Ayer’s Cliff residents were informed this week of the town council’s decision to increase the municipal tax per dwelling in order to address financial woes, set up a reserve fund, and repair or modernize outdated infrastructure.
Ayer’s Cliff Mayor Simon Roy told The Record that the news of the municipal tax increase has seemingly gone over without stirring much negative feedback from residents. There are no pitchforks, death threats, or angry mobs outside, Roy said jokingly in a phone interview.
“It seems, I wouldn’t say positive, because you know people never want to pay more money, but most people said that they understand and they were hoping it wouldn’t come to that, but they aren’t surprised because they kind of figured it was heading that way,” he said.
When Roy took over as mayor in October, he wasted little time tackling the town’s finances. He discovered that Ayer’s Cliff has accumulated a shortage of approximately $2 million, which he attributes to “the failure to index the tax accounts between 2012 and 2021.”
Roy decided to be transparent with residents, laying out the town’s financial situation, and possible solutions, during a special meeting in December. Residents could now be facing a municipal tax increase between 15 and 30 per cent based on the new valuation roll.
The tax rate doesn’t go up, the tax rate stays exactly the same, Roy said, it’s just the value of a property that changes. “It’s like if you go to the grocery store right now and you find that cookies are $1 more, well, you’re going to pay more tax because the cookies cost $1 more,” said Roy.