Category Archives: Budgets

MMA on Gov’s budget

MMA-3

GOV. BAKER FILES $44.6 BILLION FY 2021 BUDGET PROPOSAL

• $31.6M INCREASE IN UNRESTRICTED MUNICIPAL AID (2.8%)

• GOV’S CH. 70 PLAN WOULD INCREASE FY 2021 SCHOOL AID BY $303.5M (5.9%)

• YET MANY DISTRICTS REMAIN MINIMUM AID AT $30-PER-STUDENT

• CHARTER SCHOOL & SPECIAL ED REIMBURSEMENTS INCREASE

• MOST OTHER MUNICIPAL AND SCHOOL ACCOUNTS LEVEL FUNDED

January 22, 2020

 

Dear Osler Peterson,

 

Earlier this afternoon, Gov. Charlie Baker submitted a $44.6 billion fiscal 2021 state budget plan with the Legislature, proposing a spending blueprint that would increase overall state expenditures by 2.3 percent, as the Administration deals with slow revenue growth by restraining most spending across the board and placing an estimated $310 million into the state’s rainy day fund. The budget relies on significant one-time revenues of at least $200 million from a sales tax “modernization” proposal, and an increase in the tax on transportation network companies.

 

UNRESTRICTED MUNICIPAL AID INCREASED BY $31.6 MILLION

As Gov. Baker pledged to local officials at the beginning of his administration, his budget includes a $31.6 million increase in Unrestricted General Government Aid, tracking the expected 2.8% increase in state tax revenues. Implementing this state-local revenue sharing framework continues to be a significant victory for cities and towns, and is good news in a budget where overall state spending is held to a 2.3% increase.

 

Click here to see the Division of Local Services preliminary fiscal 2021 Cherry Sheet aid amounts for your community

 

OVERALL CHAPTER 70 SCHOOL AID WOULD GO UP BY $303.5 MILLION, A 5.9% INCREASE – ALTHOUGH A LARGE NUMBER OF DISTRICTS ARE EXPECTED TO REMAIN AT MINIMUM AID ONLY

Fulfilling the commitments in the new Student Opportunity Act, the Governor’s fiscal 2021 budget submission would bring Chapter 70 school aid up to $5.48 billion, a $303.5 million increase in school aid. This would fund the first year of the 7-year plan to add $1.5 billion in new state funding for K-12 education. The majority of the funds would implement the improvements to the foundation budget, adding weight for low-income students, English Language Learners, special education costs, and school employee health benefits. While this is important progress for some communities, an initial look at the budget indicates that a large percentage of cities, towns and school districts would remain minimum-aid-only, and receive the minimum $30 per-student increase in the Act. MMA members from across Massachusetts have unanimously adopted resolutions calling for at least $100-per-student in minimum aid for the past several years, and the MMA will continue to strongly advocate for significantly higher minimum aid throughout the budget process.

 

Click here to see DESE’s calculation of fiscal 2021 Chapter 70 aid and Net School Spending requirements for your city, town, or regional school district, based on the Governor’s proposed budget and legislation. This landing page will also include the preliminary fiscal 2021 charter school assessments and reimbursements

 

CHARTER SCHOOL REIMBURSEMENTS WOULD INCREASE TO $138.2M – CHARTER FUNDING REMAINS A SERIOUS PROBLEM TO BE SOLVED

The Governor’s budget would increase the charter school reimbursement account up to $138.2 million, intended to meet the commitment in the Student Opportunity Act to fund 75% of the state’s 100-60-40 statutory obligation to mitigate Chapter 70 losses to charter schools. However, this appropriation does not include $15 million in special charter school reimbursement payments included in the fiscal 2020 budget to address significant hardships, such as excess losses to charter schools that result in a net cut in Chapter 70 aid for the public school system (non-charters).

 

The Student Opportunity Act pledges to phase in full funding of the statutory reimbursement formula over three years, and while this plan may meet that requirement, it would not fix the serious flaws in the charter school finance system. Charter schools will continue to divert a high percentage of Chapter 70 funds away from many municipally operated school districts, and place greater strain on the districts that serve 96% of public school children. Major problems will continue unless a true resolution of the charter school funding problem is achieved, a top MMA priority.

