Mayor Vetos Split Tax Rate

Pursuant to the veto authority provided the Mayor in Article 3, Section 3-7 of the Town of Greenfield Charter approved by the voters of Greenfield June 11, 2002 and effective July 1, 2003, I, William Martin, Mayor, hereby Disapprove of Order no. FY18-041A for the following reasons:

Hinders New Economic Growth:

Our economic strategy has demonstrated success with measurable positive outcomes. The Total Value of the city has surpassed $1.4 billion for the first time ever.

Annual new growth reports highlight this upward trend. In 2018, Greenfield will have $835,000 in new tax dollars thanks to over $40,000,000 of new investment in our town. This represents over a 300% increase in development growth from 5 and 10 years ago. The largest driver of new growth in Greenfield is commercial and industrial property improvements.

Our strategy to improve our infrastructure and be prepared when the economy improved, create available opportunity sites, encourage an “accommodate & facilitate” attitude toward potential investors is a formula that has proven to be successful.

An abrupt change, such as this shifting of the tax to commercial and industrial properties, is counter-productive to this strategy. The business community has spoken and several companies have already reduced or stopped investments in Greenfield due to the pending tax rate change.

Residential Relief:

The promise of residential relief has been oversold. With this proposed action, thirty percent of residential taxpayers will see less than $100 a year off of their tax bill and 93% of residential taxpayers will see a reduction of less than 16.66/month. Is this small savings to the residential taxpayer worth the potential economic impacts on our downtown and our employers?

I believe that we cannot risk the negative downside of job elimination from current and future business and payroll loss from our local economy for such an act. Do we have a choice? Yes, we do. The Town Council should vote an equal classification of 1:1 as recommended by the Finance Director/City Auditor, Assessor, and Mayor and authorize a city-wide evaluation in 2018 to address assessments of all properties. In addition, a recommendation from the Council to form a task force that will report on the tax classification process and the potential impacts to budget and residents from the myriad of choices.

Cost of Services:

As an estimate, but on sound theory and formula, Residential property requires $1.45 for each $1 raised from taxation for services while Commercial, Industrial and Personal (CIP) property, each as a classification, requires considerably less. The cost of service for each $1 levied from taxation for CIP ranges from 0.10 to 0.45 cents. Shifting approximately $500,000 of the levy (taxation) to CIP increases the Residential subsidy by CIP and threatens our community economy with job loss, financial instability, decreased development and stagnant tax base growth. This action will interfere with our current momentum developing in several areas and strategies engaged to promote stability of downtown mirroring the Master Plan.

Respectfully Submitted,

William Martin


Calendar of Events
Mon, Jan 30, 2023, 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
City Hall Meeting Room, 14 Court Square
Tue, Jan 31, 2023, 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
John Zon Community Center, 35 Pleasant St. Greenfield, MA 01301
Wed, Feb 1, 2023, 12:00 pm