Waltham reaches tax settlement with Covia (Unimin)

Utica-area taxpayers face 11-cent increase come May

Waltham Elementary in Utica

Covia, the former Unimin Corp., reached a settlement with the Waltham Elementary School District. The short-term impact is an 11-cent increase for Utica-area taxpayers.

The Waltham School Board emerged from closed session Monday and accepted a settlement with Covia, which wanted to trim the $70 million appraisal on its Utica parcels by three quarters. The Property Tax Appeals Board had a hearing set Jan. 6.

A ruling in Covia’s favor could have been crippling for Waltham, so they agreed to a settlement. Covia trims its fair market value by less than 30% and gets a one-time refund of $220,000.

The upshot is Waltham’s tax base drops from $88 million to $76 million, which means a projected tax increase of 11 cents on the property bills scheduled to arrive in spring.

Utica Mayor David Stewart, who last year paid Waltham $1,060 in taxes (total tax bill: $2,937), would pay the district $1,097 next year. That is a projection, however, and it presumes Stewart’s home value stays flat.

Will there be additional tax increases after 2023?

“It’s probably too soon to tell,” said Superintendent Kristi Eager. “We usually see some growth in our fair market value and if we continue to see small increases, that will hopefully keep our fair market value stable.”

Eager said she’s satisfied with the agreement, insofar as Waltham could have sustained a much larger loss of revenue had the Property Tax Appeals Board granted Covia its full request for relief.

“We can’t take this big of a hit,” Eager told board members after closed session.