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Pittsfield Council OKs TIF for Bousquet Sport

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council last week approved a 10-year tax increment financing agreement for Bousquet Sport that will relieve about $215,000 in real estate taxes — but not without pushback.

"I think it's wrong that we are giving tax breaks to the rich and we are sitting there emptying the pockets— and as that gentleman that spoke at the open mic, he's a middle-class resident and it is hurting his family," Kalinowsky said in reference a homeowner that said his bills are making it hard to survive in the city.

"What is it doing to our low-income people? I'm sorry. I'm disgusted with this council, I'm disgusted with this budget, and I'm still going to vote no."

Ward 2 Councilor Charles Kronick also voted in opposition. He explained that he voted in favor of the TIF at the finance subcommittee but was swayed by Kalinowsky's comments.

Kronick said there is a "gross discrepancy" in how the city treats fixed-income people, the taxpayers, and established businesses.

The owners, Mill Town Capital, are embarking on a $15 million renovation of the former Berkshire West after revamping Bousquet ski resort across the street.

The improvements include a new 15,000-square-foot facility, six outdoor pickleball courts, six indoor pickleball courts, five outdoor tennis courts, eight outdoor tennis courts, and two golf simulators. This is in addition to the renovations on the 45,000-square-foot facility including new locker rooms, cardio and fitness equipment, lighting, upgrades for code compliance, and exterior renovations.

It is expected to create three full-time jobs and 15 part-time jobs with a payroll increase of about $630,000.

The property's base value is $1.7 million; upon completion, it will be about $2.7 million, making the TIF tax liability about $998,000.


Ward 5 Councilor Patrick Kavey pointed out the city normally does TIFs when there is a significant investment in a property and the assessed value before the renovations was low, meaning the city would get less tax revenue.

Mayor Linda Tyer confirmed that more tax revenue will be generated in this case compared to the original condition of the property.

"There is a base that is set, the owner pays the tax on the base, and then there is an assessed value based on the capital investment and in this case, a pretty significant capital investment, and then that part, the difference is phased in over time," she said.

She added that eventually when the full value is taxed, the amount paid will continue to increase.

"We're pitting residents against commercial again. We're doing this again where we're putting A versus B," Councilor at Large Earl Persip III said.

"We need to stop doing that as a council, nobody wants to raise taxes. We go back to that. This is a company that's putting $19 million into this property, and maybe that's even more. If they don't make the investment, we get less money, and that hurts the taxpayer. This investment is helping the taxpayer. This reduces the burden on the taxpayer."

Kalinowsky said she was not trying to pit people against one another and cited long-term city businesses that are struggling.

"When you compare one small business to someone getting a TIF that's pitting them against each other," Persip replied.

"What happens to these businesses we talked about are struggling when the burden, the tax rate, is still with them. If they don't do the renovation, the burden belongs to the commercial people we're talking about struggling, the residents we're talking about struggling."


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Pittsfield Little League 11s, 10s See Tourney Runs End

By Leland BarnesiBerkshires.com Sports
PITTSFIELD , Mass. — After a strong outing by pitcher Cam Ginnity, the Holden Little League 11-year-old All-Stars defeated Pittsfield, 15-1, to move on in the Section 1 tournament on Sunday at Deming Park
 
Each team went into the elimination game with a 1-1 record.
 
Holden’s offense sparked early in the game with a series of walks finished off by a two-RBI single by Cole Pare, and a run scored on a passed ball.
 
During the game Pittsfields Offense struggled heavily against Ginnity
 
He registered five total strikeouts as well as going the distance in the run-rule win.
 
“Cam [Ginnity] is one of our better pitchers, he also has a really good team of players behind him,” Holden coach Matt Gull said.
 
Offensively, Holden’s Evan Zaccaria went 2-for-2 with a double, single and a walk.
 
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