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Update: State Approves Cheshire Single Tax Rate

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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Update: Cheshire's single tax rate of $12.76 per $1,000 valuation was approved by the state. This is a .62 cent decrease from fiscal year 2021.
CHESHIRE, Mass. — The Board of Selectmen approved a single tax rate on Tuesday night for fiscal 2022. 
After a short presentation by the town assessors, the board approved a single, rather than split rate, but withheld the actual estimated tax rate that property owners can expect. 
"We are here to just get a vote from you guys so we can move forward with the tax rate, which we will submit when we go back to the office," Assessors Administrator Robin Wadsworth said. "Everything is ready to roll."
Town Administrator Jennifer Morse said she preferred to wait until the town has a certified number by the state to avoid confusion. Typically towns do provide as public information an estimate of the new tax rate, which can change once the numbers are certified by the state. 
The Selectmen agreed with Morse and opted to withhold the information.
Last year's calculated rate estimate was $13.38 per $1,000 valuation; the actual rate was $13.37, down 7 cents from fiscal 2020.
The Selectmen only indicated that the rate is decreasing.
Wadsworth said homes have been selling higher than valued, which has impacted the proposed tax rate.
"Values have increased which means the tax rate comes down," Wadsworth 
Wadsworth said she is excited to see how these numbers will trend going into the next year.
"It is definitely going to be interesting over the next few years how COVID affects things. People want to move here," she said. "As for building, I don't think people have built as much as they wanted to with supply issues."
Wadsworth said this unknown rate could still change once it gets state approval, but she didn't think it would be altered. 
"The enterprise fund has tripped us up in the past, but we should be good," she said. "I don't think there is anything that will be a problem. I don't see this number passing, but it has in the past."
The assessors also thanked new Morse for her help in the process.
"It has been an absolute thrill working with Jen, and she has really gotten everything together," she said. "We have really worked well she knows what this is all about and has made it go smoother."
In other businesses, Chairwoman Michelle Francesconi said Morgan Management has sold Pine Valley trailer park to a new company, Kodiak Property Management out of California
Tenants have battled for years with Morgan Management, which they called an absentee landlord that neglected park maintenance and other park needs. Specifically, a road project was left unfinished.
Francesconi said she already has questions about Kodiak, which has yet to reach out to the town.
"They have done an abysmal job of reaching out to the tenants of Pine Valley. They renamed the property Berkshire Village," she said. "... They fired the property manager and rehired him all within the same week and the residents are really stressed about what is coming because they don't have contact information."
Not all residents received a handout with tenant information, new late fees and new policies, she said.
"I think we need to hold a rent control board meeting and see if we can really dig into this," Francesconi said. "This is a bad way to start out this transition."  


Tags: property taxes,   tax classification,   

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Pittsfield Council Puts North Street Ballot Question to Rest

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The North Street ballot question was put to rest on Tuesday.

In a 7-2 vote, the City Council rescinded a Jan. 24 vote on Councilor at Large Karen Kalinowsky's petition to place a question on the Nov. 7 ballot that asks voters if North Street should return to a four-lane way.

Because Councilor at Large Peter White announced his intention to motion to rescind, it required a majority vote rather than a two-thirds vote, as clarified by City Solicitor Stephen Pagnotta.

Kalinowksy insisted that constituents want a say in the road configuration. She feels that the city did not properly consult the council and residents before making the change.

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