The latest session in the series, "Know Your City / Conozca Su Ciudad," unfolded on November 9th at the Lawrence Public Library. Attendees were treated to a comprehensive exploration of the city's financial landscape, featuring key speakers from pivotal city offices.
Alexcy Vega, Chair & Chief Assessor:
The event kicked off with Alexcy Vega, Chair and Chief Assessor for the City of Lawrence. Vega enlightened the audience on the crucial role of the Assessor's Office in City Hall. With responsibility for determining the full and fair cash valuations of properties, Vega detailed the some of the stats of the City, such as the existence of 65,000 registered cars in Lawrence. He encouraged attendees to explore the Assessor Department's website, where a dedicated accessor program allows users to search for all properties in Lawrence. Furthermore, the department offers digitized maps for residents to review property boundary lines, promoting transparency and accessibility.
Mark Ianello, Chief Administrative & Finance Officer:
Mark Ianello, Chief Administrative and Finance Officer for the City of Lawrence provided valuable insights into the City's budget and financial operations. Ianello shared his extensive experience working in City Hall, emphasizing the Finance Department's pivotal role in ensuring the City operates within its budget and effectively manages its debts. The hard work of the Budget and Finance Office was highlighted, resulting in Lawrence achieving an impressive A credit rating—a testament to their dedication and financial prudence.
Perla Ortiz, Treasurer & Tax Collector:
The spotlight then shifted to Perla Ortiz, Treasurer and Tax Collector for the City of Lawrence. Ortiz shed light on the office's multifaceted responsibilities, including the collection of various taxes such as real estate tax, personal property tax, excise tax, and water bills. The Tax Collector's Office actively enforces payments presented by other departments, particularly collaborating with the Assessor's Office. Ortiz shared anecdotes of the bustling activity within the office, emphasizing its status as one of the busiest hubs in City Hall.
The "Know Your City: City Finances" session provided Lawrence residents with a rare opportunity to demystify the financial intricacies of their city. As attendees left with a deeper understanding of property valuations, budget management, and tax collection, the Lawrence Partnership's initiative continues to bridge the gap between citizens and the vital entities that shape their community. The success of this event underscores the importance of informed citizenry in fostering a resilient and flourishing city.