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CHICOPEE — The Chicopee City Council hosted a tax classification hearing and set the rate for fiscal year 2024, during a Nov. 27 special meeting.

Two of the Assessors, Victor Anop and Brian Suchy, shared a presentation.

Anop said that for FY24, the council, the mayor and the Board of Assessors put through the following program: The council and the mayor put $3 million toward the tax rate to reduce the amount that the people would pay in taxes.

Senior exemption was increased — on the recommendation of the board of assessors — from $500 to $1,000.

The amount of personal property for small businesses that is exempted from tax also increased from $1,000 to $2,000.

Anop said the council and the mayor — on the recommendation of the assessors — created the veteran work off program, a new program to be administered by the Veterans Affairs group.

“There’s a lot of progress made toward tax reduction,” Anop shared.

In addition, there is a senior work off program as well as a tax aid program for those who don’t qualify for senior exemptions — all intended to decrease taxes for those who need it most.

Anop went over documents that the councilors had before them.

For FY24, he explained that they are looking to adopt a standard that will make a $110,483,923 proposal for this year’s tax.

He went on to say that the levy, $101,662,256, is on a total taxable value property of $6,598,642,283.
For the amount of money the city could raise, Anop said they are $8,821,667 below the levy limit. “The absolute ceiling that the city could at some point raise is $139,983,557,” he added.

Suchy explained that the levy limit is calculated by taking last year’s levy, adding in new growth, and multiplying it by 2.5% of the proposition, which is where the $110 million comes from.

The excess levy is the difference between the levy limit and the actual levy being generated.

Regarding new growth the city had over the past year, Anop said that figure comes out to $61,625,061 which is actual taxable dollars of $1,775,210. That new growth will come back in taxes to the city of Chicopee this year, he shared.

For the second straight year, the City Council can go to a 175% shift, meaning if they adopt the maximum, that will reduce the amount of taxes for residential homes the most, he explained.

In 2023, the tax rate for residential property was $15.15 per thousand and the average home paid $3,819 in taxes.

The average commercial value was $715,522. Tax rate for commercial industrial and personal property was $32.83 and the average bill for commercial entities in Chicopee between commercial industrial and personal property was $23,481.

Comparing the tax rate to the surrounding communities as of FY23, Chicopee has the lowest residential tax rate, Anop noted. “That’s mostly because of good financial planning,” he said.

He went on to say that the commercial rates are about third or fourth, as communities like Agawam have Six Flags where that commercial property takes up a good portion of their tax levy.

The average tax bill in Chicopee is $3,818 versus Longmeadow, where the average tax bill is $10,022.

Ward 2 City Councilor Shane Brooks made a motion to adopt the highest residential factor [.8126] with the shift of 175% for residential properties in the city of Chicopee. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.

Two other motions were made to deny residential exemption and small commercial exemption, as traditionally, the city has not approved it in the past. Both motions were seconded and approved.

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