 

SPECIAL EDUCATION CIRCUIT BREAKER INCREASED TO $362.5M

The Governor’s budget would add $17.4 million to fund the Special Education Circuit Breaker program at $362.5 million, an increase of 5%. The Student Opportunity Act expanded the SPED circuit breaker by including out-of-district transportation, a good win for cities and towns. This new transportation component is being implemented over four years, and the Governor’s budget proposal includes the 25% phase-in amount for the coming fiscal year.

 

However, the $362.5 million appropriation amount does not include $18 million that has traditionally been provided to support administration and state agency transportation costs for special education students, and these funds will need to be added in order to ensure full funding.

 

REGIONAL SCHOOL TRANSPORTATION REIMBURSEMENTS LEVEL FUNDED

Gov. Baker’s budget submission would level-fund regional transportation reimbursements at the $75.8 million. This will be a hardship for virtually all communities in regional districts. Reimbursements for transportation of out-of-district vocational students remains significantly underfunded at $250K. Increasing these accounts is a priority for cities and towns and the MMA.

 

McKINNEY-VENTO REIMBURSEMENTS LEVEL FUNDED

The Governor’s budget would level-fund reimbursements for the transportation of homeless students at $11.1 million. The impact of this funding level will vary from community-to-community depending on the number of homeless families that remain sheltered in local hotels and motels. The Administration has been successful in reducing the number of homeless students who are dislocated from their original district, but those communities that continue to provide transportation to many students may continue to see shortfalls.

 

PAYMENTS-IN-LIEU-OF-TAXES (PILOT) LEVEL FUNDED

The Governor’s budget would level fund PILOT payments at $30 million, which would be a significant hardship for many smaller, rural communities with large amounts of state-owned land. This is a key account due to the major impact that PILOT payments have on budgets in very small communities.

 

Please contact your legislators today and ask them to support the $31.6M increase in municipal aid and the $303.5M increase in Chapter 70 aid.

 

Please ask your legislators to address the serious flaws in charter school funding, increase minimum Ch. 70 aid to $100 per student, and increase funding for school transportation, PILOT payments, and ensure full funding for the SPED Circuit Breaker

 

THANK YOU!

$117K more for Medfield is Gov’s budget

Per Governor’s proposed budget, the Town of Medfield gets about an additional $117,000 –

https://dlsgateway.dor.state.ma.us/reports/rdPage.aspx?rdReport=CherrySheets.CSbyProgMunis.MuniBudgEst

FY2021 Preliminary Cherry Sheet Estimates
Medfield
PROGRAM FY2020 Cherry Sheet Estimate FY2021 Governor’s Budget Proposal FY2021 House Budget Proposal FY2021 Senate Budget Proposal FY2021 Conference Committee
Education Receipts:
Chapter 70 6,288,744 6,364,134
School Transportation 0 0
Charter Tuition Reimbursement 0 0
Smart Growth School Reimbursement 0 0
Offset Receipts:
School Choice Receiving Tuition 0 0
Sub-Total, All Education Items: 6,288,744 6,364,134
General Government:
Unrestricted Gen Gov’t Aid 1,539,280 1,582,380
Local Share of Racing Taxes 0 0
Regional Public Libraries 0 0
Veterans Benefits 17,234 15,769
Exemp: VBS and Elderly 42,087 42,628
State Owned Land 47,799 47,544
Offset Receipts:
Public Libraries 17,504 17,373
Sub-Total, All General Government: 1,663,904 1,705,694
Total Estimated Reciepts: 7,952,648 8,069,828

DOR approves town’s “free cash”

Dept. of Revenue Email to Town Officials Last Week Appears Below-

 

Massachusetts Department of Revenue Division of Local Services
Christopher C. Harding, Commissioner
Sean R. Cronin, Senior Deputy Commissioner of Local Services

11/19/2019
NOTIFICATION OF FREE CASH APPROVAL – Town of Medfield

Based upon the un-audited balance sheet submitted, I hereby certify that the amount of available funds or “free cash” as of July 1, 2019 for the Town of Medfield is:

General Fund     $2,234,402.00
Enterprise Fund   Water Enterprise Funds Ch 44 S 53F 1/2   $635,298.00
Enterprise Fund   Sewer Enterprise Funds Ch 44 S 53 F 1/2   $1,031,497.00

This certification is in accordance with the provisions of G. L. Chapter 59, §23, as amended.

