This tax relief measure will allow the Sarno Administration to eventually put forth a fair property tax rate recommendation for residential and commercial properties.
Mayor Sarno will submit the Administrations recommended property tax rate for FY23 once the state Department of Revenue (DOR) approves and certifies the city of Springfield property valuations.
Mayor Sarno states, “This is always a delicate balancing act of maintaining core and vital city services, programs and initiatives, while also being respectful to our residents and businesses. My administration is committed to providing as much relief that is possible for our taxpayers, while also being mindful of maintaining our fiscally sound management practices. In short, we don’t want to mortgage our future with short-term and short-sighted measures that will result in our taxpayers later experiencing a balloon property tax payment in the future, while also hindering our municipal efforts to providing services, programs and relief in the future.”
“My dedicated and award-winning finance team, led by CAFO TJ Plante, has thoroughly reviewed all of our options to providing much-needed relief to our tax payers, while also maintaining our sound fiscal management principles that have resulted with my administration putting forth a strong, stable and healthy budget every year with no layoffs and investing in our city’s fiscal health and stability by creating and maintaining the highest bond rating in the city’s history,” Mayor Sarno continued.
“By committing a total of $10 million to offset the FY23 tax levy amount, this will help to mitigate and lessen the potential increase in property taxes due to the significant increase in the Market Values of properties being bought and sold in the city of Springfield from the current ‘Seller’s Market’ being experienced in the Real Estate industry,” said Mayor Sarno. “I am confident that once the Department of Revenue certifies our local property values, my administration will be able to recommend to the City Council for their approval a residential and commercial tax rate that will be substantially lower from the previous year.”
CAFO Plante stated, “Thanks to our careful fiscal stewardship under the direction of Mayor Sarno the Office of Administration and Finance is able to continue to provide this much needed relief for our tax paying residents and businesses. It is always a delicate and challenging balancing act and this has never been truer than during this pandemic and economic uncertainty.”
Chairman of the Board of Assessors Patrick Greenhalgh stated, “I strongly believe that the tax relief measure, purposed by Mayor Sarno, simultaneously strikes a balance of fairness to our residents and maintains fiscal responsibility. I would like to encourage our residents to review eligibility requirements to determine if they should request an application for one of the State statutory abatements or personal exceptions that are available.”
Mayor Sarno and Assessor Greenhalgh would like to remind the public that homeowners may be eligible for property tax relief based on their personal circumstances. Especially for seniors, as Mayor Sarno submitted and the City Council approved additional monetary relief by modifying the limits on the State Clause 41C statute for tax abatements for seniors. The eligibility age has been reduced to 65 from 70, and the abatement amount to $1,000 from $500.
There are two types of applications. Homeowner Personal Exemption applications and Property Overvalue applications.
Homeowner Personal Exemption applications include State statutory relief for citizens of sixty-five years of age who meet certain income and asset levels; widows and widowers of any age with assets below a certain level; veterans of at least ten percent disability or otherwise meeting other criteria; and blind persons. In Fiscal Year 2022, over 1,000 households received some type of statutory relief, for an approximate aggregate savings of $601,268.
Property Overvalue applications are mostly used to appeal the Fair Market Value of your home to the Board of Assessors. If you believe the assessed value of your property exceeds the fair market value, it is your right to file an overvalue application.
The Assessor’s Office encourages all residents who are unsure if they might qualify, to call or come into the Assessor’s Office in order to discuss their options. The Assessor’s Office phone number is (413) 886-5256. Their office is located in City Hall, 36 Court Street, Room 9, Springfield, Massachusetts.
Mayor Sarno stated, “I want to commend my Board of Assessors – Patrick Greenhalgh, Matt Fontaine, and Jessica Guerra, and their staff for their efforts and the excellent job they do getting back to our residents and businesses that reach out for help.”
Additionally, seniors can file for the Massachusetts Senior Circuit Breaker Tax Credit for Owners and Renters. The Mass Senior Circuit Breaker Tax Credit is available for seniors age 65 or older, who meet certain income guidelines. For more information, please visit the Massachusetts Senior Circuit Breaker Tax Credit website at: www.mass.gov/info-details/massachusetts-senior-circuit-breaker-tax-credit
Mayor Sarno will also look to provide additional relief measures for residents during these surreal and challenging times through two relief initiatives.
Mayor Sarno will look to sponsor special home rule legislation with our local Springfield state delegation that would allow the city of Springfield to offer the $1,000 property tax abatement to property owners that meet the maximum income and asset limits but are under the age of 65.
Additionally, following the tremendous success where over 463 renter households and 128 owner households received assistance with their mortgage, rent and/or utilities bills from Way Finders thanks to the $3 million Mayor Sarno had allocated to the agency to provide much needed relief for our Springfield residents. Mayor Sarno will again look to utilize this special relief initiative and allocate much-needed resources and funding that will again provide assistance for Springfield residents with their mortgage, rent and utility bills, especially during these winter months and anticipated increase in energy bills.
“Once again, my administration is committed to providing any relief and support we can for our residents while being fiscally prudent so that we can maintaining core and vital services for our residents and business community,” said Mayor Sarno.