North Adams mayor to propose tax plan that would ease commercial burden

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NORTH ADAMS — Mayor Richard Alcombright will introduce a proposal to slightly ease the burden on commercial taxpayers on Tuesday.

Alcombright will propose a lower tax shift, from 1.73 to 1.71, to prevent the city's commercial, industrial and personal property tax rate from exceeding $40 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

North Adams currently has the fifth-highest commercial tax rate of any community in the state, though local officials note that low property values inflate that figure.

The downward shift, if approved by the City Council at its meeting on Tuesday, would increase the relative burden on residential taxpayers.

The city's residential taxpayers have long enjoyed a shift toward commercial property taxes that is at or near the minimum allowed under state law.

Under Alcombright's proposal, the commercial tax rate would increase from $38.54 to $39.85 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

But the residential rate would rise from $17.67 to $18.38 per $1,000 of assessed property value, an annual increase of $123 to the average single family homeowner.

"I am recommending this as our commercial growth has been good and our commercial rate at the current shift would be over $40 per $1,000 of valuation," Alcombright wrote in a letter to the City Council this week.

The largest shift — and thus the least burdensome on residential homeowners — is 1.75. The current shift is 1.73.

If the council held true to recent tradition and maintained the 1.73 shift, the commercial tax rate would increase from $38.54 to $40.32 per per $1,000 of assessed property value. The residential rate would rise from $17.67 to $18.24 per $1,000 of assessed property value, an increase of $104 to the average single family homeowner.

The city's overall tax levy in fiscal 2018 will be $16.9 million, an increase of 4.6 percent from the previous year. This figure is $96,000 below the city's tax levy limit for the year under proposition 2 1/2 , according to Alcombright.

"As we establish this CIP shift tonight, we are assuring our community that we will be able to provide services at acceptable levels," Alcombright wrote.

Reach staff writer Adam Shanks at

ashanks@berkshireeagle.com

@EagleAdamShanks on Twitter

413-496-6376



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