Valuing Classified ForestLand— FY2009 by irs18267


									                                                            Navjeet K. Bal, Commissioner • Robert G. Nunes, Deputy Comissioner & Director of Municipal Affairs

 Town                                                       A Publication of the Massachusetts Department of Revenue’s Division of Local Services

Volume 21, No. 5 June 2008
 Inside This Issue
                                                              Valuing Classified
DLS Commentary How cities and                                 Forest Land — FY2009
towns are “going green” . . . . . . . . . . . . 2             Marilyn H. Browne, Chief, Bureau of Local Assessment

Best Practices Three communities                              Ninety-six years ago, in 1912, the Mass-          Historically, forest land under M.G.L.
regionalize recycling and trash pickup 2                      achusetts Constitution was amended                Ch. 61 was taxed by local assessors
Focus Calculation of municipal                                authorizing the General Court to, “pre-           based on the commercial property tax
residential recycling rates explained . . . 3                 scribe for wild or forest lands such              rate for the fiscal year applied to 5 per-
                                                              methods of taxation as will develop               cent of the fair market value of the
Recycling markets can help                                    and conserve the forest resources of              land, with a minimum value of $10 per
municipalities and businesses reduce                          the commonwealth.” The preservation               acre. It was not taxed on its fair market
waste and save money. . . . . . . . . . . . . 3               of this valuable asset has long been a            value as would be the case if the land
Legal Overview of solar and wind                              state priority.                                   was not classified under M.G.L. Ch.
device property tax exemption. . . . . . . 5                                                                    61. The owner also paid an annual
                                                              Forest land (M.G.L. Ch. 61), agricultural
                                                                                                                products tax based on 8 percent of the
State leaders open New Officials                              and horticultural farm land (M.G.L. Ch.
                                                                                                                stumpage value of the forest products
Finance Forum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6         61A) and recreational land (M.G.L. Ch.
                                                                                                                cut from the parcel during the prior cal-
                                                              61B) all receive special tax treatment
                                                                                                                endar year. Chapter 394 changed that
Databank Highlight Chapter                                    resulting from constitutional amend-
                                                                                                                valuation methodology and eliminated
lands information available online . . . . 8                  ments. The valuation of these cate-
                                                                                                                the product tax.
                                                              gories of property, often referred to as
OSD to open statewide contracts
                                                              classified chapter lands, is based on             New for FY2009, the Farmland Valuation
to include more “green” cleaning
                                                              their use value and not their market              Advisory Commission, which issues
products . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
                                                              value. However, receiving special treat-          recommended values for agricultural/
Springfield makes energy-efficiency                           ment does not come without strings. A             horticultural (M.G.L. Ch. 61A) farm
improvements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10         lien is placed on the property by the             land values, is now also required to de-
                                                              city or town and should the owner de-             velop ranges of use value for forest
DPH-approved products on
                                                              cide to sell or change its use the prop-          land (M.G.L. Ch. 61). On February 1,
statewide contract keep public
                                                              erty is subject to a penalty tax. Also,           2008 the Farmland Valuation Advisory
swimming pools disinfected with
                                                              the community has the right of first re-          Commission (FVAC) issued its recom-
environmentally-friendly products . . . 11
                                                              fusal to purchase the land should the             mended land values to local assessors
Rain barrels are an easy, economical                          owner decide to sell or convert the use           and posted them to the Department of
option for water conservation. . . . . . . 11                 of the property, etc.                             Revenue’s website.
Find links to state, federal and                              Ninety-five years later, on March 22,             Chapter 394 added the commissioner
non-profit organizations dedicated                            2007 Chapter 394 of the Acts of 2007              of the Department of Conservation and
to “green” issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12          was enacted. This Act, among other                Recreation to the FVAC that formerly
                                                              provisions, made the three categories of          was made up of the commissioner of
Municipal Fiscal Calendar
                                                              chapter land more consistent with each            revenue, who acts as chairman, the
July–August . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
                                                              other (for details see Chapter 394 —              commissioner of agriculture, the direc-
                                                              Classified Forest, Farm and Recre-                tor of housing and community develop-
                                                              ational Lands in the October/November             ment, the dean of the College of Food
                                                              2007 issue of City & Town ) . It also             and Natural Resources of the Univer-
  Please consider the environment
                                                              changed the way forest land will be val-          sity of Massachusetts Amherst, or their
  before printing this newsletter.                            ued beginning in fiscal year 2009 and                                     continued on page 8
                                                              this article will examine that change.
City & Town • June 2008                                                                 Division of Local Services • 2

                        Commentary                Best Practices
                       As energy costs
                       spiral higher and
                       higher, and as cli-
                                                 Mayors of Braintree, Weymouth
                       mate change be-           and Quincy Collaborate for
                       comes less hypo-
                       thetical and more         Savings: Solid Waste and
                       of a reality, it is in-
                       deed time for local
                                                 Recycling Initiative
officials to think globally, act locally,        Jeffrey Kunz, Recycling Committee, Town of Braintree
and in the process save money and                For the first time, South Shore commu-         there are 62,950 households to be
improve the environment.                         nities have worked together in an ini-         served (9,600 in Braintree and 16,950
This special “green” issue of City and           tiative to jointly award a contract to one     households in Weymouth): that repre-
Town takes a look at some of the en-             vendor for curbside collection for their       sents a 42 percent increase in purchas-
ergy, environment, and conservation              three communities. Quincy, Wey-                ing power. It was expected that poten-
issues facing decision-makers in cities          mouth and Braintree’s multiparty con-          tial bidders would sharpen their pencils
and towns.                                       tract with Capitol Waste Services takes        in order to obtain a long-term contract
                                                 effect this July. It is a five-year contract   with three good-sized municipalities.
Recycling is one of several environ-             with two two-year extensions for a total       Also, due to the security of having such
mental and budget friendly initiatives           of nine years.                                 a large customer base with a long-term
that requires buy-in from the citizenry                                                         contract, the vendor would realize im-
and consistent support from local                The mayors of the three communities
                                                                                                proved efficiency in collection and
officials to be successful. Check out            felt strongly that increased purchasing
                                                                                                equipment purchasing. Those efficien-
where your community stands in the               power could translate into cost savings
                                                                                                cies for the vendor transferred into sav-
Department of Environmental Protec-              for all three communities and could lay
                                                                                                ings for the municipalities in response
tion’s recycling percentages and see             the groundwork for future additional col-
                                                                                                to the communities’ request for contract
how it can tie communities together              laborations. Additionally, the communi-
                                                                                                proposals. Our expectations were met:
when recycling and waste disposal                ties hope to eventually apply for grants
                                                                                                first year savings are in the 3–5 percent
service is regionalized, as noted                specifically targeted to multi-town proj-
                                                                                                range below previously anticipated
in a Best Practice from Braintree,               ects in waste reduction via the state
                                                                                                2009 costs!
Weymouth and Quincy.                             Department of Environmental Protec-
                                                 tion (DEP). The expectation was that by        Costs for FY09 will actually be less than
The articulated need to preserve                 exploring all avenues, new programs,           this past year’s costs and will avoid the
undeveloped forest and open space                and improving management practices             anticipated 7–10 percent industry
in Massachusetts goes back to just               we could address the ever-escalating           guidelines for communities coming off
a few years after the two terms of our           cost of providing and managing mu-             long-term contracts because of the
nation’s first presidential conservation-        nicipal solid waste services.                  hard work and purchasing power of the
ist, Teddy Roosevelt. It was in 1912                                                            alliance. Due to the single stream recy-
that the Massachusetts constitution              Solid waste management has become
                                                                                                cling, recycling revenue is expected to
was amended to authorize the Legis-              a challenge for all municipal budgets
                                                                                                increase each year. Trash disposal fees
lature to develop tax policy to develop          due to fewer disposal facilities, in-
                                                                                                are also anticipated to decrease as in-
and conserve the state’s forest re-              creased regulations, and excessive
                                                                                                creased recycling results in decreased
sources, as is noted in Marilyn Browne’s         consumerism coupled with a lack of
                                                                                                trash tonnage. We are hoping to achieve
piece “Valuing Classified Forest Land.”          recycling resulting in ever-increasing
                                                                                                a 10–15 percent reduction in trash ton-
                                                 costs and a increased concern for the
This is a huge area of opportunity for                                                          nage the first year, and an additional
                                                 environmental impacts.
municipalities to lead the way and                                                              5–10 percent the next two to three years.
encourage new “green” practices.                 By combining forces in a collaborative         Even a 10 percent reduction in trash is
                                                 manner, the municipalities hoped to re-        equivalent to a $75,000 savings each
                                                 alize an economy of scale savings, as          year for Braintree alone.
                                                 compared to going out to bid individu-
                       Robert G. Nunes                                                          The services of an experienced, mu-
                                                 ally. Quincy, with 36,400 households
               Deputy Commissioner &                                                            nicipal solid waste consultant were crit-
                                                 served by municipal waste services
           Director of Municipal Affairs                                                        ical to the process, as our three may-
                                                 has the largest base. However, when
                                                                                                                     continued on page 9
                                                 Braintree and Weymouth are added,
City & Town • June 2008                                                                              Division of Local Services • 3

