Will Petersham voters nix tax for animals?

  • Voters will cast their ballots at the annual election in the Petersham Town Hall on March 5. ATHOL DAILY NEWS/Deborrah Porter

Staff Writer
Thursday, February 15, 2018

PETERSHAM — In addition to filling eight positions at the annual election, the sole question included on the March 5 ballot asks voters if they agree to cease assessing the excise tax imposed on certain animals, machinery and equipment owned by individuals and non-corporate entities principally engaged in agriculture.

The Board of Assessors recommended the question be included on the ballot. By Massachusetts law, the question has to be approved by the voters.

According to Selectboard Chairwoman Nancy Allen, a town can choose to not assess excise taxes on farm animals and farm machinery.

“As Petersham does not take in a lot of revenue currently from this taxation, it is some work to detail livestock ownership correctly and equitably across the community,” said Allen. “We currently are accidentally not assessing all owners, and we want to support farming in Petersham.”

Allen said there are roughly 90 locations, not necessarily farms, throughout town with cows, horses, llamas, alpaca, chickens, goats and sheep.

Assessors and the board agreed to put the question before the voters, as is required by state law.

Who’s running in this year’s election?

The election is set for Monday, March 5. There are no contests, and all but one of the candidates named on the election ballot are incumbents seeking another term.

Newcomer Jennifer DeJackome is seeking a three-year term on the Petersham School Committee.

Seats to be filled and the candidates for the remaining three-year terms include:

Selectboard, Henry Woolsey

Tax Collector, Renee Wingertsman

Board of Assessors, Dana Kennan

Board of Health, Robert Pasic

Planning Board, Stephan Herzog

Trustees of Public Library, Fifi Scoufopoulos

Voting will take place at the lower Town Hall from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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