Colonial Village South East St (foreground) Belchertown Road to the rear
Last week in Executive Session the Board of Assessors unanimously sided with town Principal Assessor David Burgess and upheld his significant increase in valuation from FY14 to FY15 for four Apartment complexes in town: Presidential Apartments, Brandywine (both in North Amherst) and the two Colonial Village complexes in East Amherst off South East Street and Belchertown Road.
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The total increase came to almost $7 million in valuation, or with a tax rate of $20.97/$1,000, almost $150,000 in property tax revenue to the town. Enough to add a couple of firefighters or police officers to our desperately anemic public safety departments.
Although had they won the appeal it's no skin off the town's nose, because the tax base would remain the same (allowed by law to increase 2.5% per year) and other property owners would simply pick up the tab by having their valuations, or the tax rate, go up ever so slightly.
The apartment complexes can appeal the decision to the Appellate Tax Board in Boston or the Hampshire Council of Governments in Northampton, although since it's a complicated case it would probably have to be the former.
Either way, costly from a legal perspective.