Springfield, MA – Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, in an effort to continue to provide as much relief possible for City residents and businesses, announced today his preliminary recommendation for Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) property tax rates. The recommended rates for FY22 are $18.82 for residential property and $39.04 for commercial, industrial, and personal property (CIP). This recommendation has been developed in consultation with Chief Administrative and Financial Officer (CAFO) Timothy J. Plante, Chairman of the Board of Assessors Attorney Patrick Greenhalgh and the Board of Assessors.
Additionally, Mayor Sarno and CAFO Plante will once again provide relief to taxpayers by allocating $2.5 million from Certified Free Cash to reduce the City’s tax levy amount. This will help to mitigate and lessen the potential increase in property taxes due to the significant increase in the Market Values of properties being sold and bought in the City of Springfield from the current ‘Seller’s Market’ being experienced in the Real Estate industry. Furthermore, Mayor Sarno and CAFO Plante are committed to providing continued relief for taxpayers by planning to allocate another $2.5 million from Certified Free Cash for the FY23 tax rate too.
The proposed rates will be forwarded to the City Council for consideration.
The residential rate reflects a decrease of $.08, from last year’s rate of $18.90. If approved by the City Council, this will be the lowest residential rate since FY09.
The strong residential market in the city is notable for the historic highs in selling prices, which is reflected in the average single-family value rising to $185,100 from last year’s $172,900.
The average single-family tax bill produced by the proposed rate would be $3,484, which is expected to keep Springfield in the bottom ten percent of all communities in the Commonwealth. Last year, the average single-family tax bill was $3,268. While the average includes all single-family parcels, when we exclude all single-families that had some physical change qualifying as new growth, the median bill change would be $179.
The CIP rate reflects a decrease of $.19 from last year’s rate of $39.23. The CIP rate had remained the same since FY20. If approved by the City Council, this will be the lowest CIP rate since FY16.
Mayor Sarno stated, “As we continue to move towards recovery aspects from this COVID-19 pandemic, my Administration is committed to providing any possible relief for our residents and business community. This is always a difficult and delicate balancing act of recommending a fair tax rate to both our residents and our businesses. My administration is committed to providing what relief and support we can while maintaining core and vital services to continue stimulating business development and jobs, while just as important being respectful to our homeowners.”
The City’s housing market is up, which equates to higher selling values and home equity aspects too. For FY22, the City of Springfield has experienced a net gain of over 70 new single-family homes. Another contributing factor in the City’s healthy real estate market is the City’s very successful first-time homebuyers’ program.
CAFO Plante stated, “Thanks to our careful fiscal stewardship under the direction of Mayor Sarno the Office of Administration and Finance is able to continue to provide this much needed relief for our tax paying residents and businesses. It is always a delicate and challenging balancing act and this has never been more true than during this COVID-19 pandemic with the financial challenges this public health crisis has brought while continuing to maintain key and core city services and being respectful to our constituents.”
Chairman of the Board of Assessors Patrick Greenhalgh stated, “I believe we continue to strike a good balance of maintaining a sound and respectable fiscal tax rate while trying to provide as much relief we realistically can for our taxpayers. These are not easy decisions but we are confident that our taxpayers will realize less of an increase in their bills.”
“My Administration continues to be committed to being creative in providing any and all relief we possibly can. As we did back in 2020, I will continue to try and do what we realistically can to continue to help our homeowners, residents and business community. Once again, my administration will move to reduce the tax levy. This year I will move $2.5 million to once again reduce the City’s tax levy amount and in addition we will lower the residential and commercial tax rate to try and help alleviate the pressure our homeowners, residents and businesses are experiencing in order to continue to address quality of life issues, and enhance economic development and job retention and creation aspects,” said Mayor Sarno.
The assessed values of real estate reflect physical condition as of June 30, 2021 and market value as of January 1, 2021. If a resident or business property owner wishes to dispute the assessed value of their property, they can file an abatement application through the Assessor’s office. Those applications are due on or before Tuesday, February 1, 2022. Applicants must provide reasons and evidence to support their opinion of value.
Mayor Sarno reminds the public that homeowners may be eligible for some tax relief based on their personal circumstances. Among the means for qualifying for statutory relief are citizens of seventy years of age who meet certain income and asset levels; widows and widowers of any age with assets below a certain level; veterans of at least ten percent disability or otherwise meeting other criteria; and blind persons. In Fiscal Year 2021, over 1,000 households received some type of statutory relief, for an aggregate savings of $611,664.
For further information, please contact Patrick Greenhalgh at 413-886-5002.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Sarno and his Administration have provided many relief initiatives, programs and instruments for residents and businesses to take advantage of and help reduce the fiscal challenges experienced during the pandemic. Unfortunately, federal ARPA funds cannot be used to provide tax relief. Below are some of the items Mayor Sarno has initiated:
- Reduced the FY21 tax rate to $18.90 for residential property, which reflected a decrease of $.63 from the FY20 tax rate of $19.53. Was the lowest residential rate since FY09
- Maintained the FY21 tax rate of $39.23 for commercial, industrial, and personal property (CIP). No increase from FY20
- Provided $1 million of relief for city taxpayers by transferring from the City’s free cash account to reduce the tax levy amount to $227.5 million from $228.5 million.
- Adjusted the collection dates of certain taxes and fees – per state legislation
- Provided over $1.5 million in 4 rounds of Prime the Pump grant funding for businesses and nonprofits
- Asked License Commission to waive liquor license renewal fees for 2021 for restaurants and pouring establishments
- Provided over $2 million to Way Finders for mortgage, rent and utility assistance
- Provided an additional $300,000 to Way Finders for mortgage assistance
- Released Requests for Proposals (RFP) for funding opportunities under the City’s $123.8 million allocation of the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) for assistance with Small Businesses, New Businesses, Nonprofits, Households, Seniors and Economic Development and Job Creation
- Allocated $2.5 million from Certified Free Cash to provide relief for taxpayers to reduce the tax levy amount to $237.3 million from $239.8 million
- Will allocate $2.5 million from Certified Free Cash to provide relief for taxpayers to reduce the tax levy amount for next Fiscal Year (FY23)