Amherst College is the #1 landowner in town
Amherst is in the top 3% statewide for highest property tax rates at $21.22/$1,000 landing in the top ten of over 350 municipalities ( #9).
The main problem with our little college town is we are more than half-owned by tax exempt education institutes: Amherst College our #1 landowner, followed by UMass/Amherst the flagship of higher education in the state, and of course the "I-think-I-can, I-think-I-can" little college that could, Hampshire College.
And the town itself is in the top four tax-exempt landowners with its extensive conservation, recreation and APR property.
How profitable would an airline be if a little more than half their passengers were "non revenue" free flights from employees or their friends and family?
And it's only going to get worse. Much worse. Looming on the immediate horizon are four -- count 'em FOUR -- major building projects, that all told could approach $100 million in total costs.
Yes, one-tenth of a Billion.
Pretty safe bet at this point the School Committee will chose a Wildwood School plan that includes a combined mega-school to replace both Wildwood and Fort River, costing between $61 and $66 million.
Thus taxpayers will be faced with an Override vote for Amherst's 50% share of that this coming November.
The Jones Library recently chose an architect for their expansion/renovation that could cost upwards of $40 million, with Amherst taxpayeers covering half that.
And it's beginning to look like the new Fire Station and DPW building -- with no state reimbursements -- will not come in at the "placeholder" price of $20 million each Finance Director Sandy Pooler postulated a year ago.
In other words before you go spending the money saved by low gas/oil prices, think about what your property tax bill is going to look like starting a very few years from now, let alone the outrageous amount it is already.
Click to enlarge/read
Numbers for four major construction projects given to Joint Capital Planning Committee March, 2015 (note how far off School and Library projects were)