The story below is from The Sun Chronicle, Sept. 27, 2011
ATTLEBORO – The city’s revitalized farmers market, which has experienced some growing pains because of a booming business, is facing another challenge.
Last week city officials had to work out a new location for the popular downtown attraction when an increase in vendors and customers and a misunderstanding on the market’s closing date hindered access to the public library, which shares the parking lot.
And now this week, city Assessor Stan Nacewicz said the budding group is likely to owe the city taxes.
Nacewicz said market managers, which have a permit to operate out of the city-owned North Main Street parking lot next to the library, will get a bill because they allow a number of for-profit businesses to sell on the lot as part of the market.
Taxing non-profit and charitable groups is not something Nacewicz says he wants to do, but must because it’s the law.
“It’s doing what’s right,” Nacewicz said. “I don’t like doing it, but it’s been brought to my attention and I’m required to do it.”
Market manager Heather Porreca didn’t return a call seeking comment Monday night.
Nacewicz said the tax has not been figured, but will come from a formula which includes real estate and personal property assessments.
And if market officials go through with plans to move the event to the Ezekial Bates Masonic Lodge for November and December, the Masons, a fraternal organization, would get a tax bill, he said.
It’s not the first time the city has taxed a non-profit organization for allowing a for-profit group to use its property.
For the past two tax years, assessors have issued tax bills to the school department for allowing a private bus company to use school property to park its buses when they are not being used for student transportation.
The bills come to about $20,000, he said.
School Business Manager Marc Furtado said the bills came as a shock because school property is city property. He said the schools don’t have the cash to cover the bills, so he asked the mayor and council to pay the bill.
While the $20,000 will go from city coffers to the school department and back to city coffers, Mayor Kevin Dumas said he has no choice but to pay the bill.
“The assessors decided to issue a bill and it has to be paid,” Dumas said, noting that taxation decisions are made solely by Nacewicz and the board of assessors.
Another public entity that gets a tax bill is the MBTA, Nacewicz said.
The publicly funded commuter rail, which owns the railroad station on Mill Street leases part of the property to a privately owned coffee shop and newsstand.