Fiscal Resources Task Group - May 20th, 2021
Meeting held via remote participation. Materials were available from https://www.arlingtonma.gov/Home/Components/Calendar/Event/27268/18.
Gordon Jamieson put together a draft presentation called "Path Towards Financial Sustainability", and we spent the meeting discussing it.
In the spring of 2019, the FRTG looked at the long range plan and past overrides. They chose to focus on new growth as an area of opportunity, but also as an area of concern.
Information about new growth flows from Inspectional Services to the assessor's office. Capturing new growth as taxable assessments involves the integration between two departments. It should be done in a timely manner.
The FRTG performed an analysis of assessments and building permits. They looked at substantial improvements that were permitted more than two years ago, to see if these changed the property's assessment.
A review of assessors records shows that most properties were visited within the last ten years, but some were not. Denial of entry was rarely listed as a reason for a lack of inspection. Quite a few properties were "measured", which means that measurements were taken outside the building, but the assessors did not enter the building.
Neighborhood values were generally found to be consistent, but there are outliers that merit further review.
The FRTG recommends tracking performance metrics (e.g., how long it takes for a permit to be issued), along with the relationship between building permit values and new growth. They'd also suggest workflow management software and a review of staffing levels.