Friday, April 5, 2013

Show Me The Money!

So unlike Northampton, our real Sister City to the west, Amherst will not be voting on a Proposition 2.5 Override to balance the FY14 budget which starts July 1, 2013.  Although in Hamp's defense, it should be noted their property tax rate is only $13.35 compared to Amherst's $19.74 per $1,000 of valuation.

In addition to $6.2 million in reserves (plus the Regional Schools $1 million) Amherst also has unspent monies stashed in capital accounts previously appropriated by Town Meeting.  For instance the $200,000 for War Memorial Pool reconstruction.

After Town Meeting appropriated funds the state came through with a grant obviating the need for town money, so that's $200K sitting in an account without a mission.

Since it was appropriated for a recreational item at the town's oldest and largest playing field, why not use it to replace the aging wading pool with a spray park?

Spray parks are cheap to operate, easy to maintain, safe for our youngsters and not overly labor intensive.  After all, our kids grow up to be taxpayers.  And in this town, that's a heck of a burden.


Tom McBride said...

Of course if our taxes were based on income it would be easier to get the money, a person with extra income can afford to pay a little more. But that's not usually done. Vermont has a system that steps in that direction (different property taxes within a town), but I don't know the details. If we had more HOUSING AND COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT in this town, I think we would be better off. Hadley has a lower tax, and lower property values, so they're not paying as much as I am every quarter. And to my knowledge anyway, their schools are pretty good. I thought the tax rate in Amherst was actually $20.39 per thousand?

Larry Kelley said...

It is now (FY2013).

I only had a cool graphic for FY12, so I went with those figures.

Anonymous said...

if only you had grammar-check on your blog..."Spray parks are cheap to operated"

cheap to operated?

Larry Kelley said...

Actually I do that on purpose, figuring if that's the best you can find ...

Joel said...

A couple of points about property taxes:

1) Northampton also has a commercial rate and it's at about the one rate in Amherst.

2) In Amherst's favor (at least in practice), Northampton property assessments are very close to real market prices and change with a house purchase. I have found Amherst's assessments to be often significantly below the market price for a house. So, while the rate is much, much higher in Amherst, the taxes are often roughly the same as in Northampton for similar homes.

Anonymous said...

Guess Plainfield plays it close to the vest, huh?