Average residential tax bill to rise by $205 in Amherst

  • Amherst Town Hall GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 11/17/2020 4:26:29 PM

AMHERST — Average annual tax bills for homeowners in single-family homes in Amherst will be rising by just over $200 early next year. 

Town Council Monday voted 12-1 to approve a recommendation from the Board of Assessors and Town Manager Paul Bockelman to set a single-tax rate for both residential and commercial properties. District 5 Councilor Darcy DuMont voted against the recommendation. 

In making the decision at the tax classification hearing, residential property owners will see an expected increase in property taxes from $7,989 to $8,194, based on estimates provided by Principal Assessor Elizabeth Duffy.

That $205 increase is less than the $275 increase last year and reflects a tax rate expected to be set at $21.82 per $1,000 of property value. The average single-family home is assessed at $375,507.

In the current year, the tax rate is $21.32 per $1,000 of property value and the average single-family home is assessed at $374,722.

The council opted against a split tax rate, which would place more burden on commercial properties and saving residential taxpayers about $500 apiece. 

Duffy said unlike communities on the Interstate 91 corridor and cities and towns that are in proximity to transportation hubs, Amherst isn’t in a position to use a split rate. She pointed to her own familiarity with Windsor Locks, Connecticut, where she was an assessor for several years and the benefit it derives from being near Bradley International Airport.

Councilors also voted against what is known as the residential exemption, making non-residents pay more in taxes on their properties. In Amherst, using such an exemption would likely lead to a pass-through of the additional tax burden to renters, who not only include college students but senior citizens and others on fixed incomes. 

No public feedback was received by the Town Council during the hearing.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.

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