Council votes ‘no’ on split tax

GREENFIELD — The town could still see a split tax rate, but only by way of a ballot question.

The Town Council overwhelmingly voted against a measure that would’ve raised the property tax rate for businesses by one percent. Councillors defeated the measure by a vote of 9-3 Thursday.

Though their decision was split, councillors agreed that the matter should be put on the ballot for the next general election, in June, so residents can have their say.

They also agreed that they didn’t hear enough opinions from residents, one of the reasons they feel it should go to a townwide vote.

The council heard from several business owners during its public hearings, but only one resident.

Thursday night, resident Al Siano spoke in favor of the split tax rate.

“This type of tax can level the playing field” and make real estate taxes more fair to residents, he said.

The council spoke at length on the matter, and it took up more than two and a half hours of the meeting.

Those opposed to a split tax rate said it would hurt businesses, and make the town less attractive to employers who may move to the area.

Supporters of the split tax said there is no empirical data to back up the opposition’s claims.

Though the majority of the council voted against the split tax, several of them commended Town Council Vice President Mark Wisnewski for championing the unpopular matter.

The Board of Assessors and Ways and Means Committee also opposed the split tax, and recommended that councilors vote it down.

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