Focus on Municipal Finance

How MassDEP Calculates Municipal
Residential Recycling Rates
Courtesy of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection

Each year, the Massachusetts Depart-                  Below is a brief explanation of how DEP              Residential Tons Diverted (recycled +
ment of Environmental Protection (DEP)                calculates municipal recycling rates                 composted + hazardous products col-
asks municipalities to complete a Mu-                 and what is counted and not counted                  lected) divided by Residential Tons
nicipal Recycling Data Sheet that pro-                in these rates. A historical listing of mu-          Generated (diverted and disposed).
vides solid waste, recycling, composting              nicipal recycling rates, a spreadsheet
                                                                                                           Tons Generated = Tons Disposed +
and hazardous product collection in-                  summarizing the major components of
                                                                                                           Tons Diverted
formation to the state. DEP uses the in-              each municipality’s rate for the most re-
formation provided on the Data Sheets                 cent year, and a spreadsheet summa-                  • Generation is based on actual data
to calculate municipal and statewide                  rizing the major characteristics of each             reported by cities and towns.
diversion and recycling rates, evaluate               municipality’s solid waste and recycling
                                                                                                           • If a municipality does not report tons
municipal recycling grant applications,               program is posted along with this ex-
                                                                                                           disposed, DEP estimates tons gener-
and evaluate state recycling and waste                planation at
                                                                                                           ated by multiplying the municipality’s
reduction progress. Municipalities must               cle/priorities/dswmpu01.htm#recycling.
                                                                                                           population by a statewide average
complete a data sheet to be eligible for
                                                      Residential Recycling Rate = RTD /                   per-capita residential generation rate.
DEP recycling grants.
                                                                                                           Tons Disposed includes:

 Build Cost-Effective Programs Based on Recycling                                                          • All reported residential disposal;
 Market Opportunities                                                                                      • Bulky waste disposal;
 Courtesy of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
                                                                                                           • Tons disposed by residents served
 Strong recycling markets provide excellent opportunities to reduce waste in a                             by private subscription haulers. If this
 cost-effective manner. Due to rapidly growing international markets, scrap                                tonnage is not reported, DEP calcu-
 paper is now the number one American export by volume, and exports of U.S.                                lates it by determining the per-house-
 scrap of all kinds grew to $8.4 billion last year, more than double the 1999                              hold disposal tonnage for households
 total. This strong international demand has raised payments for recycled paper                            served by the municipal program and
 to between $80 and $120 per ton and has created a recycled paper supply                                   multiplying this per-household rate by
 shortage for American paper mills1. However, plenty of paper remains in the                               the number of households served by
 waste stream and, by not recycling, Massachusetts businesses and residents                                private subscription haulers. If a munic-
 are literally throwing money away. An estimated 1.5 million tons of paper2, with                          ipality does not have disposal tonnage
 an estimated value of more than $100 million3, is thrown away each year by                                data, DEP calculates it by subtracting
 Massachusetts residents and businesses. Similar market dynamics exist for                                 the tons diverted from the estimated
 other recyclable commodities. While recycling markets are cyclical and could                              tons generated. (See the Tons Gener-
 decline in the future, generators that reduce the amount of waste disposed can                            ated section above.)
 still save money through avoided disposal fees, which are typically $60–80                                Tons Disposed does not include: dis-
 per ton in Massachusetts. DEP will provide hands-on technical assistance to                               posal tonnage from businesses or con-
 municipalities and businesses that emphasizes waste reduction initiatives that                            struction and demolition debris disposal.
 save money such as Pay-As-You-Throw, improved recycling and solid waste
 contracting, increased participation in existing programs, and regional pro-                              Tons Diverted = Tons Recycled + Tons
 gram coordination. ■                                                                                      Composted + Tons of Hazardous
                                                                                                           Household Products and Difficult to
 1. Industry News: U.S. Paper Recycling Reaches a Record High, Source: Knight Ridder Washington            Manage Waste Collected
 Bureau, February 9, 2005.
 2. Waste Reduction Program Assessment and Analysis for Massachusetts, Tellus Institute, December          Tons Recycled includes:
 3. “It’s Time to Be Proactive: Let’s Use Our Regional Strengths”, presentation by Pete Grogan, Weyer-     • All residential recycling of paper,
 hauser, NERC Fall Conference, October 27, 2004.                                                           containers, textiles, scrap metal and
                                                                                                                                continued on page 5
Municipal Recycling Rates
              CY2006 CY2005 CY2004                              CY2006 CY2005 CY2004                           CY2006 CY2005 CY2004                              CY2006 CY2005 CY2004                           CY2006 CY2005 CY2004                              CY2006 CY2005 CY2004
              (in pct.) (in pct.) (in pct.)                     (in pct.) (in pct.) (in pct.)                  (in pct.) (in pct.) (in pct.)                     (in pct.) (in pct.) (in pct.)                  (in pct.) (in pct.) (in pct.)                     (in pct.) (in pct.) (in pct.)
Abington        30        37        29        Chesterfield        36        52        57        Hancock          32        34        35        Methuen             NA        18        29        Princeton        NA        NA        NA        Tyngsborough        23        21        20
Acton           19        18        20        Chicopee            29        27        35        Hanover          41        35        32        Middleborough       14        17        24        Provincetown     18        16        25        Tyringham           28        46        35
Acushnet        28        23        NA        Chilmark            43        45        23        Hanson           25         8         9        Middlefield         39        39        37        Quincy           30        26        35        Upton               28        35        36
Adams           16        16        14        Clarksburg          NA        NA        NA        Hardwick         18        24        18        Middleton           20        26        27        Randolph         16        23        17        Uxbridge            12        18        23
Agawam          33        27        26        Clinton             NA        NA        NA        Harvard          30        34        32        Milford             33        23        32        Raynham          32        37        37        Wakefield           39        39        38
Alford          28        26        32        Cohasset            35        37        37        Harwich          46        45        48        Millbury            31        18        NA        Reading          37        39        36        Wales               34        37        40
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  City & Town • June 2008

