22 Snell Street
So that whooshing sound you hear and the glare reflecting off bright white siding is the look and sound of local tax dollars evaporating.
Yes Amherst College, the #1 landowner in town, is taking yet more property off the tax rolls. Last year they paid Amherst $330,000 (or about the tuition of 6 0r 7 students out of 1,648) mostly due to 44 houses they own and rent to professors, thus making them the largest single taxpayer in town (they also pay taxes on the Lord Jeff Inn and, unlike the town's Cherry Hill Golf Course, their more successful Amherst Golf Course.)
However, they recently purchased the Fiber Arts Building in town center for $2.3 million--but since it was only valued at $1 million the loss of tax revenue is $16,000. And with these two houses now going off the tax rolls that will be an additional drain of $15,500.
Not to mention they are using them for commercial office space which if owned by a private individual doing that extensive expensive amount of renovation work could almost double the valuation. And if Barry Roberts can’t lease the business space they are abandoning in the downtown, he can always request abatement from the assessor.
Yeah I know, Amherst College “donated” $100,000 last year to the town. Yippee. That does not even cover the $120,000 in fire and ambulance costs the taxpayers incurred servicing them.
Meanwhile the Lord Jeff Inn sits forlornly like blight on the downtown because Amherst College nixed/postponed the renovation project. That too cost Amherst tax money because--unlike the Umass Campus Center Hotel--the historic Lord Jeff did collect the 4% local hotel/motel tax and last year that amounted to $40,000 (plus the state is talking about raising it to 6% to help out local communities.)
So come on President Marx, I know the endowment took a hit and decreased to only $1 billion. But with Amherst public schools implementing devastating cuts, our award winning public safety departments stretched to the breaking point and state aid drying up like the War Memorial Pool, it’s time to for Amherst College to step up.
14 Hitchcock Street
The Bully Reports:
Fiber Arts Building dead in downtown center
Deadbeat Umass Hotel