Chicopee’s lame duck mayor recently stated the city has “$20 million in different reserve accounts” and the city council president said he would “like to keep the taxes as low as possible,” but both gifted residents with yet another tax increase even though some council members in the past have stated that a “rainy day” reserve in the $5 to $6 million range is sufficient. At last report, the Stabilization Fund alone was in the $12 million range. Merry Christmas again, taxpayers.|
Does the mayor and council understand (or care) that Chicopee is an aging and relatively poor city? According to the U.S. Census Bureau, almost one in five residents are over 62 and the median income is $ 30,500 with almost ten percent under the poverty level.. And according to Mass.gov, the Chicopee unemployment rate is higher than state and national levels.
Chicopee did not need to tax at any level allowed by Proposition 2 1/2. But for the second consecutive year, the opportunity to use reserve dollars to lower, not raise, residential taxes was ignored by the mayor and council. There is enough in reserve to reduce both the business and residential rates.
The reserve of $20 million represents 28 percent of the $71.5 million tax levy, enough to run city functions for over three months. With that large a surplus, this taxation with representation is worse than that the founders of this country revolted against.
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