Certification letters will be emailed to the mayor/manager, board of selectmen, prudential committee, finance director and treasurer immediately upon approval, provided an email address is reported in DLS’ Local Officials Directory. Please forward to other officials as you deem appropriate.

Sincerely,

Mary Jane Handy
Director of Accounts
Massachusetts Department of Revenue

 

SUBMITTED BY PHONE FIELD REP FREE CASH CALCULATION BEGIN: UNRESERVED UNDESIGNATED FUND BALANCE 2,689,194 LESS: PERSONAL PROPERTY TAXES RECEIVABLE 8,363 REAL ESTATE TAXES RECEIVABLE 328,739 OTHER RECEIVABLE, OVERDRAWN ACCOUNTS, DEFICITS - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Additional Sheet - - FREE CASH VOTED FROM TOWN MEETING NOT RECORDED - ADD: DEFERRED REVENUE (CREDIT BALANCE +, DEBIT BALANCE -) (117,690) 60 DAYS TAX COLLECTIONS - OTHER MISCELLANEOUS ADJUSTMENTS: - 2,234,402 FREE CASH, JULY 1, 2019 REVIEWED BY: DATE: Medfield Amy Handfield 11/18/19 Amy Handfield 11/14/19 11/18/19 - - - - PLEASE SEE CERTIFICATION LETTER FOR DIRECTOR OF ACCOUNTS APPROVAL CITY/TOWN/DISTRICT SUBMISSION DATE SUBMISSION COMPLETE DATE Joy Ricciuto 508-906-3022 SUBMITTED BY COMMUNITY FIELD REP FUND RETAINED EARNINGS CALCULATION - ENTERPRISE FUND PART I CASH 2,136,939 SUBTRACT: CURRENT LIABILITIES, DESIGNATIONS OF FUND BALANCE Warrants Payable Encumbrances 56,912 Expenditures 566,050 800,160 78,519 OTHER TOTAL 635,298 PART II RETAINED EARNINGS - UNDESIGNATED 635,298 SUBTRACT: ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE (NET) OTHER TOTAL 635,298 PART III FIXED ASSETS: DEBITS CREDITS Total - - FIXED ASSET VARIANCE - REVIEWED BY: DATE: 11/18/19 FOR DIRECTOR OF ACCOUNTS APPROVAL Amy Handfield PLEASE SEE CERTIFICATION LETTER Joy Ricciuto Medfield Amy Handfield Water Continuing Appropriations Debt Service SUBMITTED BY COMMUNITY FIELD REP FUND RETAINED EARNINGS CALCULATION - ENTERPRISE FUND PART I CASH 1,434,890 SUBTRACT: CURRENT LIABILITIES, DESIGNATIONS OF FUND BALANCE Warrants Payable Encumbrances 21,699 Expenditures 303,742 49,865 28,086 OTHER TOTAL 1,031,497 PART II RETAINED EARNINGS - UNDESIGNATED 1,031,497 SUBTRACT: ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE (NET) OTHER TOTAL 1,031,497 PART III FIXED ASSETS: DEBITS CREDITS Total - - FIXED ASSET VARIANCE - REVIEWED BY: DATE: 11/18/19 FOR DIRECTOR OF ACCOUNTS APPROVAL Amy Handfield PLEASE SEE CERTIFICATION LETTER Joy Ricciuto Medfield Amy Handfield Sewer Continuing Appropriations Debt Service20191119-DOR-free cash certification-Medfield FY19_Page_220191119-DOR-free cash certification-Medfield FY19_Page_3

Final budget #s from state

Division of Local Services (DLS) of the Massachusetts Department of Revenue has released the final state aid amounts based on the recently passed and signed state budget.

