By Brett Yates
Pittsfield homeowners are about to find out how much their property values have changed in recent years.
Last year, the town hired the New England Municipal Resource Center (NEMRC) to reappraise all the property in Pittsfield for the first time since 2008. Starting April 18, taxpayers will receive in the mail a legally mandated change-of-appraisal notice, contained within an informational booklet that will show the town’s new Grand List.
According to Betty Warner of the Pittsfield board of listers, the Grand List (the aggregate valuation of all the taxable property in town) has risen from $104,522,700 to $125,559,500, a 20.1% increase. That total could still change, however, if any Pittsfield homeowners successfully dispute their valuations.
For now, the median property owner should expect a 17% jump in valuation, but Warner warned that the new Grand List does contain outliers — most notably, a parcel on Lower Michigan Road whose valuation increased tenfold. “It probably was grossly undervalued for many years,” she said.
Warner mentioned that the upcoming mailing will caution homeowners not to assume that the reappraisal will cause their property taxes to go up. When a town’s Grand List grows after a reappraisal, its tax rate typically drops.
Three representatives from NEMRC will visit Pittsfield’s town office on May 2-3 to explain the new valuations to property owners, who can make appointments to speak with them and, if necessary, to have them drive out to their homes for a second glance. Property owners who remain dissatisfied can file formal grievances, with hearings scheduled for May 9-10.
On Thursday, Selectwoman Joyce Stevens contested this time frame, which gives homeowners just three weeks to collect any documents they’d need to make their case. Warner noted, however, that, by law, Pittsfield has only until June 4 to finalize the Grand List.
Warner expressed confidence in NEMRC’s work. “This was a good reappraisal,” she affirmed. “There were multiple eyes looking at things.”