WILLIAMSTOWN -- While The Spruces Mobile Home Park has officially lost about 70 percent of its homes following Tropical Storm Irene, it has unofficially lost about 80 percent of its taxable value.
Principal Assessor William Barkin said Tuesday that prior to Jan. 1, 2012, The Spruces was assessed at about $6.2 million. Now its valuation is about $1.3 million, pending certification by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue.
"We're basing our valuation on 60 mobile home sites as of Jan. 1, which is what Morgan Management reported to the Board of Assessors," he said.
The assessment, which was determined by a formula used for commercial investment-type property, had been based off of 229 sites in previous years, he said.
"The loss in The Spruces' assessment spreads the tax burden to everyone else," he said.
By law, the status of all local property has to be reflected as of Jan. 1 for the upcoming fiscal year, which will begin on July 1 of that year, he said.
He expects the fiscal 2013 valuations of all local properties will be certified by the Department of Revenue around August, he said.
Finance Director Janet Saddler said Thursday that the town is anticipating a loss of $97,000 in revenue that would have come from The Spruces in fiscal 2013. The lost revenue includes $70,000 in real estate taxes, $15,000 in motor vehicle excise tax and $12,000 in fees, she said.
"We have also anticipated a decrease in water and sewer usage at The Spruces post Irene, but to date, the drop in usage has been insignificant," she said.
The Spruces flooded during Tropical Storm Irene on Aug. 28, 2011 causing the retirement community's 273 residents to be displaced and more than 160 homes to be condemned.
As of Feb. 13, the number of uninhabitable mobile homes had dropped to 113, as some homes were repaired and others demolished.
Despite the expected loss of revenue, revenues for fiscal 2013 are still projected to be up by 2 percent.
Town Manager Peter L. Fohlin has presented a fiscal 2013 budget that reflects that 2 percent increase, and doesn't increase the property tax rate. The current rate is $13.98 per $1,000 valuation.
Fohlin said Thursday that no simple answer will suffice for how the town is addressing the projected loss in revenue and how the loss in revenue will impact the budget in fiscal years beyond 2013.
"I can only comment that we will need to continue to find creative ways to do more with less," he said.
The town's five-year financial plan, which covers fiscal 2011 through fiscal 2016, projects increases in revenue of 1.8 percent, 2.6 percent and 2.6 percent for fiscal 2014, 2015 and 2016, respectively.
Property tax revenue is projected to increase by 3.2 percent each of those three years, while non-property tax revenue is expected to decrease by 3.3 percent in fiscal 2014, and then by 0.1 percent each for fiscal 2015 and 2016.