One of the houses recognized by last year’s Monte Cristo awards. (Ian Terry / The Herald)

One of the houses recognized by last year’s Monte Cristo awards. (Ian Terry / The Herald)

Everett scales back city’s Monte Cristo Awards to save money

The awards for well-cared-for properties will continue, but the event to honor winners will cease.

This story has been modified to correct the city’s plan for the Monte Cristo Awards.

EVERETT — Mayor Cassie Franklin has decided to cancel an annual event honoring winners of the Monte Cristo Awards, which recognize homeowners and businesses that take care of their properties.

The awards, now in their 24th year, will continue, the mayor’s office said. A gathering to call attention to winners will not.

The announcement was made Wednesday in an email to neighborhood associations.

The awards ceremony didn’t generate the desired level of civic involvement, the mayor wrote. It also wasn’t cost-effective.

In addition, the email said the city plans to stop sending snail mail postcards for neighborhood meetings, likely in 2019. The mailers cost about $37,000 a year, the mayor said.

“We will work with you over the next year to provide trainings and support” on using social media, websites and email, she said.

The city faces a long-term budget deficit that has been the subject of many public meetings in recent months.

The shift is meant to bring about better use of resources, Franklin said, referencing her five mayoral directives, one of which is focused on finances. Another is about civic engagement.

“The projected deficit for 2019 is more than $13 million, and the gap grows larger in the following years,” she wrote in the email. “We will have to make tough decisions about how we provide services and where we may be able to make changes.”

Monte Cristo award-winners receive plaques and certificates. The plaques sometimes are installed near their front doors. The accolades also often get referenced in real estate postings when those properties go on the market.

In 2017, more than 50 awards were given, recognizing homes and businesses of all values and from around town. Dutch Bros. and a nail salon were among the recipients.

Categories included Green Gardening, Neighborhood Friendly Business, Pride of the Neighborhood, and Rejuvenation and Transformation.

Reporter Andrea Brown contributed to this story.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; Twitter: @rikkiking.

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