Mayor Richard J. Kos has scheduled a special meeting of the City Council for a classification hearing and tax rate setting meeting for November 9, 2016 at 8:00 PM in the City Council Chambers at the request of the Board of Assessors, with the cooperation of Council President John Vieau.
The proposed fiscal 2017 tax levy, the amount to be raised through real estate taxes, is $78,645,490.82. That amount is $2,177,548 greater than the amount raised in 2016. This increase in rate includes the recent appropriation for education approved by the City Council in the amount of $1,250,000 to assist with a deficit the School Department was facing of $4.4 million attributed to a reduction in state aid, declining enrollment, and increases in health insurance.
The classification hearing is held by law by the City Council in which they consider a shift in the real-estate tax burden between the residential and commercial rates. The rate utilized last year (FY2016), was a 152% commercial shift. If the Council was to utilize the maximum shift (154%) in the upcoming tax year, the residential rate would be $17.31 per thousand and the commercial rate would be $32.49.
That proposed rate would represent an increase in the residential tax rate by $0.40 per thousand, or an annual increase of $72 in the average single family tax bill. The average single family tax bill would be $2,978 which would still be among the lowest average residential tax bill in Western Massachusetts.
The 2017 increase in levy is approximately 2.85% of which the majority consists of the aforementioned School contribution. The increase for municipal budget purposes excluding the School commitment would be 1.21%.
The City’s current fiscal 2017 tax levy of $78,645,490 is $6,439,766 below the proposition 2 ½ levy limit of $85,085,256 which would be the maximum amount the City could raise through taxes, but has chosen not to so levy.
“I am very pleased that we are able to maintain the level and quality of services in the City of Chicopee that we have all come to enjoy,” said Mayor Kos. “Our commitment to maintaining a level and quality of services in the City of Chicopee continues, however the financial pressures within our School Department have created a situation where we needed to make an additional commitment to our schools and to our children. I will continue to work with the City Council to maintain and improve our city always considering our taxpayers.”