Lawsuit alleges Springfield undervalues property containing billboards, cell towers

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A group of plaintiffs claims the City of Springfield is undervaluing properties containing billboards and cell towers to give tax breaks to owners. They are suing and claim the city is losing $1.2 million in revenue.

Springfield City Assessor Richard Allen declined to comment, citing the pending litigation. He referred 22News to the city’s Law Department, where we talked to Deputy City Solicitor Lisa DeSousa. She said they use a formula approved by the Department of Revenue to determine the full and fair market value of billboard and cell tower properties.

Springfield is accused of giving tax breaks to ‘certain’ property owners

“In the simplest terms, we value the land,” DeSousa explained. “We value the cost of the structure, whether it is the tower or the billboard, and we value the income that the land owners get from the sign company or the wireless provider.”

DeSousa went on to say that they are bound by Proposition 2 ½ on the amount of taxes they can collect. She also noted that billboards with two sides or special features would be assessed at a higher value than those with just one side.