Tax increase counters growth, Holyoke chamber members warn officials

Holyoke chamber members

Keep the tax rate on commercial property below $40 and preferably around $39.50 to encourage growth and avoid losing businesses to other communities, Chamber of Commerce members said Thursday. Any increase in taxes just as negative and it's not an incentive for a business to expand and grow. Gary Rome was among nine speakers during the board of Assessors annual public hearing on tax classification. The hearing lasted less than an hour and is the prelude to the City Council setting the new tax rate, which is scheduled for December 20.

The current tax rate is $19.12 per $1000 valuation for residential property and $39.86 per $1000 valuation for business property. Trespassing into the $40 business property tax rate would signal Holyoke is additionally unfriendly to business to go along with the city having the highest business tax rate in the state.

Chief Assessor Anthony Dulude released figures that show values of properties in nearly every residential and commercial category have increased compared to last year, an average of 2%. City counselors and setting the tax rate decide how much of the tax burden falls on homeowners and how much on business.

Ward 5 Counselor Linda L. Vacon was among those noting that the infamous $40 line for business property taxation essentially had been crossed. Voters passage on the November 8 election ballot of the state Community Preservation Act or CPA means home and business property owners will be charged a fee, or surcharge, on top of their property taxes.

That funding, along with state funding that adoption of the CPA triggers, can be used for projects in only three areas: affordable housing, historic restoration and open space.

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