New Bedford Councilors Focused on Taxpayers’ Future [OPINION]
The annual meeting of the New Bedford Board of Assessors and the New Bedford City Council to set the tax shift between the different types of property occurred this week.
The worst vote the members of a city council or a board of selectmen have to take is the setting of the tax shift each year. Those towns with a single tax rate for all types of property don't have to choose between the commercial taxpayers and the residential taxpayers. Those cities and towns with split property tax rates like New Bedford have to make a choice about which group of taxpayers pays more.
To its credit, the New Bedford City Council set next year's shift without any grandstanding or political posturing during the meeting that was dedicated to this particular issue. The council has a good number of homeowners among its members. Many of the members have deep connections to the business community, too.
Councilor Linda Morad had an interesting conversation with Michael Motta, the administrative assistant for the Board of Assessors, about the rise of values across all classes of property in the city. Councilor Morad, a property-owning taxpayer, spent her professional career in the world of Boston finance. Motta indicated property values have risen at least four percent across the board.
Based on her questions, it is clear the longtime councilor has been tracking the real estate values in her city with an eye towards her future votes on taxes. She has been comparing the recent sales of real estate and then comparing those sale prices to the value the assessor's office has attached to those properties. She is obviously concerned that the rising values of homes will squeeze the taxpayers she represents.
Councilor Morad soberly pointed out that spending is the issue and the council will need to focus on that if they are ever going to halt the rising cost to taxpayers.
It feels like a coalition of city councilors is building.
Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.