Our total state aid monies are up about $130,000 over the $7,822,174 received last year.

 

MA Department of Revenue Division of Local Services Final Municipal Cherry Sheet Estimates Data current as of 07/26/2018 C.S. 1-ER Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Revenue FY2020 NOTICE TO ASSESSORS OF ESTIMATED RECEIPTS General Laws, Chapter 58, Section 25A Medfield A. EDUCATION Distributions and Reimbursements Chapter 70 6,288,744 School Transportation 0 Charter Tuition Reimbursement 0 Smart Growth School Reimbursement 0 Offset Items - Reserve for Direct Expenditure: School Choice Receiving Tuition 0 Sub-Total, All Education Items: 6,288,744 B. GENERAL GOVERNMENT: Distributions and Reimbursements Unrestricted General Government Aid 1,539,280 Local Share of Racing Taxes 0 Regional Public Libraries 0 Urban Revitalization 0 Veterans Benefits 17,234 Exemp: VBS and Elderly 42,087 State Owned Land 47,799 Offset Items - Reserve for Direct Expenditure: Public Libraries 17,504 Sub-Total, All General Government: 1,663,904 C. TOTAL ESTIMATED RECEIPTS: 7,952,648 C.S. 1-ER Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Revenue FY2020 NOTICE TO ASSESSORS OF ESTIMATED CHARGES General Laws, Chapter 59, Section 21 Medfield A. COUNTY ASSESSMENTS: County Tax 118,917 Suffolk County Retirement 0 Essex County Reg Comm Center 0 Sub-Total, County Assessments: 118,917 B. STATE ASSESSMENTS AND CHARGES: Retired Teachers Health Insurance 0 Mosquito Control Projects 67,021 Air Pollution Districts 4,845 Metropolitan Area Planning Council 6,810 Old Colony Planning Council 0 RMV Non-Renewal Surcharge 5,060 Sub-Total, State Assessments: 83,736 C. TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITIES: MBTA 288,069 Boston Metro. Transit District 0 Regional Transit 0 Sub-Total, Transportation Assessments: 288,069 D. ANNUAL CHARGES AGAINST RECEIPTS: Multi-Year Repayment Program 309,996 Special Education 3,760 STRAP Repayments 0 Sub-Total, Annual Charges Against Receipts: 313,756 E. TUITION ASSESSMENTS: School Choice Sending Tuition 45,620 Charter School Sending Tuition 0 Sub-Total, Tuition Assessments: 45,620 F. TOTAL ESTIMATED CHARGES: 850,09820190731-cherry sheet-MuniFinalBudget175_2020_Page_2

MMA analysis of state budget

ALERT TODAY FROM THE MASSACHUSETTS MUNICIPAL ASSOCIATION ABOUT THE BUDGET –

We will get more that was originally proposed by either the Governor, the House or the Senate.

MMA-3

 

LEGISLATURE’S CONFERENCE COMMITTEE RELEASES FISCAL 2020 STATE BUDGET WITH MORE FUNDING FOR MANY LOCAL AID ACCOUNTS

 

HOUSE AND SENATE INCREASE KEY EDUCATION AND MUNICIPAL AID ACCOUNTS BY $128M ABOVE THE ORIGINAL BUDGET FILED IN JANUARY

 

PLEASE CONTACT THE GOVERNOR TODAY TO SUPPORT LOCAL AID FUNDING AND KEY MUNICIPAL ISSUES

 

July 22, 2019

 

Dear Osler Peterson,

 

On Sunday evening, July 21, the fiscal 2020 state budget conference committee that has been meeting since early June released H. 4000, the House-Senate compromise budget bill that is expected to be approved later today (Monday, July 22) by the Legislature.

 

Funding levels for many municipal and school aid accounts are higher in the Legislature’s final budget than in the recommendation (H. 1) filed by the Governor in January, providing $128 million more for key municipal and education programs. The Governor has 10 days to review the budget bill and make decisions on what to approve and what to veto or send back with proposed changes. Legislators will then have until the end of formal sessions in this calendar year (in November) to consider whether to accept or override those changes.

