To the editor: There were many absurd statements made during Tuesday’s City Council debate on whether to use additional “free cash” to lower the tax burden. ("Tyer's tax rate greenlit as Pittsfield council rejects using additional $1 million in free cash to reduce property tax bills," Eagle, Nov. 23.)
I think the most absurd statement of the night, however, was by Mayor Linda Tyer. Mayor Tyer decided to educate the City Council on the benefits of the increase in home values such as adding equity, building borrowing power and personal wealth.
Mayor Tyer then stated, “For the average single-family home in Pittsfield, the increase in value equals $18,172 and I suggest that’s a decent value proposition for only $196 in new taxes.”
What does Mayor Tyer mean by that statement? Should I be grateful to the city for overvaluing my home and charging me $196 more? Does Mayor Tyer think a bank will appraise my home based on one year's sales data and lend me $18,172 to help me pay my taxes?
Last year, we saw a 9 percent spike in single-family home sale prices due to demand driven by a pandemic and a limited supply of housing. This is not a trend. It is a spike and prices will adjust down. Will Mayor Tyer return the $196 when prices fall? I think not.
Mayor Tyer’s statement reminds me of Marie Antoinette’s alleged statement to the peasants during the bread famine: “Let them eat cake.”
Mark Tully, Pittsfield