SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The City of Springfield received settlement money from Eversource and one City Councilor is looking to use the money to help residents with the trash fees.
Springfield City Councilor Justin Hurst proposes $3.7 million from the $41 million that the City of Springfield received in settlement money from Eversource to be used to get rid of the trash fee for this coming year and the rest to be set aside to decrease property taxes next year for every homeowner and business, according to a news release from the Springfield City Council.
Hurst also wants Mayor Domenic Sarno to put all the remaining money from the unexpected settlement with Eversource in a different account to help decrease property taxes next year. Mayor Domenic Sarno’s recent tax plan increased property taxes for single-family residents by $194 with some residents set to receive bill increases as high as 575 dollars.
“We are in unprecedented times and the residents of Springfield need financial relief now! Just last week the city certified 67.8 million dollars in free cash, which is the highest in decades. Eliminating the trash fee for this coming year will go a long way towards offsetting the increases that many residents will see in their property tax bills in January,” Hurst stated.
Hurst went on to say, “Inflation is at an all-time high, utility bills are skyrocketing as we enter the winter season, and residents are having to choose between keeping their lights on, heating their homes, paying their bills, and putting food on the table. I am extremely concerned that with increased property tax bills going out in January, excise tax bills being issued in February, and trash fee bills hitting mailboxes in March that there is going to be a ripple effect that could prove catastrophic for those struggling to make ends meet. I would hate for the trash free to be the straw that breaks our residents’ backs.”
“Reducing the amount that property taxes increase is simply not enough and also not what residents need; especially considering property taxes have gone up every year over the course of the last 8 years to the tune of 1,062 dollars on average. It is imperative that we plan ahead so as not to be in the same position next year. Furthermore, placing the money in a separate account designated for this purpose will show a commitment on the part of the city that it is listening and empathizing with those who are hurting right now and could use a little help from their government to get through these difficult times,” Hurst explained.