New Bedford tax assessment candidates vying for seat in November election
NEW BEDFORD – Voters will go to the polls on Tuesday to select the city’s next tax assessor. Here are, in their words, the candidates’ responses to their candidacy.
I am running for New Bedford Tax Assessor because I believe the current tax assessment formula is flawed and has negative impacts. The current property tax formula is unfair because it is based on the valuation of the real estate market. The market and the perceived value of the property change depending on the will of those with access to the money. Additionally, the real estate market has a long history of prejudice, prejudice and inequity. So any formula based on an unfair real estate market will also be unfair.
Currently, property taxes are set based on the âmarket rateâ of the sale price of similar homes two years ago. With the city administration’s use of creating creative spaces to increase property value, our community is already feeling the impacts. Our resident families on fixed incomes are under financial pressure. Corporations and speculators buy homes for cash up to $ 50,000 above the market rate. This will dramatically change the value of properties over the next six year term of the tax assessor. This could lead to increased displacement and gentrification.
I want to defend the needs most affected by the position. I would aim to educate the community at large on the flaws of the current model and suggest alternatives. I will also be raising awareness and educating the community about the current exemption process available for people over the age of 70, veterans with at least 10% disability, and community members with disabilities (i.e. d. blind) who request an exemption from the assessor’s office on April 1.
I think we also need to pressure the mass legislature and the DOR to get exemptions for fixed income residents. Taxes should never displace community members. Taxes are meant to be collected for the common good. They shouldn’t harm the community. I am a strong advocate and will use my experience to lobby city and state wide to raise awareness of the need for change. I will also advocate for the Mayor of New Bedford to reverse the 2.5% annual property tax increase, especially in lieu of Covid and the rapid rent increases. Please vote for Erik Andrade, NB Tax Assessor on November 2nd.
Kimberly Saunders, incumbent
My name is Kimberly Saunders and I was first elected Evaluator in 2009. I have always resided in the town of New Bedford. I graduated from New Bedford High School, got my BA in Accounting from UMass Dartmouth and my MA in Taxation from Bentley University. I am a chartered accountant who operates an accounting firm in the city of New Bedford. I am the treasurer of the Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School Education Foundation. I live in the city with my husband and three children.
One of my main responsibilities as an appraiser is to assign appropriate values ââto New Bedford properties. I have taken an oath to ascribe “just and equitable values” to the properties, as required by law.
The tax rate is set by the city council using the assessed values ââof real estate to properly finance the expenses they have adopted in their city budget. Assessors do not set tax rates. My job as an appraiser is to properly assign values ââso that properties are appraised according to state guidelines.
My mission is to assess as accurately as possible the approximately 26,000 properties located in the town of New Bedford. Homeowners can claim a deduction from appraisers if they believe their appraisal was done incorrectly. The deduction request must be submitted before the due date of the 3rd quarter tax bill, which is generally February 1. State law also allows exemptions for things such as the elderly, the blind, and veterans. The request for these exemptions is on the reviewers website and must be submitted by April 1.
It would be an honor for me to continue to be one of the City of New Bedford Assessors and to continue to serve the residents of the Town of New Bedford. Please vote for me on Tuesday November 2nd.