Town of Amherst FY24 Budget

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Consultation has concluded. Thank you for your feedback - this page will remain as a resource in our archive. 

Welcome to the Town of Amherst FY24 Budget page

The Town Manager presented his FY 24 Budget to the Amherst Town Council on Monday, May 1st during thier regular meeting. You can view the recording of this meeting here.

How can you stay informed & involved?

  • Learn about upcoming events in the Events section. New events will be added as they are confirmed.
  • Review resources available under the Budget Links section at the right.
  • Have budget questions? Submit them below and a Town staff member will answer them as soon as possible
  • Have budget feedback or suggestion? Please submit your feedback below.
  • Save the Date Cuppa' Joe with Amherst Town Manager Paul Bockelman and Finance Director Sean Mangano: we will host a conversation on the FY 24 Annual Budget on Friday, May 12th from 8:00 AM - 9:30 AM at the Bangs Community Center. Bring your questions, concerns, and ideas. All are welcome!

Welcome to the Town of Amherst FY24 Budget page

The Town Manager presented his FY 24 Budget to the Amherst Town Council on Monday, May 1st during thier regular meeting. You can view the recording of this meeting here.

How can you stay informed & involved?

  • Learn about upcoming events in the Events section. New events will be added as they are confirmed.
  • Review resources available under the Budget Links section at the right.
  • Have budget questions? Submit them below and a Town staff member will answer them as soon as possible
  • Have budget feedback or suggestion? Please submit your feedback below.
  • Save the Date Cuppa' Joe with Amherst Town Manager Paul Bockelman and Finance Director Sean Mangano: we will host a conversation on the FY 24 Annual Budget on Friday, May 12th from 8:00 AM - 9:30 AM at the Bangs Community Center. Bring your questions, concerns, and ideas. All are welcome!

Consultation has concluded. Thank you for your feedback - this page will remain as a resource in our archive. 

Pleae post your questions here and a staff member will supply a response as soon as possible. Thank you!  

  • Share I'll add to the sentiment on the roads and sidewalks. I feel like it's only a matter of time before I blow a tire driving down my street and I would love to be able to enjoy some walkability to the entrance of Hickory Ridge without having to deal with the stress of pulling my kids further off the road when confronted with the numerous speeders. My actual question comes in response to a comment on the tax exempt status of large tracks of land in Amherst. Is there a way to calculate the missed tax revenue on these properties and is that revenue offset in other ways by the owners of said properties? For instance does Massachusetts/UMass provide Amherst with any additional funding to offset some of the missed tax revenue from UMass? Same question for Amherst/Hampshire Colleges. on Facebook Share I'll add to the sentiment on the roads and sidewalks. I feel like it's only a matter of time before I blow a tire driving down my street and I would love to be able to enjoy some walkability to the entrance of Hickory Ridge without having to deal with the stress of pulling my kids further off the road when confronted with the numerous speeders. My actual question comes in response to a comment on the tax exempt status of large tracks of land in Amherst. Is there a way to calculate the missed tax revenue on these properties and is that revenue offset in other ways by the owners of said properties? For instance does Massachusetts/UMass provide Amherst with any additional funding to offset some of the missed tax revenue from UMass? Same question for Amherst/Hampshire Colleges. on Twitter Share I'll add to the sentiment on the roads and sidewalks. I feel like it's only a matter of time before I blow a tire driving down my street and I would love to be able to enjoy some walkability to the entrance of Hickory Ridge without having to deal with the stress of pulling my kids further off the road when confronted with the numerous speeders. My actual question comes in response to a comment on the tax exempt status of large tracks of land in Amherst. Is there a way to calculate the missed tax revenue on these properties and is that revenue offset in other ways by the owners of said properties? For instance does Massachusetts/UMass provide Amherst with any additional funding to offset some of the missed tax revenue from UMass? Same question for Amherst/Hampshire Colleges. on Linkedin Email I'll add to the sentiment on the roads and sidewalks. I feel like it's only a matter of time before I blow a tire driving down my street and I would love to be able to enjoy some walkability to the entrance of Hickory Ridge without having to deal with the stress of pulling my kids further off the road when confronted with the numerous speeders. My actual question comes in response to a comment on the tax exempt status of large tracks of land in Amherst. Is there a way to calculate the missed tax revenue on these properties and is that revenue offset in other ways by the owners of said properties? For instance does Massachusetts/UMass provide Amherst with any additional funding to offset some of the missed tax revenue from UMass? Same question for Amherst/Hampshire Colleges. link

    I'll add to the sentiment on the roads and sidewalks. I feel like it's only a matter of time before I blow a tire driving down my street and I would love to be able to enjoy some walkability to the entrance of Hickory Ridge without having to deal with the stress of pulling my kids further off the road when confronted with the numerous speeders. My actual question comes in response to a comment on the tax exempt status of large tracks of land in Amherst. Is there a way to calculate the missed tax revenue on these properties and is that revenue offset in other ways by the owners of said properties? For instance does Massachusetts/UMass provide Amherst with any additional funding to offset some of the missed tax revenue from UMass? Same question for Amherst/Hampshire Colleges.