Amesbury        15        12        25        Colrain             55        58        56        Hatfield         45        42        53        Millis              37        37        26        Rehoboth         NA        69        NA        Walpole             36        36        36
Amherst         20        17        18        Concord             45        38        49        Haverhill        27        20        24        Millville           14        15        NA        Revere            8         8         7        Waltham             20        21        32
Andover         36        45        41        Conway              42        41        41        Hawley           NA        NA        31        Milton              52        50        55        Richmond         30        32        45        Ware                NA        NA        NA
Aquinnah        37        13        12        Cummington          27        39        43        Heath            35        37        40        Monroe              NA        31        NA        Rochester        11        19         9        Wareham             18        18        13
Arlington       30        31        33        Dalton              28        27        43        Hingham          47        50        49        Monson              24        25        25        Rockland         23        22        22        Warren              17        NA        NA
Ashburnham      NA        NA        NA        Danvers             49        19        23        Hinsdale         31        26        53        Montague            55        54        55        Rockport         37        37        38        Warwick             43        46        46
Ashby           48        22        NA        Dartmouth           31        30        30        Holbrook         32        29        18        Monterey            27        47        NA        Rowe             29        28        32        Washington          42        46        NA
Ashfield        41        49        53        Dedham              39        NA        27        Holden           20        18        17        Montgomery          NA        NA        NA        Rowley            7         7        14        Watertown           20        23        23
Ashland         30        16        22        Deerfield           23        23        22        Holland          NA        NA        NA        Mt. Washington      35        NA        NA        Royalston        48        57        69        Wayland             43        42        39
Athol           NA        18        20        Dennis              23        22        17        Holliston        48        59        NA        Nahant              22        17        13        Russell          26        43        45        Webster             6         NA        NA
Attleboro       49        42        34        Dighton             NA        37        37        Holyoke          36        36        27        Nantucket           54        NA        63        Rutland          NA        NA        NA        Wellesley           49        54        56
Auburn          NA        4         11        Douglas             26        11         8        Hopedale         27        31        30        Natick              45        41        36        Salem            NA        11        22        Wellfleet           26        28        30
Avon            24        24        21        Dover               32        33        NA        Hopkinton        24        33        32        Needham             69        66        62        Salisbury        45        45        39        Wendell             46        45        48
Ayer            35        46        47        Dracut              NA        18        17        Hubbardston      NA        NA        NA        New Ashford         NA        NA        NA        Sandisfield      24        NA        NA        Wenham              30        29        NA
Barnstable      12        13        11        Dudley              17        16        17        Hudson           32        27        NA        New Bedford         14        12        15        Sandwich         22        20        21        W. Boylston         23        23        35
Barre           NA        14        57        Dunstable           32        35        30        Hull              5         6        NA        New Braintree       NA        NA        NA        Saugus           23        22        22        W. Bridgewater      18        21        26
Becket          27        25        27        Duxbury             45        32        31        Huntington       41        41        44        New Marlborough     15        11        10        Savoy            38        43        43        W. Brookfield       NA        NA        NA
Bedford         33        NA        NA        E. Bridgewater      25        34        29        Ipswich          46        36        43        New Salem           44        46        47        Scituate         41        38        56        W. Newbury          14        18        32
Belchertown     32        23        25        E. Brookfield       38        38        33        Kingston         21        18        17        Newbury             22        18        28        Seekonk          43        45        44        W. Springfield      31        33        33
Bellingham      35        35        32        E. Longmeadow       63        53        46        Lakeville        40        36        31        Newburyport         39        46        47        Sharon           23        27        39        W. Stockbridge      NA        18        25
Belmont         30        29        36        Eastham             31        36        24        Lancaster        NA        NA        NA        Newton              38        38        36        Sheffield        21        39        45        W. Tisbury          55        26        30
Berkley         19        29        30        Easthampton         NA        NA        NA        Lanesborough      9        10        NA        Norfolk             41        38        35        Shelburne        45        44        43        Westborough         41        22        23
Berlin          NA        35        35        Easton              NA        NA        NA        Lawrence          9         6        11        N. Adams            10         7        NA        Sherborn         34        39        41        Westfield           29        32        25
Bernardston     40        38        42        Edgartown           24        32        34        Lee              26        27        34        N. Andover          31        32        29        Shirley          NA        NA        NA        Westford            22        30        24
Beverly         25        23        17        Egremont            48        47        48        Leicester        NA        15        NA        N. Attleborough     27        38        19        Shrewsbury       NA        25        24        Westhampton         48        46        48
Billerica       17        22        18        Erving              37        41        36        Lenox            13        12        17        N. Brookfield       35        36        31        Shutesbury       32        42        47        Westminster         30        28        40
Blackstone      42        33        29        Essex               22        22        21        Leominster       15        23        18        N. Reading          18        16        16        Somerset         42        42        52        Weston              38        32        24
Blandford       NA        18        70        Everett             NA        18        15        Leverett         60        69        67        Northampton         47        45        54        Somerville       21        20        22        Westport            18        20        24
Bolton          44        54        57        Fairhaven           28        23        27        Lexington        NA        58        NA        Northborough        NA        41        37        S. Hadley        40        49        49        Westwood            33        27        29
Boston          12        17        12        Fall River          12        16        13        Leyden           NA        NA        NA        Northbridge         23        21        20        Southampton      59        56        69        Weymouth            22        16        17
Bourne          33        41        41        Falmouth            42        42        42        Lincoln          39        39        40        Northfield          49        43        33        Southborough     24        25        25        Whately             42        43        56
Boxborough      30        35        26        Fitchburg           NA        15        24        Littleton        21        23        21        Norton              NA        23        NA        Southbridge       9         6        NA        Whitman             24        14        NA
Boxford         38        45        47        Florida             26        21        24        Longmeadow       54        54        50        Norwell             23        28        26        Southwick        36        30        34        Wilbraham           33        49        54
Boylston        NA        NA         2        Foxborough          65        64        59        Lowell           10        11        10        Norwood             NA        NA        NA        Spencer          31        23        22        Williamsburg        37        44        38
Braintree       34        31        30        Framingham          29        28        23        Ludlow           23        20        22        Oak Bluffs          28        27        30        Springfield      19        19        22        Williamstown        47        47        41
Brewster        18        20        22        Franklin            26        33        34        Lunenburg        39        49        46        Oakham              NA        NA        NA        Sterling         31        35        39        Wilmington          21        24        31
Bridgewater     28        27        61        Freetown             9         8         8        Lynn             21         6         5        Orange              22        20        23        Stockbridge      34        34        33        Winchendon          32        30        36
Brimfield       NA        NA        NA        Gardner             36        27        NA        Lynnfield        19        20        20        Orleans             26        NA        NA        Stoneham         35        37        34        Winchester          33        30        32
Brockton        23        28        28        Georgetown          NA        NA        NA        Malden           10         1        NA        Otis                28        41        27        Stoughton        28        31        27        Windsor             42        45        53
Brookfield       9        25        33        Gill                48        51        48        Manchester       32        34        32        Oxford              19        18        16        Stow             NA        NA        NA        Winthrop            12        17        29
Brookline       31        27        28        Gloucester          37        36        31        Mansfield        44        41        49        Palmer               8         3        46        Sturbridge       37        60        63        Woburn              21        27        27
Buckland        53        53        53        Goshen              40        62        54        Marblehead       51        51        NA        Paxton              NA        NA        NA        Sudbury          35        38        39        Worcester           44        49        46
Burlington      22        24        NA        Gosnold             NA        NA        NA        Marion           22        23        32        Peabody             14        15        15        Sunderland       42        41        44        Worthington         47        47        53
Cambridge       31        31        31        Grafton             10        NA        NA        Marlborough      22        23        22        Pelham              NA        16        21        Sutton           16        19        20        Wrentham            39        57        38
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yarmouth            39        40        31
Canton          38        24        NA        Granby              18        20        20        Marshfield       29        27        27        Pembroke            20        20        NA        Swampscott       48        48        51
Carlisle        35        35        35        Granville           43        47        47        Mashpee          24        26        26        Pepperell           36        33        24        Swansea          34        37        NA        Data provided by the Massachusetts
Carver          NA        NA        NA        Grt. Barrington      5        48         5        Mattapoisett     52        56        NA        Peru                32        32        28        Taunton          22        28        29        Department of Environmental
Charlemont      51        51        44        Greenfield          42        37        34        Maynard          44        45        44        Petersham           32        10        17        Templeton        NA        27        15        Protection.
Charlton        NA        NA        NA        Groton              51        41        41        Medfield         24        26        40        Phillipston         NA        33        NA        Tewksbury        16        18        18
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                NA = Non-reporting for that year.
Chatham         21        20        18        Groveland           NA        NA        NA        Medford          10        16        18        Pittsfield          17        26        27        Tisbury          NA        66        43
Chelmsford      31        20        24        Hadley              NA        NA        NA        Medway           49        46        41        Plainfield          53        54        61        Tolland          13        NA        NA
Chelsea          8         3        11        Halifax             38        39        48        Melrose          33        29        39        Plainville          35        30        33        Topsfield        35        51        44
Cheshire        37        38        39        Hamilton            21        19        24        Mendon           33        18        31        Plymouth            12        26        25        Townsend         29        32        22
Chester         28        31        27        Hampden             12        17        19        Merrimac         25        27        26        Plympton            NA        NA        NA        Truro            46        42        33
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Division of Local Services • 4
City & Town • June 2008                                                            Division of Local Services • 5