 

Please call the Governor’s office and ask that he approve the municipal and school aid accounts in the Legislature’s budget bill, including those funding levels that are higher than what he recommended in January, when the outlook for state finances was less positive than it is today.

 

You can find the Chapter 70 and UGGA amounts for your community in Section 3 of H. 4000, beginning on page 271 of the printed version of the budget, or on page 279 of the downloadable PDF.

 

Click Here for a Link to the Legislature’s Budget

 

Later this week, the Division of Local Services will notify communities of their final Cherry Sheet receipts and assessments. When available, Cherry Sheets will be posted on DLS’s website.

 

Click Here for a Link to the Division of Local Services Final Cherry Sheet

 

Here is a summary of the key priorities and local aid increases for cities and towns:

 

Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA)

In a continuing victory for cities and towns, H. 4000 appropriates $1.129 billion for the Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA) account, an increase of $29.7 million over the fiscal 2019 level of funding. The 2.7 percent increase reflects the policy of increasing general municipal aid at the rate of growth in state tax collections reflected in the consensus tax forecast. This revenue sharing policy has been adopted by the Governor and the House and Senate since fiscal 2016, and is a key priority of the MMA’s.

 

Chapter 70 School Aid and Local Contributions

In a major step forward for many communities, H. 4000 appropriates $5.176 billion for Chapter 70 school aid (7061-0008 and section 3). This is a $281 million increase over the current fiscal 2019 funding level. This will fund the basic requirements of Chapter 70 education aid, and makes progress by more aggressively implementing the recommendations of the Foundation Budget Review Commission, including higher funding for health insurance and special education costs, and significant increases in funding for communities with a high number of economically disadvantaged students. The budget continues to fund the target share provisions for those communities where the local contribution exceeds the target share level, and funds minimum aid at $30 per student. This Legislature’s budget provides a Chapter 70 increase of $68M above the amount originally proposed by the Governor in January. The community and district Chapter 70 funding levels match the distribution numbers passed in the Senate budget in May. We recognize that most communities will continue to remain minimum-aid-only districts, in spite of this impressive and appreciated statewide Chapter 70 increase, and the MMA will continue to prioritize higher minimum aid funding going forward.

 

  1. 4000 also supplements Chapter 70 by providing $10.5 million for a reserve fund to provide assistance to communities impacted by changes in how low-income students are counted. This amount is not included in the section 3 Chapter 70 distribution, and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) will distribute these funds to communities early in the school year, with the Legislature stating their intent that those districts that received over $500K under this program in fiscal 2019 should receive similar levels in fiscal 2020.

 

Special Education Circuit Breaker

In a significant win for cities and towns, H. 4000 fully funds the Special Education Circuit Breaker Program at $345 million. This is the program through which the state provides support for services provided to high-cost special education students. This is critically important, and represents a $25.7 million increase above last year’s general appropriations act. The Governor had proposed level-funding, and legislators in both branches proposed increases intended to move toward full funding. The final version of the budget matches the Senate’s funding level.

 

Charter School Impact Mitigation Payments

  1. 4000 appropriates $115 million for Charter School Impact Mitigation Payments, a $25 million increase over the current year. This is a big step forward in terms of overall funding, and is certainly appreciated, although the program remains significantly underfunded and charter school finance remains a major problem for many cities and towns. Winning full funding for this program and overhauling the existing charter finance scheme remains a top priority for MMA. Each year, dozens of cities and towns lose more funds to charter schools than they receive in new Chapter 70 funding, making them “net negative aid” communities.

