Pittsfield denies construction of new pole to protest energy companies’ refusal to pay taxes
The demand came from the wireless giant and NSTAR, a subsidiary of Eversource Energy.
At Tuesday’s meeting, City Councilor General Earl Persip called assessor Paula King to answer questions about NSTAR and Eversource, who have challenged their personal property taxes every year since 2018.
KING: Since we’ve been using a blended method to assess utility since 2018, they pay about a little over half of their bill for personal goods. There is by law the possibility of appealing a tax as long as you pay that part in the case of personal property, at least half of the bill.
PERSIP: So where are we?
PERSIP: How long has it been?
PERSIP: And where are we to get a payment or a resolution?
KING: All of our cases are currently pending, as are most cases within the Commonwealth. At present, there are approximately 114 cases pending before the Tax Appeal Board across the Commonwealth of-
PERSIP: Is that generally the case or has COVID slowed this down?
KING: When there are such large amounts, they tend to fall behind. So it’s not just because of COVID. But that doesn’t help either.
PERSIP: Thank you. So just a few comments. I’m talking about it, because there’s a pretty hefty tax bill, that these companies keep coming back for us, for these posts and things, and we approve them without any kind of pushback, or, you know, arguments. for the most part, except when the plans are unreadable. I think we need to watch this closely. And if that’s how we get Eversource or NSTAR to move some of these retroactive taxes from 2018. I think that’s, you know, a way of – I’m not saying tonight that I won’t vote for it. that . But I think we need to keep an eye on that and be aware of it for the future.
The discussion follows similar efforts by city council to keep Eversource’s feet on fire in Springfield in recent weeks.
Pittsfield Council has decided to deal with it in the present.
âIf you want to force someone’s hand, you have to start denying some things,â Ward 4 Councilor Christopher Connell said. “And so I think if we send a message, this board sends a message and votes no on it, that the word goes back to Eversource.” You know, maybe they’re starting to think about a plan to pay off those back taxes, that’s a huge amount. “
âI really urge my colleagues tonight to send a message, to pay your bills,â Ward 2 Councilor Kevin Morandi said. âIf you want to come to this council, pay your bills, be in order. And then you will be treated with respect. Until that, but, we have to start somewhere. And we got so I asked that we send a message tonight and vote no against it. “
“I will not support this,” Ward 1 Councilor Helen Moon said. âI mean, Eversource – it’s a public service. But they generated over $ 1 billion in revenue last year, and it looks like they are withholding taxes, millions of dollars in taxes, for 87 communities in Massachusetts. I think of our Pittsfield residents who don’t pay their Eversource bills and what happens to them, who bail them out?
In a unanimous vote, Pittsfield City Council rejected the post request.
In a statement, Eversource says it is one of the state’s largest taxpayers and always pays according to state law. The company explained its legal challenges to local tax bills as an act of financial prudence to resolve inconsistencies and discrepancies in assessed property values.