Solar and Wind Device Property Tax Exemption
James Crowley, Esq., Municipal Finance Law Bureau

In a time of rising fuel costs, taxpayers   The exemption is based on the fair cash
may explore solar and wind powered          value of certain components, which is         Therefore, to obtain
heating systems as a means to lessen        not necessarily the full cost of the en-      the full benefit of
their fuel bills. Many of these taxpayers   ergy saving system. Only the value of
                                                                                          the exemption, the
are also concerned about the affect the     devices whose sole function is to sup-
installation of these system will have on   ply heat or power to the property is ex-      taxpayer should apply
their property tax bills.                   empt. Any components that serve a             when the system is
                                            dual purpose, such as having a signifi-
Under M.G.L. Ch. 59 Sec. 5 Cl. 45, a
                                            cant structural function, are taxable. For    first installed.
taxpayer who installs a solar or wind
                                            example, the value of the thermal stor-      The assessors must use their own ap-
powered system or device that is used
                                            age rods, storage box, fan system and        praisal judgment to determine the value
as a primary or auxiliary means to sup-
                                            duct work that are constructed to func-      of the system and to allocate the tax-
ply heat or power to their property may
                                            tion exclusively as part of the solar or     able and exempt portions of the sys-
receive a tax exemption. The exemp-
                                            wind-powered energy or heat-supply-          tem. A taxpayer dissatisfied by the
tion applies to residential, commercial
                                            ing system are exempt. The value of          amount of the exemption may file an
and other taxable real estate.
                                            the insulating materials, windows, floors    abatement application with the asses-
To obtain the exemption, a taxpayer         and gravel base are taxable because          sors to contest the portion of the system
must file an initial exemption applica-     they serve a structural and energy re-       which was treated as taxable. If unsuc-
tion. A regular abatement application       lated purpose. See Informational Guide-      cessful, the taxpayer can appeal an ad-
(State Tax Form 128) may be used to         line Release No. 84-209, Property Tax        verse determination by the assessors to
apply. The exemption is allowed for a       Exemptions for Solar and Wind Pow-           the State Appellate Tax Board.
period of 20 years from the date of the     ered Systems or Devices, Letter Ruling
installation of the system. Therefore, to   81-107, Solar Energy Property.               If a taxpayer sells the property within the
obtain the full benefit of the exemption,                                                20-year exemption period, the buyer is
the taxpayer should apply when the                                                       entitled to the Clause 45 exemption for
system is first installed.                                                               the balance of the 20 years. ■

Municipal Residential Recycling Rates                      continued from page 3

white goods, textiles and swap shop         Tons composted does not include:             • These two figures are mutually exclu-
diversion                                   Compost tonnage from commercial              sive if properly reported, and are added
                                            sources                                      together to calculate total tons.
Tons Disposed does not include: recy-
cling tonnage from businesses.              Hazardous Household Products and             For more information regarding Mass-
                                            Difficult to Manage Waste Diversion          DEP’s municipal recycling program and
Tons Composted includes:
                                            includes:                                    reports please visit their website at:
• Tonnage reported for leaves and                                              
                                            • All hazardous household products
yard waste, Christmas trees, and ton-
                                            and difficult to manage wastes reported      Additionally, check out MassDEP’s
nage credit per home compost bin dis-
                                            (where necessary, volume to weight           website for the following links:
tributed (typically based on volume to
                                            conversion factors are used to convert
weight conversions).                                                                     Assistance for municipalities: www.
                                            values into tons).
• When the municipality does not col-
                                            • Per-car and per-half-car tonnage           tan1.htm.
lect and report composting tonnage,
                                            credit for the number of cars reported
but does confirm that it has specific                                                    Alphabetical list of municipal recycling
                                            served at comprehensive one-day col-
composting initiatives in place, Mass-                                                   programs:
                                            lection events.
DEP calculates per-household default                                                     cle/reduce/recyclin.htm#list. ■
composting tonnage in lieu of actual
reported tonnage.
City & Town • June 2008                                                            Division of Local Services • 6

Murray, Kirwan & Bal Join Annual New Officials
Finance Forum
Robert Bliss, DOR Director of Communications