 

Cities and towns will need to review their final Cherry Sheets to determine how much of the mitigation payment funding they will receive. The Legislature’s budget makes several changes to the overall program. First, they change the current 6-year reimbursement program (100-25-25-25-25-25) to a 3-year framework (100-60-40), apparently keeping the current cost-based approach, instead of moving to a number-of-students approach as proposed by the governor (MMA strongly supports the cost-based method). Second, they include a $7.5 million allocation to those communities whose net charter school tuition costs exceed 9% of net school spending AND whose Chapter 70 aid is a lower percentage of their foundation budget than the statewide average. Third, they include a $7.5 million allocation to be distributed by DESE to communities who have experienced high and sustained growth in charter school enrollments.

 

Again, it will be necessary to review final Cherry Sheet numbers to see how H. 4000 funds each district’s charter school mitigation needs.

 

Regional School District Student Transportation

  1. 4000 appropriates of $75.9 million to reimburse regional school districts for a portion of the cost of transporting students. This is a $7 million increase over fiscal 2019, and gets closer to the full funding target of $90 million.

 

Rural School Aid

The Legislature’s budget includes a $2.5 million account to provide one-time funding for rural schools, many of which are struggling with fixed costs and declining enrollment. H. 4000 includes language that would require DESE to make recommendations for future funding in fiscal 2021.

 

McKinney-Vento Homeless Student Transportation

  1. 4000 appropriates $11.1 million for this account to reimburse municipalities and school districts for a portion of the cost of transporting homeless students as required under state and federal rules. This is an increase of $2 million over the fiscal 2019 appropriation.

 

Payment in Lieu of Taxes on State-owned Land

  1. 4000 appropriates $30 million to pay a portion of the payment-in-lieu-of taxes amount due to cities and towns to offset the property tax exemption for state-owned land. This is a $1.5 million increase over fiscal 2019, although some communities will still experience challenges due to changing valuations by the state.

 

Shannon Anti-Gang Grant Program

  1. 4000 appropriates $11 million for the highly effective and valuable Shannon Anti-Gang Grant Program that has helped cities and towns respond to and suppress gang-related activities, a $3 million increase over the current year.

 

Community Preservation Act

The Legislature’s final budget increases recording fees at the Registry of Deeds to raise revenues for the Community Preservation Act (CPA) Trust Fund. This would provide an estimated $36 million in new funds to more than double the base percentage match for all 175 CPA cities and towns beginning in November 2020. In addition, H. 4000 would set aside up to $20 million from the fiscal 2019 budget surplus (if any) to supplement the matching funds that will be distributed in the fall of 2019.

 

If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact MMA Legislative Director John Robertson at 617-426-7272 ext. 122 or jrobertson@mma.org.

 

Please Contact Gov. Baker and Ask Him to Approve the Legislature’s Local Aid Increases as Described Above.

 

Thank you very much!

Budget calendar

At the select board meeting on 6/4/19, Town Administrator Kristine Trierweiler distributed her draft calendar for the budget cycle for this coming year.  This was music to my ears, as the sort of structure I have hoped to see for quite some time.  I have inserted the calendar below and here via a link if you instead want a PDF –  20190604-Kristine Trierweiler-budget calendar

This is the sort of institutionalizing of a structure for the town government that we have been needing, so that all residents can understand how and when we make the sausages, and I am looking forward to more such protocols being implemented.

FY2021 B~dget Planning Calendar DRAFT • Month Due By Responsible Event TA Town Administ rator June 6/1/ 2019 ACC Preliminary Audit Begins BOS Board of Selectmen 6/4/2019 BOS Regular BOS Meeting we Warrant Committee 6/12/2019 DH Mont ly Department Head Meeting TC Treasurer/Collector 6/15/2019 ASR Annual Preliminary Commitment ASR Assessors 6/17/2019 we Final Meeting to vote RFT/Appropriation Transfers ACC Accounting 6/18/2019 BOS Regular BOS Meeting CBC Capital Budget Committee 6/30/2019 DH Submit Capital Budget Requests sc School Committee 6/30/2019 T/C Prelinary Tax Bills Q1 for RE/Personal Property Mailed DH Department Heads 6/30/2019 ACC Close of the FY19 Budget Year 6/30/2019 ACC Close Overlay Surplus t o Free Cash July 7/1/2019 All Sta rt of FY2020 7/9/2019 BOS Regular BOS Meeting 7/10/2019 DH Monthly Department Head Meeting 7/23/2019 BOS Regular BOS Meeting 7/23/2019 BOS Town Administrat or Evaluation 7/31/2019 BOS Identify Goals for FY21 Budget 7/31/2019 BOS Annual Committee Appointments BiWeekly CBC Capit al Budget Review August 8/1/2019 TC Quarter #1 RE Tax Bills Due 8/13/2019 BOS Regular BOS Meeting 8/27/ 2019 BOS Regular BOS Meeting 8/30/2019 CBC Capit al Budget Recommendations and Development of 5 Year Plan 8/ 27/2019 TA End of FY2020 Budget Review20190604-Kristine Trierweiler-budget calendar_Page_220190604-Kristine Trierweiler-budget calendar_Page_3

