Northampton City Council to take final vote placing override before voters
NORTHAMPTON — The City Council is expected to take a final vote Thursday to place a $2.5 million property tax override before voters in a special municipal election June 25.
The council at its April 18 meeting voted in favor of Mayor David J. Narkewicz’s request to put the measure before voters as a way to close a budget gap of $1.4 million and to help maintain level services through fiscal 2017.
The council meets at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Puchalski Municipal Building behind City Hall.
The Proposition 2½ override would add 79 cents for every $1,000 of assessed home valuation, increasing the tax bill for an average single-family home valued at $297,323 by about $235.
The tax would be permanently added to the city’s tax levy, unlike an override for debt exclusions to raise taxes to fund construction projects. Those taxes go away when the loan is paid off.
In a presentation to the council two weeks ago, Narkewicz said $1 million of the $2.5 million in additional tax revenue would go to schools and about $726,300 to other city departments. Another roughly $773,700 would be placed in an override stabilization fund. Six of the seven councilors at the last meeting supported the request, with Ward 7’s Eugene A. Tacy abstaining. Two other councilors, Ward 1’s Maureen T. Carney and Ward 2’s Paul D. Spector, were absent.
Other business on the council’s agenda includes:
■ A public hearing at 7:05 p.m. on a National Grid petition to install a new utility pole on Meadow Street to provide electricity for an irrigation pump at the Florence Recreation Fields.
■ A second vote on a resolution to seek recognition as a state-authorized cultural district.
■ Referral of five petitions for street acceptance to the Board of Public Works and the Planning Board. They streets include Tyler and Prospect courts, Paquette and Carpenter avenues and Service Center Road.
■ An order to seek grant funding for expansion of the Norwottuck/Mass Central Rail Trail in Leeds from Grove Avenue to Williamsburg, including repair of the Beaver Brook Bridge.
■ An order to purchase a shared easement, with the town of Williamsburg, for the eventual extension of the Norwottuck/Mass Central Rail Trail to South Main Street in Williamsburg.
■ An order transferring $238,877 from the city’s free cash account to five accounts for veterans benefits, legal services and workers compensation.
■ An order transferring $55,869 from the legal judgement account to a fire salaries account to fund settlement of a lawsuit brought by city firefighters.
■ Second votes to approve Community Preservation Act projects: $95,000 on renovation of City Hall and $10,000 to help low-income people secure housing.
■ A second vote approving an order to seek bids to redevelop the Roundhouse parcel.
■ Two votes on a financial order to close out the completed water filtration plant project at the request of the state Department of Environmental Protection.
■ A second vote on an order, postponed from the council’s Jan. 17 meeting, to allow the Office of Planning and Development to spend money from a tourism gift account for gateway signs, among other items.
■ An ordinance amendment rezoning watershed protection throughout the city.