About the publisher:
I guess it’s time to dig deeper into this Stockbridge RTE (aka Residential Tax Exemption) thing. First, how do I feel about this? I’m all for implementing it – at least for a year so we have some real data on how it works (ed). I must also say here that as a member of the city’s Monument Preservation Commission I do not in any way speak for this body.
Here’s why. I recently attended a review meeting. During this meeting, our lead appraiser stated that he had never seen the appraised values of Stockbridge homes rise so sharply. Average 13 percent for 2023. Do these calculations to find out what your property taxes will be next year.
Why is this happening? There are a number of reasons but the main one is what people have paid for houses like yours for sale in Stockbridge. We all know that COVID has led to a mass displacement of city dwellers in metropolitan areas. Then these guys came into town with considerable resources that we Stockbridgeians don’t have and got into bidding wars with other buyers. If they really wanted the house and it was for sale for $350,000, they would offer $400,000 in cash. Deal closed – city property valuations soar.
Why else am I for the RTE? As a member of our Conservation Commission, I have the opportunity to see most, if not all, of the building projects in the city. Here’s why this is relevant: Someone owns a small cottage and wants to improve it. In my experience, they don’t just update the kitchen or bathrooms. They’re tearing down the whole shack and erecting what I call monuments of money in its place. bam! tax bills increase. Folks, this isn’t you and I, our town’s voters and residents, this is…second home owners who are raising our property taxes.
There is the problem of division between second home owners and voters. For real? I’m not sure if that holds a heck of a lot of water. Example: The Stockbridge Bowl Association (which is almost 100 percent made up of second home owners) sued the city and the Conservation Commission, and I might add that every member has been sued for dumping defoliants (like Agent Orange) into the lake . We protested, they sued, and cost the city a lot of legal fees. Division!? You’ve already drawn that line. I have absolutely no problem drawing the next line. The RTE.
Please urge our special board to reconsider their recent straw vote on this issue. Ask them why they think it’s not a good idea. A petition is also being circulated in the city for supporters to sign. More than 100 signatures so far, and counting.
John H Hart