By Brett Yates
In January, Covid-19’s infectious omicron variant prompted the Pittsfield Select Board to postpone the annual town meeting. It will finally take place on May 3 at 6 p.m. at the Town Hall, where residents will transact business from the floor.
Pittsfield voters will consider 10 articles. For the first time, they will pass or reject an annual budget set to start on July 1, thanks to a special town meeting at the beginning of the year in which voters approved a new fiscal calendar.
Town officials predicted that adopting a July–June fiscal year would lower the municipal budget. Previously, spending began in January, and because property tax revenue did not begin to arrive until summer, each annual budget included additional funds to ensure the town could bridge that gap in the following year.
For now at least, the proposed 2022–2023 budget is, in fact, the lowest since at least 2016. Including $943,108 for the Pittsfield School District, it comes to $1,617,400.37 (compared to $2,080,703.10 last year), of which $411,216.37 would be raised by municipal taxes (down from $523,551.10).
This figure generates a municipal tax rate of 0.4%, but a series of three articles intended to raise funds for a town hall renovation and for the Pittsfield Volunteer Fire & Rescue, if approved at town meeting, would add a total of $123,000 to the budget, bumping the rate up to 0.51%, which would then exceed 2021’s 0.5042%. The homestead education tax rate would be 1.3771%, having risen from 1.2005%.
On April 21, the Select Board announced the resignation of Auditor Martha Beyersdorf, and at town meeting, the moderator will accept nominations for her replacement. Incumbents expect to retain the rest of the town’s elected positions without facing opposition.