Video and Handout: Property Tax Override Forum of 6/1/09

Here is a complete video of the Proposition 2 1/2 Tax Override Forum held on 6/1/09. The forum was sponsored by the Ward 3 Neighborhood Association. This video is 1 hour 59 minutes long and was recorded by Adam Cohen. The background buzzing noise at the beginning of the recording soon becomes minimal.

Download a PDF (178KB) of the 8-page Budget Information handout distributed by Mayor Clare Higgins. It covers the following topics:

  • Budget 2002-2010
  • New Revenue from Local Taxes
  • Allocation of Cuts by Department
  • Staff Changes 2002-2010
  • How Much is the Average Tax Bill as a Percentage of Value?
  • General Overrides 1983-2008 (cities and towns in Pioneer Valley)
  • Override Calculation (effect on your tax bill)
Here is the program of the forum as announced:

The Ward 3 Neighborhood Association has finalized the presenters for our forum on the proposed override. The forum will be held in the cafeteria at Bridge Street School on Monday, June 1 at 7 PM. The moderator will be Mr. Gerry Budgar, president of the Association.

The first presenter will be Mayor Clare Higgins. She will provide a brief summary of the sources of our current financial problems, the impact on City services in several possible scenarios as well as a description of how Proposition 2 ½ works. The second presenter will be Mr. Kevin Lake, who will talk about historic patterns in the City’s education spending. These two people will have 20 minutes.

The next presenter will be Pam Schwartz of Vote Yes Northampton, who will have 5 minutes to argue for the override.

The next two presenters will be Kathy Silva and Gene Tacy. They will each have 5 minutes to explain why they are opposed to the override.

When the presenters have finished, Gerry Budgar will take questions from the audience and guide them to any of the presenters who wish to respond.

See also:

Gazette: “City residents press for shared sacrifice” (6/2/09)
When asked about the status of union negotiations, Higgins said clerical workers, firefighters and deputy fire chiefs have signed on to a pay freeze; Department of Public Works employees accepted reduced hours with corresponding cuts in pay; and police officers did not accept a wage freeze, but they will see pay cuts because of cuts in a state- and city-funded education incentive program.

In addition, she noted, all non-union managers have accepted a pay freeze, as have employees working in the mayor’s office.

She said school officials are in talks with school employee unions…

Northampton Redoubt: “Northampton’s residential tax levy increases 61% between 2000 and 2009” (5/31/09)
The findings are that Northampton’s residential property taxpayers collectively have realized average annual tax increases of about 6.1% per year for the past ten years using 2000 as the base. I believe this is as a result of the addition of about 170 new residential units and increased property assessments. Commercial property taxpayers have seen annual increases of about 1.5% a year during that time period and industrial property taxpayers have actually seen a very slight decline of about .0035% annually…

These statistics present the beginning of an argument that would support a split tax rate between residential property owners and commercial/industrial property owners that would more equitably distribute the tax burden.

Northampton Redoubt: “Higgins gambling on a municipal budget” (4/18/09)

Vote YES! Northampton Launches Website to Support $2 Million Proposition 2 1/2 Override

Video: Mayor Gives FY2010 Budget Briefing to Ward 3 on 3/16/09
Supporting documentation for the FY2010 city budget outlook is available at