Principal Assessor David Burgess
Principal Assessor David Burgess made his scintillating annual appearance before the illustrious Select Board to set the tax rate for the coming year, which is already too high and will only go higher, from $20.54 up to $21.22 per thousand.
Also as usual the SB decided not to "split" the tax rate and charge commercial property more in order to save homeowners a small amount.
For instance if the board had decided for the maximum shift allowed the tax rate for homes would drop to $20.01 (pretty much the same ridiculous rate we pay now) and commercial would skyrocket to $31.83.
Or put in more simple terms the average taxbill for an average home would go from $6,842 down to "only" $6,456 while the average commercial bill would go from $7,627 up to $11,148. Ouch!
These out of whack numbers clearly underscore a major problem: Amherst is overly reliant on residential property, a whopping 90% of the tax base.
The good news is recent development has spurred annual "new growth" which Mr. Burgess projects around $750,000 for the upcoming fiscal year mainly due to Olympia Oaks and Kendrick Place coming on line.
And since rents are continuing to rise in Amherst he told the Select Board large apartment complexes will "take a hit" after his next reevaluation. With dwelling structures of 4 units or greater the assessor uses a formula that considers net operating profits so the higher the profits the higher the valuation the higher the tax burden.
Too bad he could not use that same formula with smaller (less than 4) housing units as slumlords could then be assessed based on their cash flow rather than the crappy condition of their units -- which leads to lower assessments and maximum profits.
Phillips Street, the slummiest street in Amherst, has only 1 owner occupied home