North Adams Transcript
CLARKSBURG -- Selectmen announced the town is exploring leasing two offices on the town hall’s second floor and discussed the town’s increased tax bills at Wednesday night’s meeting.
Chairman Carl McKinney announced the accounting office will share space with the Planning Board and the building inspector. With excess space in town hall, the town is exploring the possibility of leasing out the two rooms to generate additional revenue.
"We have no individuals or firms, nor have we been approached by any," McKinney said. "But we’re putting it out there that there will be space available."
McKinney said a possible tenant must have consistent hours with the town and couldn’t be open on weekends.
McKinney also gave an update on a parcel of land off West Road the state acquired in 2006, which will eventually be entered into the payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) program. There are discrepancies regarding the property’s size, he said. While the state indicates it is 130 acres, maps from the town show it is 257 acres.
McKinney explained he and Webb are in the process of contacting the town’s mapping company to determine the property’s true size.
This sparked a discussion on PILOT funds the town receives for the roughly 4,300 acres of land owned by the state, which constitutes 53 percent of total land in town.
"Our PILOT payments are totally inadequate for the amount of property they own in the community," McKinney said. He added he and Webb calculated the land was worth $200,000 in taxes, relative to what the town charges for property taxes.
While the town received $33,000 in fiscal year 2001, amounts since then have been erratic and the general trend shows a decrease. McKinney said the town received $27,000 in 2002, and in 2004, a meager $8,000.
The Selectmen also discussed residents commenting on an increase in their tax bill. McKinney estimated the budget for fiscal year 2013 had gone up $200,000 from the previous year’s. McKinney pointed to the town’s assessed property values dropping while expenses rose as the reason for the increase.
"We’re doing all we can to keep a handle on the expenses," McKinney said, adding Webb recently negotiated a waste removal contract that will save the town about $100 a month.
McKinney said in light of this, there are a number of warrant articles to expand abatements to town residents, where certain people qualify for a reduction in property taxes.
"We want to make sure taxes are not a reason people will leave the town," he said.
To reach Edward Damon, email