The word and the theme of the day at         make their voices heard on other mu-          ence. “Look for ways to work with DLS
the 11th annual New Officials Finance        nicipal issues as well.                       and to do more with the resources you
Forum (NOFF), held June 5, at the Col-                                                     have,” Kirwan said.
                                             The discussions that take place at
lege of the Holy Cross in Worcester
                                             events such as the Muncipal Affairs Co-       There are some similarities in the chal-
was “partnership.”
                                             ordinating Cabinet’s listening tour “do       lenges local and state governments
Nearly 100 newly elected and ap-             shape policy, developing proposals we         face, she said. The state spends
pointed local officials heard Lieutenant     take back and try to work on,” some of        nearly half its budget on health and
Governor Tim Murray, Administration          which will be included in a second ver-       human services while local aid ac-
and Finance Secretary Leslie Kirwan,         sion of the MPA that the administration       counts for slightly less than 25 percent.
Department of Revenue Commissioner           will draft, Murray said.                      “That doesn’t leave us much … we’re
Navjeet K. Bal, and Deputy DOR Com-                                                        in the same kind of squeeze you are,”
                                             A&F Secretary Kirwan, whose career in
missioner for Local Services Robert                                                        Kirwan said.
                                             public service began with a 10-year
Nunes all speak of the importance of
                                             stint in the Division of Local Services,      The state faces a structural deficit of
strengthening the partnership between
                                             during which time she oversaw the             $1.3 billion and as much as possible,
the commonwealth’s 351 cities and
                                             NOFF manual’s creation, said, “I admire       “does not want to use reserves to
towns and state government.
                                                                                           achieve balance, the same as you
As a former Worcester mayor, Murray                                                        don’t want to use reserves to achieve
said he knew first hand that “municipal                                                    balance,” she said.
government delivers the services that
                                                                                           The governor is trying to grow addi-
citizens rely on the most at the end of
                                                                                           tional revenues, “through some game-
the day.”
                                                                                           changing economic development op-
At the same time, Governor Deval Pat-                                                      portunities,” Kirwan said. While noting
rick “understands that local officials are                                                 that “in the spirit of partnership, state
our partners in government,” Murray                                                        government is filling the gap in lottery
said. He urged local officials to continue                                                 revenues,” she cautioned that it would
to voice support for those provisions of                                                   be “unwise for local officials to think the
the Municipal Partnership Act (MPA)                                                        state is going to write a bigger check”
that the Massachusetts Legislature has                                                     in other forms of local assistance.
not yet acted upon, and to continue to
                                                                                           However, she did point out that the
                                                                                           Patrick administration strongly sup-
                                                                                           ported a $2 million increase in the PILOT
                                                                                           (payment in lieu of taxes) program and
                                                           Leslie Kirwan                   was continuing to urge communities to
                                                                                           at least examine the savings on health
                                             you for stepping into the fray at this dif-   insurance costs that might accrue from
                                             ficult time.” She too declared that the       joining the state Group Insurance Com-
                                             Patrick–Murray administration, “wants to      mission. The Athol–Royalston School
                                             be and is in partnership with you.”           Committee has saved $922,000 in its
                                                                                           first year as a member of the GIC, al-
                                             She cited the evolving role of DLS from
                                                                                           lowing them to fill four critical positions
                                             strictly that of a regulator to one that
                                                                                           and still save money, she observed.
                                             shares responsibility for both regulation
                                             and providing technical assistance as         Nunes, the former mayor of Taunton
                                             acknowledgement of the responsibility         told the gathered officials, “I truly under-
                                             state government has “to help you             stand the choices you are making
                                             navigate state laws. Learn the DLS            everyday, and I appreciate your dedica-
                                             staff, get their phone numbers, get to                              continued on page 7
               Tim Murray                    know these folks,” she urged the audi-
City & Town • June 2008                                                          Division of Local Services • 7

New Officials Finance Forum                 continued from page 6

tion and commitment to your cities and      for local revenue; Kathleen Colleary,       “The New Officials Finance Forum
towns.” Bal added, “It’s a challenge to     chief of the Bureau of Municipal Fi-        gives local officials more opportunity to
do more with what’s available to you.”      nance Law, explained the state’s Prop-      receive information and ask questions
                                            osition 2 1⁄ 2 law; Jim Paquette, program   about municipal finance than any other
A series of workshops and hands-on
                                            analyst for the Bureau of Local Assess-     single such event sponsored by DLS. I
exercises followed the opening speak-
                                            ment, spoke on the role of new growth       would strongly urge those officials who
ers led by Daniel Murphy, tax counsel
                                            in property certification; Anthony Ras-     could not make it this year to plan on at-
for the Bureau of Municipal Finance
                                            sias, deputy director of the Bureau of      tending our twelfth conference in June
Law, outlining the various roles played
                                            Local Accounts, outlined the process        of two thousand nine,” Nunes said.
local officials in municipal finance; Joe
                                            for setting tax rate; and F. Ellis Fitz-
Markarian, supervisor for the Technical                                                 NOFF is held each June in Worcester.
                                            patrick, an accounting and audit pol-
Assistance Section, by strongly recom-                                                  Registration begins in March. For
                                            icy analyst in the Bureau of Accounts
mending annual audits in his presenta-                                                  more information about NOFF or to
                                            spoke on reserves and free cash.
tion on the budget process and sources                                                  read the NOFF manual, please visit our
                                                                                        website. ■

     Bureau of Accounts field reps work through tax setting exercises with new local officials. Top left: William Arrigal.
                     Top right: Kathy Reed. Bottom left: Everett Griffiths. Bottom right: Deb Wagner.
City & Town • June 2008                                                           Division of Local Services • 8

Valuing Classified Forest Land — FY2009                         continued from page 1
                                                                                          Databank Highlight
respective designees, and a person ap-       mine to use values outside the ranges
pointed by the governor who is a mem-        recommended by the FVAC their values         Jared Curtis, Analyst
                                                                                          Municipal Databank
ber of a local board of assessors.           must be supported by a comprehen-
                                             sive study of local factors influencing      The Municipal Databank contains
The Department of Conservation and
                                             value. For example, assessors should         more data than what appears on our
Recreation (DCR) includes the state
                                             ensure that sales used to support their      website. A perfect example of this is
forrester. DCR worked to develop sug-
                                             valuations are comparable with respect       the data discussed in last month’s
gested values for forest land to be pre-
                                             to tillable land, pasture, meadow, wood-     article on chapter lands.
sented to the FVAC. After a great deal
                                             land, mountainside and marsh, etc. In
                                             addition, they should identify and con-      Additional chapter land resources
 The owner also paid                                                                      such as guidelines, local option forms
                                             sider all other circumstances about the
 an annual products tax                      transactions that may have influenced        and the technique for valuing farm-
                                             the prices paid for the land, e.g., sales    land properties can be obtained from
 based on 8 percent of
                                             during crop growing season, irrigation       our website at
 the stumpage value                          and personal or business motivations         Local Officials with access to the
 of the forest products                      of the parties. For more information         DLS Gateway System can view
 cut from the parcel                         please see the expanded Farmland             their community’s chapter land par-
                                             Valuation section on page 16 of the          cel and value data by visiting
 during the prior calen-                     newly released Guidelines for the De- and clicking on
 dar year. Chapter 394                       velopment of a Minimum Reassess-             the link for DLS Gateway under the
                                             ment Program.                                title “online services.” This data
 changed that valuation
                                             Chapter 394 also allows classified land      along with all other property types
 methodology and elim-                                                                    is reported to DLS annually on the
                                             to be valued as open space under
 inated the product tax.                     M.G.L. Ch. 59, §2A. Approximately 30         LA-4 form.
                                             percent of communities locally opt to        You can request data regarding
of research, DCR recommended the             use a split tax rate annually whereby        chapter lands or other property types
FVAC adopt an income approach to             commercial properties pick up a larger       by contacting the Municipal Data-
value that discounts anticipated timber      share of the tax levy than the residential   bank at
revenue. In other words, it determines       properties. Now by a vote of town meet-      or 617-626-2384. Data is available
the present worth of the timber crop that    ing or the city council with the concur-     by parcel and value for multiple
may not be harvested for many years.         rence of the mayor, a community can          communities, property types and
This approach was selected because           vote to determine that any one or all of     fiscal years. ■
the FVAC uses an income approach to          the three categories of classified land
value its other agricultural/horticultural   can be categorized as open space.
land use categories such as vegeta-          That means a lower property value and
bles, orchards, pasture land, etc. DCR’s     a lower tax rate. Additionally, cities and
analyses further led to a differentiation    towns can lower the rate further if they
in the value of these woodlands east         elect to give open space property a dis-
and west of the Connecticut River, the       count at their annual classification hear-
higher value being west of the river. (A     ing where local tax options are decided.
more detailed explanation of the for-        (for details see Tax Rate Options: For-
mula is available with the FVAC recom-       est, Farm and Recreational Chapter
mended land values referenced earlier        Lands in the May 2008 issue of City &
in the article.)                             Town). In summary, Chapter 394 can be
                                             a win–win situation for owners of classi-
Assessors must consider the FVAC
                                             fied chapter lands and the communities
recommended values when valuing
                                             in which they are situated. ■
classified farm land. If assessors deter-
City & Town • June 2008                                                            Division of Local Services • 9

