Mayor Richard Alcombright said the meeting was to close out the budget year, not to rehash budget decisions made months ago.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The City Council on Tuesday approved a split tax classification and the transfer of $166,000 in certified free cash to balance the budget.
The approvals with put to rest more than a week of argument over whether to use more reserves to lower the tax rate, raised by Councilor-elect John Barrett III at last week's special hearing on the tax classification.
The vote was unanimous on the transferring $166,000 but 8-1 with Council President Ronald Boucher voting negative to set a split tax rate.
That sets the residential tax rate at $14.82 or about $112 more a year on the average single family home assessed at $135,000, or a total bill of $2,000.
No councilor moved to amend the amount of free cash, despite calls by resident Mark Trottier for one to "have the moxie." Trottier asked the rate be decreased by 22 cents as a goodwill gesture using some $200,000 in so-called replenishable reserves. That would have reduced the average tax bill by about $35.
Louis Chalifoux claimed the city taxpayers were "paying a premium" relative to the percentage of taxes and Robert Cardimino warned that taxpayers were stressed to max.
The Finance Committee, however, agreed with the mayor that reserves should be sheltered for capital projects and emergencies and that the budgets should more closely align with revenues, including taxation.
Councilors also tried to clarify what they believed was confusion over what was happening because of several references to budgetary items.
President Ronald A. Boucher was the lone negative vote against the tax classification.
"I want to get out that we approved a budget based on these assumptions and now we're just finalizing them," said Councilor Lisa Blackmer. "It's not that we're doing a new budget or we're adding expenses or new revenues or anything ...
"I think some people are confused. Until this year, we've never had anybody show any interest in this particular meeting."
Boucher asked City Assessor Ross Vivori to explain the process. Vivori said the city takes fees and other revenues, property valuations and other financial items, totals them and submits them to the state for certification.
"There's a ton of math, formulas, calculations and spreadsheets that are in there," he said. "Basically, once we go through everything it establishes what the percentages are what the shift will be."
Alcombright said between the taxation from the allowable levy limit and state aid would bring the total raised to within $400,000 of this year's spending plan. The $166,000 and an extra $271,000 in state aid will fill the hole.
"I, as others, don't like the increases but things do have to get paid and I hope with this raise this will be the end for 2012 if this goes through," said resident Donna Dickinson.
Alcombright assured her "there will be no more increases, that will be the tax rate."
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It's so very simple yet some people just don't and will never get it, so I'll speak slowly for them...If...You...want...nice...things...nice roads...a pretty city...proper city infrastructure...and a nicely maintained city again...you...have...to...be...willing...to...pay...for...it. The...state...money...well...is...dry!!
Good lord, get over it already. It needed to be done. There are no more free rides. The sooner we all accept that FACT, the sooner we can come together as a community again.
So per DA's words, no debt exclusion override since that would be either a tax increase or fee increase. Not sure how he is going to weasel of out this, and I dont think even the editor here can agrue wiith this......DA backed himself into a big corner.
Hats off to Lew for his great analysis.....again DA was speechless
This is just one examaple of the north adams 1% at work. Don't go away they will be back for more of your money.
Just a thought . If the mayor is so smart, why does he drag 3 or 4 people to the meetihgs with him to answer his questions ??
Alcombright didn't back himself into any corner. The 2012 budget is done and passed. They start working on the 2013 budget in February. If you are talking about a tax increase for new schools, that won't take effect for 2-3 years, and that's if two schools are built. Thank god the so called watch dogs are in the audience and not running the city council. They neither understand the budget, how to calculate increases, and can't come to the realizations they are not heroes to the citizens. Trottier said it takes "moxy" to give tax payers a break. Wrong. Giving tax payers a break is easy. Balancing the budget and making unpopular decisions takes moxy. Chalifoux said we would be better off if tax bills were $4300. No thank you! I prefer the average $2000 bill North Adams residents get. Cardimino can't add 2+2 and is the leader of contradictions and hypocrisy. What happen to him not coming to meetings any more. Another lie. Let’s hope we get a city council president with some “moxy” that shuts down these fools and their clown show once Boucher is gone.
nice to see the type of people that associate themselves with DA...All tax raisers, and all looking for loopholes to raise our taxes...ie. well the fiscall year ends in June so he can / will raise taxes again after that.
If you want to pay so much....write a check for me. I would prefer less services...get rid of the senior center for one....and lots of useless school programs can go. Losers will be losers.
If North Adams actually had a 1%, we might be able to keep a few more shops open downtown, or a have schools that aren't a desperately trying to do the job with a huge population of at risk kids, or have property values that are pretty much the lowest in the state and still declining. We might not be worrying about what will get cut - liberary or senior center. We might not have to choose between cops and kids.
We might have a portion of the bottom 1%, but that's about it.
Wealth in an of itself is not a bad thing. Treating rich people like gods because they can give bigger campaign contributions is the problem.
North Adams could definitely use a few more rich people and few less like the whiners around here who can't pull their own weight.
To the Editor,
Maybe the council rules are an illegal act? Are you also and expert on the city charter? Maybe it is time for the public to demand the city reopens the charter for a review. We certainly do not need 9 do nothing councilors for 13,000 residents.
To define and describe the city councils actions as pathetic, would clearly be and understatement. To claim it is more difficult to balance a budget, rather than giving a much needed taxbreak to the residents is utter nonsense. The taxbreak certainly would have taken more moxie. (F.Y.I), moxie is spelled moxie in Webster's, and not moxy. Also, I am assuming the council is unaware of the definition which in is courage, something this council truly lacks. The council, along with the Mayor simply used a 271k gift from the state, and another 60 plus thousand, along with a transfer of money already in the budget. Where is the moxie in those actions. The tough decisions requiring moxie would have taken place setting the budget, and staying within its means, as the tax base in the city can no longer support what the council and Mayor seem to want.
Also, it is my opinion certain members of the council clearly lack a sense of professionalism, which has been visible in their total disregard and lack of respect towards taxpaying residents attending council meetings. I find their actions very appalling. If the council, and nominated council President Bloom believe that strong arming the public will stop residents from
exercising their 1st right amendments, they are sadly mistaken.
Where would my family sign up for the shelter if the City sells the Son's of Italy? Possibly City Hall? It would be a great location, as it is close to the bus route, and near the free lunches at Post Office Square. Heritage Park would be another good location, with the upside being a homeless shelter at the Heritage Park, the City would get equally the same amount of rent as it is currently receiving, which is nothing. I am close to just turning the keys over to the Hoosac Bank. And they can thank a former employee for making things unaffordable.
Editor: All the positive people moved out of town before the next tax bill arrived, High, Higher taxes, Lack of respect towards taxpayers, No Moxie, just a big big joke in North Adams, then you have a Mayor with no brass [edited] trying to be like the 1%.
Editor You asked where are all the positive people. Well they are the ones that will benefit from the unfair taxes. The business owners and city unions. Merry Christmas for them and the rest of the 1%.