Mission Statement

Duties
The assessors are the government officials responsible for establishing the value of property for tax purposes. We are responsible for discovering, listing and valuing all taxable property. The assessors collect, record, and analyze information pertinent to residential, commercial, and industrial properties and classify every parcel according to the Massachusetts General Laws. We review building permits each year by measuring, listing and valuing all new construction and tracking this new value for new growth, allowing the levy limit to increase accordingly.

The office maintains records, documents and liens, answers public inquiries, assists the public as needed, processes application or tax exemptions for the elderly, disabled veterans, widows or widowers and blind people. Assessors are also required to tax personal property for businesses in the city, such as furniture and fixtures, inventory, and machinery used in the conduct of their business.

Abatements
The office reviews abatements and handles appeals to the Appellate Tax Board, prepares Chapter 61, 61A and 61B land as required by law. Changes are made to legal files each year reflecting deed transactions recorded at the Hampshire County Registry of Deeds. All map changes, new subdivisions and legal decisions are reconstructed for valuations and ownership. Class codes are adjusted each year to prepare the assessment roll which is the basis for city and county property taxes.

The assessor works with the finance director preparing various financial reports for the Department of Revenue in preparation for the setting of the tax rate each year. This office holds responsibility for reviewing excise commitments, committing to the Tax Collector for collection and adjusting excise for the citizens of this city, as required by law. It is the assessors’ mission to ensure fair and equitable assessments for all property owners in this city.

Board of Assessors
The Board of Assessors have an obligation according to Massachusetts General Law to plan and carry out the reassessment program necessary to achieve full and fair cash value assessments in accordance with the requirements of Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 40, Section 56 and Chapter 58, Sections 1, 1A and 3 for FY 2004. We work with an appraisal company, Cole-Layer-Trumble Company, to complete this mammoth task. The Department of Revenue provides guidelines for this procedure and they will monitor our work as we proceed. Before a tax bill can be generated for a fiscal year, all work has to be certified by the Department of Revenue.