North Adams Extends Due Dates for City Bills

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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Mayor Thomas Bernard announced Friday that in accordance with provisions of legislation passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor, the city of North Adams will extend due dates on real estate and personal property bills, motor vehicle excise bills, water and sewer bills, and exemption and deferral applications until June 1, 2020. These extensions apply regardless of the due date printed on the bills.

Category

Original due date

Extended due date

Real estate and personal property tax bills

May 1

June 1

Motor vehicle excise taxes

Various

June 1

Water and sewer bills

March 10 or later

June 1

Property tax exemptions and deferrals

April 1

June 1

In addition, the city will waive the payment of interest and other penalties on late payments that were due after March 10, 2020 and paid before June 30, 2020, for any excise, tax, betterment assessment, water or sewer bill, or other charge added to a tax. This newly granted authority only allows municipal chief executives to extend payment deadlines and waive interest and penalties through the end of the fiscal year on June 30, 2020. Under the new state legislation, payments made after June 30, 2020 will be subject to interest and penalties back to June 1, 2020.

"I’m grateful to Representative Barrett and Senator Hinds, to our Berkshire legislative delegation, and to the Baker-Polito administration for providing this flexibility to North Adams residents and those throughout the county and the commonwealth," Bernard said. "While the city encourages timely payment of bills, I understand many residents are facing challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. I hope these extensions will help provide some relief at a time when we all could use one less thing to worry about."

The city also will comply with the terms of this new legislation that prohibit termination of services such as water for nonpayment of taxes or fees due on or after March 10, 2020, and paid after the due date but before June 30, 2020. This situation applies when the nonpayment resulted from a demonstrated inability to pay due to the COVID-19 outbreak or the March 10, 2020, emergency declaration by the governor, provided that the inability to pay shall include a demonstrated financial hardship of a resident, including but not limited to loss of employment, serious illness or death of someone within the home.

In addition, following Gov. Charlie Baker's March 31 announcement extending the non-essential business emergency order and guidance for executive branch employees until May 4, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, municipal offices and buildings in the city of North Adams will remain closed to the public and non-emergency personnel until May 4. The North Adams Public Schools also will remain closed until May 4.

During this time, city staff are available to the public by phone and email. Staff also will work with members of the public to schedule appointments for any business that needs to be conducted in person.

Payments will be accepted by mail, online at www.northadams-ma.gov or may be dropped off in the secure drop boxes installed at each entrance to City Hall. For questions regarding payments, contact the Treasurer's Office at 413-662-3000, Ext. 3044, or email bcooper@northadams-ma.gov.


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North Adams Trying to Determine 'Worst Case' Budget Picture

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The city administration is looking at what kind of scenario North Adams can operate under without knowing how the state budget will play out. 
 
Mayor Thomas Bernard told the City Council on Tuesday night that "worst case is a hard thing to project right now simply because with 44 percent of our budget coming from state sources, a worst case is something that we can't manage, so what we're trying to figure out is what the worst case is that we can reasonably operate under."
 
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The novel coronavirus is expected to devastate budgets across the state as revenues have dropped over the past two months both locally and at the state level. The Legislature is basically rewriting the fiscal 2021 spending plan and figures provided to communities early in the year are no longer in play. If a budget is not in place by the end of the fiscal year on June 30, the city could have to adopt a continuation or 1/12 budget. 
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