Key tax revenue streams on the rise in Hadley

  • Route 9 in Hadley, Hampshire Mall. FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Friday, November 25, 2022

HADLEY — Meals, lodging and cannabis excise taxes are becoming an increasingly important revenue stream for the town’s municipal budget, to the tune of nearly $1.5 million last fiscal year — a figure that is continuing a strong showing through the first quarter of this fiscal year.

While Hadley’s property tax rate has been consistently lower than many area cities and towns due to the sizable commercial tax base, Treasurer Linda Sanderson’s recent report to the Select Board shows just how critical revenue from diners, lodgers and recreational marijuana users is for the town’s annual spending plan.

In fiscal 2022, with a $21.5 million operating budget, the $1.47 million collected in excise revenue from meals, lodging and cannabis means that that money represented close to 7% of total spending.

“That’s a lot,” Sanderson told the Select Board at its Nov. 2 meeting.

“What I honestly didn’t realize is when we compare to cities and towns around us how much more significant it is to Hadley than it is to the other towns,” Sanderson said.

By comparison, while Northampton nearly doubled those specific excise tax revenues last year, with $2.69 million collected, that represents just over 2% of the city’s $126 million budget. Amherst took in $810,000 from those revenue sources, which is less than 1% of its $90 million budget.

Sanderson’s report indicates that the excise tax revenues are continuing to do well in the first quarter of fiscal 2023, from July through September. Those three excise taxes brought in $480,882, a nearly 21% increase from the $398,572 colllected during the same three-month time frame last year.

Aside from cannabis, where Hadley saw a drop from $25,963 to $24,590 in collections, the money from the meals tax went up by 14%, from $104,579 to $119,579, and the money from the lodging tax went up by 26%, $69,003, from $268,030 to $337,033.

The Planning Board noted the success of Hadley and having revenues on par with the much larger Northampton. “We’re competitive with Northampton on everything except marijuana,” said Planning Board Clerk William Dwyer.