Braintree, Weymouth and Quincy Recycle Together                                 continued from page 2

ors recognized that a one to two year
process was going to be compressed
into three months. The decision to hire
Rosemary Nolan, a Quincy Department
of Public Works retiree was the key to
this effort. Additionally, a task force
made up of representatives of the three
municipalities met one to two times per
week with Nolan to insure each com-
munity’s needs were integrated into the
RFP and that synergies could be real-
ized through discussion and informa-
tion exchanges — a valuable outcome
for this effort and any to follow.
Key Process Points:
• The RFP formatting was done with a
                                            On behalf of the Recycling Committee, Mr. Kunz presented to Lt. Governor Murray
user-friendly approach. Many times, vol-                         and the Municipal Cabinet in early May.
umes of pages have to be gone through
before finding the basics of the RFP        applied toward a municipal solid waste         on single stream recycling to each
scattered throughout the document.          coordinator to assist all three towns in       household. This would serve our goal
                                            communicating with the vendor and              of converting to single stream, and im-
• We organized the RFP so that key is-      ensuring the proper outreach and curb-         mediately reduce trash tonnage fees.
sues were in the lead section — vendors     side monitoring and enforcement takes          During the first year, municipalities
knew what was expected of them during       place. It was strongly felt that without       would have time to research corporate
their preparation of the RFP response       daily supervision on behalf of the com-        grants for recycling containers. DEP
and what each proposal needed to            munities, achieving goals and sustain-         grants occur in August wherein applica-
contain along with the pricing.             ability was not possible.                      tion could be made for funding to offset
• A pricing format and a two-sided                                                         the larger container cost. Also, the cost
                                            • One concept of the new recycling
pricing sheet for each municipality was                                                    savings from lowering disposal costs
                                            program included in the RFP is single
provided so that the vendors could just                                                    over 12 months, through the modified
                                            stream recycling. Single stream recy-
fill in the pricing on the lines provided                                                  single stream recycling, could be used
                                            cling eliminates the need for residents
next to each service category. This en-                                                    to assist in funding larger 96-gallon
                                            to sort paper or cardboard from all the
sured that all responses would be con-                                                     containers. From the time the contract
                                            other items that are recycled.
sistent and made evaluating the pric-                                                      is awarded to the new contract imple-
ing more transparent while providing        • During the first year of the new con-        mentation date, there is a three-month
an equal playing field.                     tract, the municipalities can do a modi-       period for outreach to the public relative
                                            fied single stream program that would          to single stream to ensure a maximum
• Outreach/sponsorship from the ven-        allow residents to utilize one of their cur-   comfort level with residents.
dor to the communities was included,        rent trash containers for recycling, along
in order to have the means of sustain-                                                     For more information please contact
                                            with their recycling bin. The municipali-
ing outreach efforts to the schools and                                                    Rosemary Nolan at RNolan@brain
                                            ties would supply a wrap-around-con-
residents to achieve our goals of re-                                             ■
                                            tainer-sticker and an information sheet
ducing trash tonnage, and thus, reduc-
ing costs.
• Route supervision, by the vendor,                                                            City and Town welcomes the
                                                                                               submission of municipal Best
was addressed as an area where the
                                                                                               Practice articles and ideas.
three communities might possibly share                                                         To do so please contact us at:
one route supervisor instead of having                                               
two or three for the three communities                                                         or by calling 617-626-2377.
as is the current situation. The savings
of one salary by the vendor could be
City & Town • June 2008                                                           Division of Local Services • 10

