Fiorentini has raised property taxes by the legal limit every year he has held office, but he also has fought attempts by business advocates to shift more of the tax burden from commercial property owners to home owners. Three years ago Fiorentini pushed through a local meal tax increase and he has said he will propose a hike in the local hotel tax later this year.
The mayor has waged bitter feuds with unions — most notably the firefighters union — over his tenure, but not recently. A firefighter and union officer once called him a murderer after an elderly woman died in a fire a few days after the mayor temporarily sidelined the department’s rescue truck due to a budget shortfall. The firefighter was disciplined and eventually apologized for the remark.
After years of negotiations, Fiorentini eventually got most city unions to accept health care and sick-leave changes that he has said saved taxpayers millions.
If re-elected, Fiorentini said education will continue to be a top priority.
“When I took office, our flagship school, Haverhill High School, was on the verge of losing accreditation,” he said. “But our renovation project, completed in my administration, restored our high school at a fraction of what other communities paid.”
The mayor said MCAS scores are up and the student drop-out rate is down.
“Elections are about tomorrow, not about yesterday,” Fiorentini said. “While I am proud of my record, I intend to run on what I intend to do to make Haverhill better in the future.”
In addition to the job of mayor, all nine City Council seats and three of Haverhill’s six School Committee spots are up for election in the fall.
The mayor and councilors serve for two years. The School Committee seats are for four years, but they rotate, with three of the six seats available every two years.
School Committee members get $5,000 per year and councilors get $8,000. The mayor’s annually salary is $90,000.