The 11 percent jump in the tax rate is largely because of the $1 million borrowing approved at town meeting in May. The borrowing to address a number of capital projects is excluded from Proposition 2 1/2 but the tax impact will only last five years.
The City Council on Tuesday approved to continue a split tax rate and to set the commercial shift at 1.71. That will reduce the residential tax rate to $18.62 per $1,000 valuation, down 49 cents over last year, and the commercial/industrial rate at $40.67, down 94 cents from last year.
Barbara Astorino, chairman of the Board of Assessors, addressed the board at the tax classification hearing. Although no specific tax rate was made available to the public, the board decided to go with a single tax rate as it has always done.
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.