Giving the Green Light                                                                     Efficient
to Green Cleaners                                                                          Energy in
Courtesy of the Operational Services Division’s Environmentally Preferable
Products Program                                                                           Springfield
                                                                                           Steve Lisauskas, Executive Director,
Cleaning can be a very dirty business. Did you know that one out of every three            Springfield Finance Control Board
commercial cleaning products contains harmful chemicals that are linked to can-
cer, reproductive disorders, asthma and other respiratory ailments or skin and             The Springfield Finance Control Board
major organ damage? Those same substances eventually enter the environment                 and the City of Springfield undertook a
and can contribute to the depletion of the ozone layer, adversely affect drinking          large-scale energy efficiency effort in
water quality, and are responsible for high concentrations of toxics in fish and           2006 under the Commonwealth’s En-
other organisms. Some of the dangerous chemicals will not biodegrade and will              ergy Services Companies (ESCO) pro-
remain in the environment forever.                                                         gram. The $15.1 million first phase of
                                                                                           the investment is nearing completion.
As a result of the significant environmental and public health hazards associated          Annual debt service for this investment
with cleaning chemicals, government and private sector purchasers have been                is $1.1 million, with projected Fiscal Year
making the switch to green, or more environmentally preferable product (EPP) al-           2009 savings of $1.17 million. Improved
ternatives. At first the transition was guarded, based on concerns for performance         utility purchasing is projected to save
and cost. However, as a result of a consistent record of positive experiences doc-         another $1.7 million for a combined pro-
umented nationwide over the past few years, the move to green is in full swing! Pur-       jected energy savings of $2.8 million.
chasers have discovered that many environmentally preferable options are com-              While debt service costs are fixed, the
mercially available without a higher price tag and custodians find them to work            city’s savings will grow each year as
just as well, if not better, than the traditional counterparts. It’s a win–win situation   energy costs increase and additional
all around — especially for the cleaning staff and the building’s occupants.               usage continues to be avoided.
Massachusetts actually jump-started this momentum in 2003 when the common-                 Under the ESCO, the city received
wealth issued its statewide contract #GRO16 for EPP cleaning agents using the              comprehensive energy efficiency analy-
(third-party) Green Seal Standard for Industrial and Institutional Cleaning Prod-          ses for more than 80 municipal build-
ucts (GS-37) as the minimum criteria along with strict performance requirements.           ings at no up-front cost. The cost of
As a result, hundreds of green cleaning products formulated using that standard            these analyses — $250,000 — will be
are now available and can be viewed at                bundled with the cost of efficiency up-
ers.cfm. In addition, at least four northeastern states (CT, NY, NJ and ME) have is-       grades and will be repaid through en-
sued Executive Orders aimed at mandating the use of green cleaning products                ergy savings.
for various public institutions, facilities, schools, etc.
                                                                                           Prior to making these investments,
This move to reference a third-party certification when specifying green is impor-         heat in many schools was inconsistent:
tant for several reasons: Such certifications alleviate the need for purchasers to         in some buildings, one room would be
undertake labor-intensive technical product reviews to verify environmental                over 80 degrees while an adjoining
claims made by manufacturers. Equally important, these independent standards               room was in the 50s. The ESCO pro-
provide manufacturers with a consistent set of criteria for developing green prod-         grams replaced or right-sized dozens of
ucts that will satisfy large numbers of purchasers. As a result, a greater volume of       boilers and made numerous other cap-
certified green products can be produced at a lesser cost and those reductions             ital investments. Many of the assets re-
are being passed on as savings to customers.                                               placed were well beyond their useful
As many new green options have hit the marketplace since the inception of the MA           lives, requiring intensive maintenance.
GRO16 contract, the central purchasing office, the Operational Services Division           Even at that, breakdowns occurred that
(OSD), will soon be re-bidding the present contract to include additional product          resulted in unacceptable room condi-
lines. To take it one step further, the agency is looking to establish a statewide con-    tions and reducing productivity.
tract for cleaning services that would require the awarded contractors to use only         Should you have any questions,
cleaning products certified by third-party organization such as Green Seal and             please contract Patrick Sullivan, exec-
Environmental Choice. For more information on the current vendors on GRO16,                utive director of parks, recreation and
visit and for info on the upcoming contract proposals, con-               building maintenance for Springfield at
tact OSD’s EPP Program at                                                413-787-6444. ■
For more information regarding the Operational Services Division’s (OSD) Envi-
ronmentally Preferable Products Program please contact Marcia Deegler, director
of environmental purchasing, at 617-720-3356 or by e-mail at marcia.deegler@ ■
City & Town • June 2008                                                            Division of Local Services • 11

                                                                                           No More
 $avings Times Two for                                                                     Water Water
 Summer Swimming Pools                                                                     Everywhere
 Courtesy of the Operational Services Division’s Environmentally Preferable
 Products Program                                                                          Courtesy of the Operational Services
                                                                                           Division’s Environmentally Preferable
 Swimming is perhaps one of the               approved products that can help you          Products Program
 healthiest ways of recreation, but over      do just that:
                                                                                           As the recent New England tempera-
 the past few years reports about
                                              • Pool ionization systems, widely            tures herald the official start of the
 “swimming-related illness” due to the
                                              used across the state, use copper and        summer season, we turn on the hose,
 effects of sodium hypochlorite and its
                                              silver ions to enhance the chlorine ac-      auto-set the outdoor sprinkler systems,
 by-products in pools have scared
                                              tion and reduce chlorine use by 50 to        open our swimming pools, and take
 swimmers away. The issue is that
                                              80 percent.                                  numerous showers, often without a
 sodium hypochlorite, also referred to
                                                                                           thought to the fact that in many parts of
 as “pool chlorine,” has a more familiar      • Ozonation systems supplement
                                                                                           the world access to fresh water is liter-
 household name: bleach.                      chlorine action with ozone and thus re-
                                                                                           ally a life or death issue.
                                              duce disinfection chlorine needs.
 Swimming in water with bleach diluted
                                                                                           According to the World Health Organi-
 in it is reported to cause skin, eye and     • Salt water chlorination systems
                                                                                           zation, the health and economies of at
 respiratory irritation. Bleach also reacts   produce sodium hypochlorite from reg-
                                                                                           least 80 countries are threatened by
 with organic contaminants in pools pro-      ular salt (sodium chloride) onsite. Using
                                                                                           water scarcity and over 2 billion people
 ducing chloramines, which are toxic to       salt is less costly, but what’s most im-
                                                                                           have no access to clean water; ten-
 bathers. On the cost side, a 200,000-        portant, salt is obviously much less
                                                                                           sions have mounted between nations
 gallon public pool may use 50 gallons        hazardous to store than pool chlorine.
                                                                                           that share water from rivers crossing
 of chlorine a day, which (at a conserva-
                                      What is the cost? For the pool de-                   common borders and the World Bank
 tive $3/gal) translates into $150 daily.
                                      scribed above, a fully installed ioniza-             estimates that world-wide demand for
 For an outdoor pool, it would mean
                                      tion system will cost about $6,300 and               water is doubling every 20 years. Inter-
 $15,000 for a 100-day season, not in-
                                      at 50 percent chlorine use reduction will            estingly enough, the words “river” and
 cluding dealing with equipment corro-
                                      save $7,500 in just one season. But                  “rival” share the same Latin root; a rival is
 sion caused by chlorine or potential li-
                                      what is more important is that it will help          “someone who shares the same stream.”
 ability in case of a spill or injury.
                                      you make your pool a healthier place.                Perhaps this best explains the plethora
 Sodium hypochlorite is, of course, After all, that’s why we go swimming.                  of public opinion expressed in recent
 used for a reason. But what if there                                                      years that water will eventually replace
                                      For more information regarding the
 was a way to comply with the Massa-                                                       oil as the most critical resource issue
                                      Operational Services Division’s (OSD)
 chusetts Department of Public Health                                                      confronting all countries of the world.
                                      Environmentally Preferable Products
 (DPH) requirements for disinfection
                                      Program please contact Marcia Dee-                   Although our problems in the United
 and use less chlorine? The newly-
                                      gler, director of environmental pur-                 States are not as dire as in developing
 awarded statewide contract for Water
                                      chasing, at 617-720-3356 or by e-mail                countries — at least not yet — our cur-
 Treatment Chemicals and Alternative
                                      at ■                     rent activities, particularly those involv-
 Treatment Systems (FAC46) now
                                                                                           ing landscaping, are dangerously dis-
 carries an expanded array of DPH-
                                                                                           respectful of this valuable resource.
                                                                                           According to the landscaping guide
                                                                                           prepared by the state Executive Office
                                                                                           of Energy and Environmental Affairs,
                                                                                           American homeowners use 40–60 per-
                                                                                           cent of their household water on lawns
                                                                                           and the average lawn consumes 10,000
                                                                                           gallons. That comes to 32 gal. of water
                                                                                           per day on lawns. (
                                                                                                                continued on page 12
City & Town • June 2008                                                  Division of Local Services • 12

