs imposed to a community by the new development. Linkage fees may be calculated according to a formula, either per unit, per room, or per square foot, or they may be calculated at a flat rate, exclude anything under a certain square footage, or exclude anything that does not require zoning relief.
Nationally, linkage fees began to be established beginning in the 1960s, and are now most common in California, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. In Massachusetts, several cities have adopted linkage fees, most commonly related to affordable housing creation and job training. Boston was the first in 1987, followed by Cambridge in 1988 (through a city ordinance), Medford in 1989, Somerville in 2005, and Gloucester in 2010.
As written, this bill allows the City of Everett to establish a linkage fee revolving fund, separate from all other city funds. Monies collected as linkage fees will be deposited in the fund and will be used for the improvement of streets, parks, and public recreational facilities within the city. The mayor of the city will administer the fund for purposes consistent with this legislation.
The City of Everett is a densely populated urban area experiencing rapid growth and redevelopment, and we would like to assemble the right tools to ensure that we appropriately maximize the benefits of this development for our residents to protect and enhance quality of life, for all members of our community. I am happy to work with our legislative delegation and members of this committee to move this legislation forward.
H. 3831, An Act relative to the creation of a community enhancement fee stabilization fund in the city of Everett
Under the Host Community Agreement entered into by the City of Everett and Wynn Resorts in 2013, the City is due to receive thirty million dollars over three years during the construction of Wynn Everett in the form of a Community Enhancement Fee.
Pursuant to the Host Community Agreement, these funds will be received for the purpose of capital improvement projects identified by the City and expended for that purpose, at the mayor’s direction with a two-thirds vote of the city council. The City is currently in the second year of a 5-year capital improvement plan, focused on many longer-term needs such as reducing fossil fuel consumption, decreasing deferred maintenance costs, reducing heating and electricity expenses, and creating efficiencies by means of technological advances and automation. The City also has significant need for new public facilities including fire stations, police stations, schools, city hall, parks, and cemeteries.
The first of the Community Enhancement fund payments from Wynn Resorts, a $5 million payment due within 30 days of the commencement of construction of the project, is anticipated to be received this spring, towards the end of Fiscal Year 2016. The City will receive a second payment of $12.5 million on or before the one-year anniversary of the first payment, and a third payment of $12.5 million on or before the second anniversary of the first payment. The establishment of Community Enhancement Fee Stabilization Fund is necessary to receive the payments.
Thank you very much for the opportunity to offer information on these major issues of strategic development and financial importance to the City of Everett, and for your consideration. I respectfully request that the committee issue these bills a favorable report at its earliest convenience. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or Catherine Rollins of my staff at 617-394-2270.