Thursday, January 12, 2017
Down The Drain
Town Manager Paul Bockelman is proposing a 4.1% hike in water rates which will have to be approved by the Select Board, our illustrious water commissioners.
In his proposal/memo to the SB he points out that Amherst -- even with this price hike -- will have lower than state average costs for water/sewer. He also compares us directly with our neighbors Hadley, Northampton and Belchertown.
Fair enough I suppose, but in order to get a true comparison with those nearby communities why not compare our overall property taxes to them as well?
For instance Hadley is $11.15/$1,000 or half of Amherst's $21.22/$1,000 while Belchertown is $17.97/$1,000 and Northampton $16.16/$1,000.
Thus the average single family home in Amherst pays $7,078 in taxes this year, a Hadley homeowner only $3,477, in Northampton $4,865 and Belchertown $4,512.
Statewide, Amherst is in the top 3% for property taxes. Yikes!
And let's not forget Amherst has never not increased property taxes the full 2.5% allowed by law so when Mr. Bockelman debuts his budget today to the Select Board/Finance Committee just that simple amount will cost the average homeowner another $175 next year.
So I'm really not impressed with the average water bill going up "only" $18 per year. Why not take that out of the extra $2,500 or so we already pay per year (compared to our neighbors)?