Rainbarrels       cont’d. from page 11

The guide provides a wealth of informa-     Green Links
tion and tips on ecological landscaping,
but one easy and economical water           State and Federal Agency          Office of Consumer Affairs & Busi-
conservation measure we chose to            Programs:                         ness Regulation — Manage Munici-
focus on here is available for commer-      Massachusetts Executive Office of pal Energy/Energy Smart Program
cial and personal use on state contract     Energy & Environmental Affairs: Energy Star:
FAC31; Rainbarrels. In combination
with environmentally preferable land-                                         • “Innovative Financing Solutions:
                                            Massachusetts Division of Energy Finding Money For Your Energy Effi-
scaping practices, rainbarrels provide      Resources:
the opportunity to “harvest” thousands                                        ciency Projects:”
of gallons of “free” untreated water per    • Commonwealth of Massachusetts i a / b u s i n e s s / C O O - C F O _
season by diverting a portion of the run-   Energy Management Services        Paper_final.pdf
off from your roof. They are easy to in-
                                            State Department of Environmental • “Easy Access to Energy Improve-
stall, come in red or blue depending on
                                            Protection: ment Funds in the Public Sector:”
the vendor and connect to hoses or irri-                              
gation systems. You can multiply the sav-                                       access.pdf
ings by connecting one barrel to another.   Operational Services Division’s En-
Conserving water can help protect local     vironmentally Preferable Products U.S. Dept. of Energy Clean Cities
watersheds, ground water and surface        Program: Program:
water quality as well as our drinking       gram.htm                            cleancities/index.html
water, while providing a sustainable
                                            Division of Capital Asset Manage-   Non-Governmental:
source of water for irrigation.
                                            ment & Maintenance: Energy Effi-    MassRecycle:
The states of Massachusetts, Maine          ciency and Sustainable Buildings
and New Hampshire all have grant pro-       Group:          Mass Energy Efficiency Partnership:
grams that offset some of the purchase      ergy&Sustainability/energy-
price of the barrels. Interested agen-      sustain.html                   ICLIE — Local Governments for
cies, municipalities and citizens may
                                            The Mass Technology Collabora- Sustainability:
contact the Massachusetts Department                                       php?id=iclei-home&no_cache=1
of Environmental Protection for informa-
tion and/or one of the vendors on state     • Clean Energy Choice: Matching Mass Climate Action Network:
contract listed in this newsletter. Visit   Grants for Towns:
the various websites of the vendors for     CleanEnergyOrg/index.htm            MMA MunEnergy Program: www.
more details on the benefits and us-
                                            • Commonwealth Solar: www.mass
ages of rainbarrels.
Rainbarrel Vendors on MA Contract           wealth_solar/                       Interstate Renewable Energy Coun-
                                            Mass. Energy Management Services cil:
New England Rain Barrel Company,
Peabody, MA                                 Center for Energy Efficiency and Database of State Initiatives for Re-
Joane Freele, 978-977-3155                  Renewable Resources at the Uni- newable Energy (DSIRE): www.dsire; www.nerain           versity of Massachusetts Amherst: ■                        

SkyJuice New England, Stafford, NH
Sharon England, 207-363-1505; www.skyjuice.
For more information regarding the
Operational Services Division’s (OSD)
Environmentally Preferable Products
Program please contact Marcia Dee-
gler, director of environmental purchas-
ing, at 617-720-3356 or by e-mail at ■
City & Town • June 2008                                                         Division of Local Services • 13

 Municipal Fiscal Calendar

July 1                                      August 1                                     August 15
Collector: Mail Annual Preliminary          Taxpayer: Quarterly Tax Bills —              Assessors: Deadline to Vote to Seek
Tax Bills For communities issuing           Deadline for Paying 1st Quarterly            Approval for Authorization to Issue
annual preliminary tax bills, the pre-      Tax Bill Without Interest According          Optional Preliminary Tax Bills For
liminary quarterly or semiannual bills      to M.G.L. Ch. 59, Sec. 57C, this is the      semi-annual communities issuing op-
should be mailed by this date.              deadline for receipt of the 1st Quarter      tional preliminary property tax bills, the
                                            preliminary tax payment without inter-       Assessors must vote to seek authori-
July 15                                     est, unless the preliminary bills were       zation to issue the bills from DOR by
Accountant: Certification Date for          mailed after July 1. If mailed by August     this date. After receiving approval, As-
Free Cash: Anytime after Books are          1, the 1st Quarterly payment is due Au-      sessors must submit a Pro-forma Tax
Closed Two weeks after the close of         gust 1, or 30 days after the bills were      Rate Recap Sheet to DOR for review
a fiscal year, all accounts are closed      mailed, whichever is later, and the 2nd      and issue the tax bills by October 1.
out and the resulting balance sheet         Quarterly payment is due November
                                                                                         For a complete calendar listing, see
and supplemental documentation              1. If mailed after August 1, the prelimi-
                                                                                         the Municipal Fiscal Calendar on our
                                            nary tax is due as a single installment
submitted to DOR. Free cash is certi-                                                    website. ■
fied any time after this date.              on November 1, or 30 days after the
                                            bills were mailed, whichever is later.
Accountant: Report Community
                                            Taxpayer: Annual Boat Excise                  Please remember to
Preservation Fund Balance: Any-
time after Books are Closed After the       Return Due                                    update the online Local
close of a fiscal year, the fund balance    Accountant: Notification of Total
                                                                                          Officials Directory so
is submitted to DOR (Form CP-2) and         Receipts of Preceding Year The total          that both municipal
notice given to the Community Preser-       actual local receipts (e.g., motor vehi-      and state officials
vation Committee and other financial        cle excise, fines, fees, water/sewer          have accurate contact
officers. The fund balance may be           charges) of the previous fiscal year          information.
appropriated anytime after that report.     must be included on Schedule A of the
School Business Officials: Certifica-       Tax Rate Recapitulation Sheet (Recap)
tion Date for Excess and Deficiency         which is submitted by the Assessors
(E&D) Fund Two weeks after the close        to DOR. On the Recap, the Accoun-
of a fiscal year, all accounts are closed   tant certifies the previous fiscal year’s
and the resulting balance sheet (a pre-     actual revenues, and the Assessors
                                            use this information to project the next      City & Town
closing trial balance or audited finan-                                                   City & Town is published by the Massachusetts
cial statements will not be accepted        fiscal year’s revenues. Any estimates         Department of Revenue’s Division of Local
unless requested by the Director of Ac-     of local receipts on the Recap that dif-      Services (DLS) and is designed to address

counts) and supplemental documenta-         fer significantly from the previous year’s    matters of interest to local officials.

tion are submitted to DOR. E&D Fund         actual receipts must be accompanied           S.J. Port, Editor

is certified any time after this date.      by documentation justifying the change        Marilyn Browne, Editor Emeritus
                                            in order to be approved by the Com-           Editorial Board:
Assessors: Deadline for Appealing           missioner of Revenue.                         Robert Nunes, Robert Bliss, Zachary Blake
                                                                                          and Amy Januskiewicz
Commissioner’s Pipeline Valuations
to ATB                                      August 10                                     To obtain information or publications, contact the
                                                                                          Division of Local Services via:
                                            Assessors: Deadline for Appealing             • website:
July 20                                                                                   • e-mail:
                                            EQVs to ATB (even numbered years              • telephone: 617-626-2377
DOR/BLA: Notification of Changes            only)                                         • mail: PO Box 9569, Boston, MA 02114-9569
in Proposed EQVs (even numbered
years only)                                 Assessors: Deadline for Appealing
                                            SOL Valuations to ATB (every 4th
DOR/BLA: Notification of Changes            year after 2005)
in Proposed SOL Valuations (every
4th year after 2005)

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