    Pat D asked about 1 year ago

    Thank you for this question.

    The Town can estimate the "missed tax revenue" from tax exempt property. In FY23, over 30% of total property value in Town was exempt. 

    The State makes a payment in lieu of taxes each year for the land it owns in Town related to the University. This payment is based on the value of the land itself and does not reflect any building cost. As a result, this payment only reflects a fraction of the missed tax revenue.

    The University and Amherst College make payment for specific services and contribute funding towards certain programs. These payments are significant but only represent a small portion of missed tax revenue. Town Officials are working with local legislators to advocate for a broader study of the State payment in lieu of taxes program and how it impacts the Town of Amherst.

  • Share Why is sidewalk and road maintenance and safe crosswalk establishment such a low priority in the Town budget? on Facebook Share Why is sidewalk and road maintenance and safe crosswalk establishment such a low priority in the Town budget? on Twitter Share Why is sidewalk and road maintenance and safe crosswalk establishment such a low priority in the Town budget? on Linkedin Email Why is sidewalk and road maintenance and safe crosswalk establishment such a low priority in the Town budget? link

    Why is sidewalk and road maintenance and safe crosswalk establishment such a low priority in the Town budget?

    ?? asked over 1 year ago

    Thank you for this question. The Town Budget has placed a very high priority on roads and sidewalks over the past several years. Each year, roads and sidewalks are the largest investment within the Town's capital budget.  That being said, there is still a large backlog of needed road repairs and inflation has taken a big bite out of how much can be completed each year. The new state income tax on taxable income in excess of $1 million is intended to generate new revenues for education and infrastructure. While it is still unclear how these funds will be allocated, it is possible the Town will get more money in the future to accelerate infrastructure improvements.

  • Share In theory taxes and the budget are not supposed to rise by more than 2.5% per year unless there is a referendum override. Yet my taxes are due to rise by more than 4% next year. Why? This is not outrageous, but for those of us on fixed incomes (pension), the cumulative effect is worrisome. on Facebook Share In theory taxes and the budget are not supposed to rise by more than 2.5% per year unless there is a referendum override. Yet my taxes are due to rise by more than 4% next year. Why? This is not outrageous, but for those of us on fixed incomes (pension), the cumulative effect is worrisome. on Twitter Share In theory taxes and the budget are not supposed to rise by more than 2.5% per year unless there is a referendum override. Yet my taxes are due to rise by more than 4% next year. Why? This is not outrageous, but for those of us on fixed incomes (pension), the cumulative effect is worrisome. on Linkedin Email In theory taxes and the budget are not supposed to rise by more than 2.5% per year unless there is a referendum override. Yet my taxes are due to rise by more than 4% next year. Why? This is not outrageous, but for those of us on fixed incomes (pension), the cumulative effect is worrisome. link

    In theory taxes and the budget are not supposed to rise by more than 2.5% per year unless there is a referendum override. Yet my taxes are due to rise by more than 4% next year. Why? This is not outrageous, but for those of us on fixed incomes (pension), the cumulative effect is worrisome.

    EHS73 asked over 1 year ago

    Thank you for this question and for sharing your concerns about the impact on those with fixed incomes. The tax levy limit, the annual maximum the Town can tax in total on all properties, can only increase 2.5% per year not including new growth. Individual properties can change by more or less than 2.5% depending upon their relative assessed values compared to other properties. For example, the assessed value, and related property tax, of some properties may rise faster than others based on the sales data for that particular type of property. 

    Thank you

  • Share have you considered charging a higher tax rate for absentee landlords? Homeowners are taking the brunt of the tax base. on Facebook Share have you considered charging a higher tax rate for absentee landlords? Homeowners are taking the brunt of the tax base. on Twitter Share have you considered charging a higher tax rate for absentee landlords? Homeowners are taking the brunt of the tax base. on Linkedin Email have you considered charging a higher tax rate for absentee landlords? Homeowners are taking the brunt of the tax base. link

    have you considered charging a higher tax rate for absentee landlords? Homeowners are taking the brunt of the tax base.