Property tax relief for seniors

fy17-dor-average-tax-bill-map

Many towns are now providing some property taxes relief for seniors.  I think Sudbury was the first to initiate doing so and got special legislation to allow the town to help its economically more needy seniors by shifting part of their taxes to the rest of the residents.

At the Massachusetts Selectmen Association meeting I attended Saturday I spoke with Jonathan, a Wakefield Select board member (it is a 7 member board), learned they are doing so too, and he got me information on their program from their Assessor (copy attached below).

First, below are my notes from when I spoke with the Sudbury Assessor and got its system.  This is their PowerPoint from their town meeting:  2018 ATM Article 15 Senior Means Tested Exemption Presentation

===============================================

Telephone call to Cynthia Gerry, Assessor – assessors@sudbury.ma.us | (978) 639 – 3393
a. 2012 special legislation
b. Renewed a couple of times
c. In place through FY21
d. Senior means program
e. Linked to circuit breaker
f. Long time resident who qualify for circuit breaker can qualify for property tax relief
g. Well received
h. FY14 was first year
i. Average of about 110 applicants
j. Not funded by overlay, so residential exemption funded
k. Benefit cap was at 0.5% of total levy
l. The Board of Selectmen can increase it to 1%, but have not gone that high
m. $400K last year, about 0.5%
n. Pay about 10% of circuit breaker income plus 10% of circuit breaker income
o. Asset component to legislation, but vague and up to the board of assessors to use
i. No set limit
ii. Do get a financial statement
p. Deferral of RE taxes
i. Age 60
ii. Income matches circuit breaker ($86K)
iii. 2% rate
iv. Mortgage companies will not agree, as town becomes first lien holder
q. She will email me info

========================================================

Second, this is the email from the Assessor for Wakefield, who appears to also be the Asessor for Reading, describing his program  –

==========================================================

Hey Pete and Jonathan,

 

Yup, I did this in Reading and we’re going to do it in Wakefield.  I can’t count the number of friends and colleagues that have reached out to me on this important topic.

 

Reading plan is simple:

 

Senior must receive the Senior Circuit Breaker Income Tax Credit.  Pls see state guidelines.

Senior is 65 and co-applicant at least 60

Own and occupy home in the town for 10 years.

No other significant assets (tough to define as it’s one of those ‘I’l know it when I see it’ things, second home, etc)

 

In Reading, the benefit is anywhere from 50% to 200% of their CB credit.

Cost is shifted onto the Residential class of property

 

Wakefield is similar except that the credit is simply a 100% match.  No disrespect intended but politics and taxes don’t mix

 

My models rely on receipt of the CB Credit.  I did this because it’s already a state sponsored means test.  Any changes like house value, assets, etc. would result in a local means test like a couple of towns have.  I have about 650 people that receive the CB credit in each town.  In Reading for FY 2018 195 applied and 183 were approved at 200% relief but, too much relief has an unintended consequence whereby some folks lost their CB credit the following year.  FY 2019 Reading did 150% and 177 received it. I anticipate more folks being eligible for Fy 2020.  Moreover, since it involves a shift in the tax rate, the application time is the month of August to allow me enough time for tax rate computation.

 

Hope this helps and feel free to email any further questions that you may have.

 

Best,

 

Victor