by Irene Wrenner
July 26, 2020
The Village Trustees, at their Tuesday, July 14th meeting, cemented a “tax stabilization agreement” made back in 2018. This action gives Handy’s Hotels & Rentals LLC an approximately $16,400 total tax break over three years on the new development at 15 Park Street, beginning in FY21. (This estimate assumes a steady assessed value and tax rate; both will likely increase over time.)
The reduction only affects Gabe Handy’s Village Municipal Taxes. The Town Selectboard has made no similar agreement with this property owner, nor the others who currently enjoy Village tax breaks at 4 Pearl Street, 8 Pearl Street, and 315 South Street.
Andrew Brown pointed out the assessed value of the property before this build-out was $869,000. Therefore, even with the 70% assessed value reduction on the now $3m+ property in year one, the grand list will actually increase slightly because of this development.
According to George Tyler, the new building offers 44 units of senior housing with the promise of monthly rents below $1,000 per month, satisfying an oft-stated goal of increasing affordable housing in locations that are walking distance to amenities. As of July 16th, half the total units had been rented. Those remaining start at $1,100 and up.
There was no mention of the impact or cost of services that these additional residents will create, collectively or individually, such as Public Safety, Senior Bus rides, and pickleball courts compared to the additional revenue.
Handy Granted 3-Year Tax Break
In his classic book on the subject of development, Better Not Bigger, author Eben Fodor cites study after study showing how growth raises taxes. These dozens of studies all come to the same conclusion, wrote the late environmental scientist Donella H. Meadows in “If We Don't Like Sprawl, Why Do We Go On Sprawling?”.
“New subdivisions reach into the pockets of established residents to finance additional schools and services. Commercial and industrial developments sometimes pay more in taxes than they demand in services, but the traffic and pollution they generate reduces nearby property value.” Her seminal article is here: https://vault.sierraclub.org/sprawl/articles/meadows2.asp
New 55+ Apartment Building at 15 Park Street
(to the right of the Park Street School)