Monday, November 10, 2008

Yeah, I’m the taxman

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After Board and Committees reports to Town Meeting tonight : the Finance Committee’s routine gloom and doom and the five minute follow up of even more gloom and doom from Facilitation of Community Choices Committee, the first issue Town Meeting votes on is to raise the collection fee notice from $5 to $10 for all the tax scofflaws in town.

A couple years ago the town hired some hustlers from the Boston area to search and assess small businesses in town adding a little over 200 to the 600 that were already on the town radar.

Of course the company fudged some of the assessments (because they were in a hurry and worked for commissions) and I’m pretty sure we no longer use them.

So the Amherst Athletic Club gets brought on the tax rolls for “personal property”--which is kind of a misnomer since they mean “business property”--for the first time in 25 years.

Town Meeting had told the assessor about ten years ago not to bother with smaller amounts since he stated that 90% of the total amount collected came from only five large companies and the other seven hundred and fifty were what you might call diminishing returns.

The town got greedy a couple years ago and targeted all the little fish, but last year went back to the high exemption meaning I—and almost everyone else-- no longer has to pay it…well, except for last year’s bill.

When you get behind on water/sewer the town simply tacks on a 12% interest charge and lets it go for years. But with this personal property tax they sick the sheriff on you.

Just another one of those anti-business vibes the town is famous for.


Anonymous said...

$278 is "small fish"? Hmmmm.
Of course, if all the Joe the Plumbers out there just paid their tax bills on time, there would be no late charges. I may be missing something here, but I'm not sure what it is. As the saying goes, 278 here, 278 there. Do that 750 times, and you have over 200 K.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, you are missing something. Most households in town (about 7,000 of them) have a washer/dryer, tv, computer, lawnmower, etc. in order to make it a home.

Now if the personal property tax were extended to them, rather than just the 10% of the commercial tax base (banks by the way were always exempt) it would raise a hell of a lot more.

Sure $278 times 750 is a lot--but most businesses in Amherst do not have to have a giant room filled with expensive state of the art exercise equipment, so the average assessment was WAY less than that; and in the opinion of the Assessor not worth the time to chase down.