Vol. IV No. 5 3/1/2023
Notes from the Board of Assessors (BOA), February 6, Hybrid meeting
- Gary Pitney, Chair
- Doug Goudey
- Michael Blay, Assessor
- Tammy Toupence, Secretary
- Tom Stokes via Zoom
- Deed changes (name on deeds) done by this week. Only 3 changes to make on the map.
- Goudey pointed out an error online (name of taxpayer does not appear)
- Annual Report for Town Report due
- Evaluation and tax rate changes
- Assessor's budget should include new cost for appraisals.
- Deadline for real estate abatements and exemptions was January 19
- When the Residential Tax Exemption (RTE) was turned down SB voted to include all other tax-relief options. BOA should discuss and make recommendation to SB.
- Beside RTE, there are three others allowed by the Commonwealth: for the blind, for the elderly and for veterans. However, the senior tax exemption is only $500 — Stockbridge could recommend to the State that it be more.
- In addition, Stockbridge has choices. For example, senior exemptions could fall under 41D which is a senior exemption based on income and equity and 41C 1/2 which does not take equity into consideration when determining eligibility. Stockbridge adopted 41D but could consider 41C 1/2. Stockbridge already adopted 41D but could shift to 41C — a municipality may only have one or the other. 41C 1/2 does not take income or equities into account in order to qualify. Stockbridge adopted both the Agriculture and Forestry Exemptions although neither takes income or equity into consideration to qualify.
- Chair said taxes pay the bills and have a responsibility to Town so BOA has to watch exemptions.
- Goudey pointed out that all exemptions are made up somewhere else and don't decrease income to Town. Any exemption is paid by reimbursement from the State or from the Town Overlay Account.
- Blay said letters went out requesting of nonprofits a list of any real estate they own and how it is used.
- Stokes reported Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) created questionnaire and selected 6 nonprofits to send it to and discuss it with.
- Stokes also announced he will not run for reelection after 6 years of service on BOA. The Chair and the Assessor thanked hm for his service.
Editor's Note: 1. When the state reimburses Stockbridge for statutory tax exemptions (for those over 65, those who are veterans or those who are blind), they are using tax dollars. If there is still a shortfall, Stockbridge uses funds from the Overlay Account which is part of Town budget and therefore, tax dollars. In short, the Town receives the money it needs to pay its bills because what one taxpayer is relieved of paying another taxpayer pays. This shift is true of all tax exemptions not just RTE though somehow folks only seemed to realize this with RTE.
2. There are other tax exemptions (besides RTE) that do not take income or equity (assets such as a bank account) into account when granting the exemption, for example, Agriculture and Forestry exemptions.
Photo: Blue Moon Images/Dana Goedewaagen