Applications Available for the Governor's Youth Advisory Council

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BOSTON — Governor Maura T. Healey signed Executive Order #617 establishing the Governor's Youth Advisory Council to advise the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and the entire administration on issues impacting Massachusetts, such as civic engagement, education, the environment, housing, and youth violence.   
Applications to join the Youth Advisory Council will be available through Oct. 14 for Massachusetts residents aged 16-21.  
"I've been so inspired by the young people I've met who have been making their voices heard and demanding more from their leaders on the most pressing issues facing Massachusetts. They deserve a seat at the table," said Governor Healey. "Young people are uniquely positioned to advise us on policies related to climate, education, mental health, gun violence and more – because they've grown up confronting these issues and it's their futures that will be most impacted by the decisions we make today. I encourage young people across Massachusetts to apply for the council and help us meet the moment to make Massachusetts more affordable, competitive and equitable for all."  
The Council will include at least one from each county. They will be appointed to two-year terms and will meet with Governor Healey and Lieutenant Governor Driscoll quarterly.  
"The innovation and creativity of our Massachusetts youth are unmatched," said Secretary of Education Patrick Tutwiler. "They're all eager to be involved in civic engagement and have a hand at creating policies that will impact them and their peers. I am excited to work with and support this council to amplify the perspectives of our students and to conquer what matters most."
Applications are due by 11:59 PM on October 14, 2023. For more information visit
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Pittsfield Council to Tackle Tax Rate, Zoning Amendment Proposals

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council on Tuesday will take up the fiscal 2024 tax classification and a proposed battery energy storage overlay district.

On the agenda are public hearings for both items, with the tax rate continuing from last month.

The administration has requested a commercial shift of 1.75 that would result in a residential rate of $18.45 per $1,000 of valuation and a commercial rate of $39.61 per $1,000. After several councilors expressed concern about raising taxes, it was tabled.

"You are driving people out of Pittsfield," Councilor at Large Karen Kalinowsky said at the late November meeting.

The residential rate for FY23 was $18.32 per $1,000 of valuation and the commercial, industrial, and personal property rate was $39.21. If the council adopts the FY24 shift, there would be a 13 cent, or 0.7 percent, increase for residential and a 40 cent, or one percent, increase for commercial, industrial, and personal property.

An average home valued at $267,914 would pay an estimated $4,943 in property taxes, representing a $397.82 increase from the previous year when the average home value was $248,100. This would amount to about $33 additional dollars a month.    

Commercial properties would see a less dramatic increase of about $145, as the assessed median value has only increased by $1,550 from FY23. This would result in a tax bill of $8,377.52 for the median commercial property.

The Community Development Board has brought forward an amendment to the Pittsfield Zoning Ordinance by adding a new section under Chapter 23 of the City Code, titled the "Battery Energy Storage System Overlay District.” 

This would allow Pittsfield to embrace greener energy sources while protecting the interests of residents.

The goal is to provide regulatory procedures for BESS and BESS facilities, outline the application process for site plan approval and special permit applications, specify which districts are comparable with the use, discuss site requirements for each district where it is permitted, and require that interested departments respond with comments and concerns within 14 days of the application.

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