Williams College President Maud S. Mandel was in front of the Select Board on Monday to discuss the school's strategic planning process, which includes soliciting input from a broadly defined group of stakeholders that includes students, alumni, faculty, staff and members of the community Williams calls home.
After nearly 90 minutes of discussion, the council voted 8-1 to keep the property tax shift at 1.71. It took the council some time to struggle through amending the order submitted by the mayor's office.
The council will vote on the tax classification for fiscal 2019 on Tuesday. Should the council approve, the commercial, industrial and personal property shift will go from 1.71 back to 1.73, where it had been for several years.
The tax rate is increasing by $1.23 per $1,000 of assessed property valued.
The town is continuing with a single tax rate and that is resulting in an increase to the tax rate to $22.63 per $1,000 of assessed value. For the average single-family home, the increase will be $350.99 per year. The rate is set after town meeting approved a budget in the spring and the numbers shake out by the fall.
Do you remember where you were in 1993?
That's the question Mayor Linda Tyer asked in her office Wednesday morning. Because 1993 was the last time the tax bill for the average single-family home in Pittsfield decreased. It was 2007 when the city's tax rate had declined from the previous year.
The Selectmen held the annual tax classification hearing Tuesday with the Board of Assessors and were pleasantly surprised to hear that new growth in town has sent the tax rate south with an almost 6 percent decrease.
The board met jointly on Monday with the Prudential Committee, which oversees the Fire District, to hold its annual tax classification hearing. As has been the town's practice, both bodies agreed to continue with a unified tax rate instead of shifting more of the burden onto commercial properties.
Assessor Ross Vivori said the town usually gains $8,000 to $12,000 from annual growth but this past year it gained more than $30,000 on $2 million in new growth.
The town's total assessed value also increased dramatically, by $9 million, showing a strong recovery from the falling values of several years ago.
The council approved the split tax rate that will see the residential rate rise about 4 percent, up from $17.67; the commercial rate will rise about 3 percent, from $38.54 to $39.85 per $1,000 valuation. A single family home assessed at $138,300 would see another $123 on the tax bill.
The City Council on Tuesday accepted an unknown amount of money left by late state Rep. Gailanne Cariddi for the North Adams Public Library.
Cariddi, who died at age 63 in June, named the library as a beneficiary under an insurance policy and apparently left cash benefits in her will.
During the town's tax classification hearing Wednesday, the board approved a rate that would increase the residential rate by 84 cents per $1,000 valuation and set a new commercial rate of $25.52 per $1,000 valuation.