In this article, we will discuss the highlights of the Board of Assessor’s regular meeting held on August 9, 2023, in the town of Dighton. The meeting, open to the public, was recorded for cable broadcast and internet posting on the Dighton website, YouTube, and mass.gov. The meeting commenced with the Pledge of Allegiance and proceeded to address various old and new business matters.
Old Business Status: 2440 Chess
During the meeting, the assessor shared updates on the status of the 2440 Chess property. Mentioning that they were on vacation the previous week, the assessor expressed disappointment that the lawyer had not responded to their inquiry. The board decided to send another email to the person handling the matter. While there were no significant developments, the assessor expected a response soon.
Status of Record Requests for Dighton Electric District
The assessor provided an update on the record requests for Dighton Electric District. The assessor and Lisa Tatro, representing the Board of Assessors, had met with the commissioners on July 26th. They discussed various aspects related to telephone poles, including ownership, installation, and removal. It was clarified that personal property records are not public records as per Mass General Law chapter 59 section 32. A letter was prepared to indicate that the meeting had taken place and the matter had been resolved.
Discussion on Personal Property Records
During the meeting, there was a discussion regarding the classification of personal property records as private. The board members questioned whether personal property records of a public entity should also be considered private. The assessor clarified that, according to the law, all personal property records are classified as private and not subject to public access. The board agreed with this interpretation and resolved to sign the letter addressed to the town clerk indicating their stance.
Letter to Share A. Cost, Town Clerk
The assessor read aloud the letter to be sent to Share A. Cost, the town clerk. The letter detailed the Board of Assessor’s request and extension of time to respond to the record request from Dighton Electric Light District. It cited the relevant statute and explained that personal property records are not considered public records. The letter expressed confidence that the matter had been resolved.
Ensuring Benefits for Dighton Electric District
The assessor also informed the board about their efforts to help Dighton Electric District. They had advised them to reach out to Charlotte Diego, the MMA Energy Rep, to inquire about getting the extra Penny discount per kilowatt-hour that the town receives. The board members expressed satisfaction with the assistance provided and acknowledged that most of the discussion centered on clarifying the requests made by Dighton Electric District.
Motion to Sign the Letter
A motion was made to sign the letter addressed to Share A. Cost, the town clerk, in response to the record request from Dighton Electric Light District. The motion was seconded and further discussed. The board members agreed to sign the letter, and it was unanimously approved.
Discussion on Cannabis Control Commission
The meeting also touched upon the topic of the Cannabis Control Commission’s involvement in dictating how municipalities utilize funds from cannabis-related activities. The board members expressed concern over the Commission’s attempt to influence spending decisions at the local level. They argued that each town and city should have the autonomy to decide how to use the funds, rather than being dictated by the state. It was suggested that any directives regarding the use of funds should go through the Department of Interior (DOI) for approval.
Motor Vehicle Abatements
The board reviewed and approved motor vehicle abatements. A motion was made and seconded, and the abatements were unanimously approved.
Scheduling Future Meetings
The board discussed scheduling future meetings and agreed to proceed with a specific schedule. The members reviewed the proposed calendar and expressed satisfaction with it. It was decided that the tax rate and other relevant matters would be discussed in the November-December meetings. The schedule was shared with the attendees for their reference.
Personal Property Tax for Solar Projects
The assessor raised concerns about the handling of personal property tax from solar projects. She emphasized the need to create special accounts to segregate this revenue and prevent it from being used for operational expenses. This approach would help safeguard against potential tax levy issues in the future. The assessor had brought up this matter at previous department head meetings and intended to propose a warrant article for the fall town meeting. The board expressed their agreement and willingness to support the initiative.
The Board of Assessor’s regular meeting on August 9, 2023, covered various important topics. Updates were shared regarding the status of the 2440 Chess property and the record requests for Dighton Electric District. The board discussed personal property records and their classification as private. A letter was prepared, and the board approved its content. The meeting also touched upon concerns about the Cannabis Control Commission’s influence on spending decisions and the need to create special accounts for solar project revenue. The board approved motor vehicle abatements and set a schedule for future meetings. Overall, the meeting addressed significant matters related to the town’s assessors and highlighted the efforts made to ensure convenient and transparent governance.