    Joe asked over 1 year ago

    Thank you for this question. There is no legal mechanism to charge certain landlords a higher tax rate but there are steps the Town can take to establish and enforce rental housing standards. The Town is currently reviewing its Residential Rental Property Bylaw which can be found at the link below. 

    https://www.amherstma.gov/DocumentCenter/View/63688/General-Bylaws-of-the-Town-of-Amherst-October-2022---for-website

    Thank you

  • Share Where is all the town money? We have some of the highest property taxes in the state, and we haven't maintained roads, sidewalks, schools, the library, sports fields, the Town Common, or public swimming pools. If we're not spending money on these things, what is the money being spent on? on Facebook Share Where is all the town money? We have some of the highest property taxes in the state, and we haven't maintained roads, sidewalks, schools, the library, sports fields, the Town Common, or public swimming pools. If we're not spending money on these things, what is the money being spent on? on Twitter Share Where is all the town money? We have some of the highest property taxes in the state, and we haven't maintained roads, sidewalks, schools, the library, sports fields, the Town Common, or public swimming pools. If we're not spending money on these things, what is the money being spent on? on Linkedin Email Where is all the town money? We have some of the highest property taxes in the state, and we haven't maintained roads, sidewalks, schools, the library, sports fields, the Town Common, or public swimming pools. If we're not spending money on these things, what is the money being spent on? link

    Where is all the town money? We have some of the highest property taxes in the state, and we haven't maintained roads, sidewalks, schools, the library, sports fields, the Town Common, or public swimming pools. If we're not spending money on these things, what is the money being spent on?

    Mary Lee Austin asked over 1 year ago

    Great question! While the Town does have a high property tax rate, it has one of the lowest expenditures per capita in the State. This strange relationship is caused by the large number of Town residents living on tax-exempt property. The Town of Amherst has one of the highest percentages of tax-exempt land value relative to total assessed value. 

    The Town, School, and Library budgets explain how the money is spent and can be found here: https://www.amherstma.gov/78/Budget

    A large part of the budget is spent on staffing and related benefits such as retirement and health insurance. Another large part is spent on capital each year, the listing of approved capital projects can be found in the Capital Improvement Program in the link above. 

    Thank you



  • Share Our town budgeted $900K to the high school track and field, but last week voted not to fund the project. What happens to the $900K now? on Facebook Share Our town budgeted $900K to the high school track and field, but last week voted not to fund the project. What happens to the $900K now? on Twitter Share Our town budgeted $900K to the high school track and field, but last week voted not to fund the project. What happens to the $900K now? on Linkedin Email Our town budgeted $900K to the high school track and field, but last week voted not to fund the project. What happens to the $900K now? link

    Our town budgeted $900K to the high school track and field, but last week voted not to fund the project. What happens to the $900K now?

    Mary Lee Austin asked over 1 year ago

    Thank you for this question. The $900,000 is from Free Cash. Free Cash is a revenue source that results from the calculation, as of July 1, of a community's remaining, unrestricted funds from its operations of the previous fiscal year based on the balance sheet as of June 30. The $900,000 remains in Free Cash until it is appropriated or transferred to a stabilization fund. Free Cash is non-recurring revenue making it appropriate for funding one-time expenditures like the Track and Field project or other identified capital needs.

  • Share Do the proposed expenditures on the Jones expansion and the elementary school replacement take into account the loss of single family housing (and the corollary reduction in the students and families who would use those facilities) to student rental conversions? on Facebook Share Do the proposed expenditures on the Jones expansion and the elementary school replacement take into account the loss of single family housing (and the corollary reduction in the students and families who would use those facilities) to student rental conversions? on Twitter Share Do the proposed expenditures on the Jones expansion and the elementary school replacement take into account the loss of single family housing (and the corollary reduction in the students and families who would use those facilities) to student rental conversions? on Linkedin Email Do the proposed expenditures on the Jones expansion and the elementary school replacement take into account the loss of single family housing (and the corollary reduction in the students and families who would use those facilities) to student rental conversions? link

    Do the proposed expenditures on the Jones expansion and the elementary school replacement take into account the loss of single family housing (and the corollary reduction in the students and families who would use those facilities) to student rental conversions?

    John Varner asked over 1 year ago

    Thank you for this question. Both projects factor usage levels into the design. For example, the proposed elementary school design accommodates the current number of students in Town and considers future changes in student population. The new school building will replace two existing buildings and reduce square footage by appx. 63,000 square feet. The Jones Library design is based on visitors which includes many more people than just those who live in single family housing.

  • Share Does the next year's budget include money for the enforcement of town codes regarding single family homes rented to students? on Facebook Share Does the next year's budget include money for the enforcement of town codes regarding single family homes rented to students? on Twitter Share Does the next year's budget include money for the enforcement of town codes regarding single family homes rented to students? on Linkedin Email Does the next year's budget include money for the enforcement of town codes regarding single family homes rented to students? link

    Does the next year's budget include money for the enforcement of town codes regarding single family homes rented to students?

    John Varner asked over 1 year ago

    Thank you for this question.

    The FY24 Budget process is just beginning. The Town Manager's Budget Proposal will be publicly available on May 1, 2023 and will include the resources necessary to enact Town bylaws.