SHUTESBURY – Major infrastructure improvements, a senior property tax exemption, and an operating budget of $ 6.63 million for fiscal year 2022 will be unveiled to voters at the city's annual meeting on Saturday.
As in 2020, at 9 a.m., voters will gather in the field behind City Hall at 1 Cooleyville Road to accept the 26-item arrest warrant. People are encouraged to bring chairs, although a large tent is available to protect people from the elements. A port-a-potty is also set up.
One of the sizeable capital projects is the $ 1.1 million project to replace a culvert at the intersection of Locks Pond Road and Lake Drive, borrowing $ 500,000, transferring $ 250,000 from the capital stabilization account, and the balance of a $ 500,000 comes the Small Bridges State Grant, where $ 150,000 has already been paid for engineering and design work.
City Administrator Becky Torres said the project will include a major road reconstruction as an old metal culvert below the Lake Wyola Dam is being removed. Torres said there were concerns about protecting properties near the dam.
The second capital project depends on $ 300,000 of free cash to replace the roof of the Shutesbury Elementary School gymnasium.
Voters are asked to ask the legislature to advance a special law that would create a need-based exemption from property tax for senior citizens.
Administrative Assessor Kevin Rudden said he was given the assignment last year of figuring out a way to increase this roughly $ 1,000 benefit, noting that it would include the 29 qualified seniors whose tax bills averaged about $ 5,900 each Year does not help much.
The means tested exemption is tied to the state's top circuit breaker tax credit, a refundable credit on people's personal income tax return for property taxes paid, up to $ 1,150. As part of the petition, which is the same as those for other communities, the Select Board could offer an additional 50 to 200% of the senior circuit breaker's tax credit, adding that benefit between $ 575 and $ 2,300.
Rudden said 20 churches already offer the program, making it easier for elders to stay in their homes.
"It's a significant relief," said Rudden. Seniors could apply sometime in 2022 and put the tax exemption into effect for the 2023 tax year.
This would add between $ 20 and $ 77 the tax burden for people living in $ 250,000 homes.
The operating budget of $ 6.63 million is $ 27,072, or 0.41% more than the current $ 6.6 million, including $ 2.24 million for elementary school, an increase of $ 44,406 Dollar. or 2.02% of this year's budget of $ 2.19 million, while the rating for the regional schools drops to $ 1.61 million, a decrease of $ 64,737 or 3.68% from this year Budget of 1.67 million US dollars.
Torres said the regional school adjusting its evaluation formula is helping to balance the city budget and overcome last year's decision to add $ 220,000 in free cash to the operating budget.
In its report, the Finance Committee estimates a 3% increase in tax rate from $ 22.61 per $ 1,000 valuation to $ 23.37 per $ 1,000 valuation.
Town Meeting will also be asked to spend $ 17,000 from the stabilization account to design and develop an upgrade to the elementary school's HVAC control system. Use $ 20,000 from the Community Preservation Act account to build a fenced community garden in the land behind City Hall, with eight lots for resident use and expandable to 20 lots; and remit an additional $ 2,500 from the Community Preservation Act to hire a trail consultant to assess, expand, and connect the trails in the Southbrook Conservation Area and City Beach.
There are two changes to the zone regulations on the arrest warrant. One would provide better access points for solar projects on forest reserve, while the other involves associate members of the planning committee.
Scott Merzbach can be reached at [email protected].