Treasurer/Collector

Notice to all Holders of City of Somerville Minibonds Regarding Neighborly Securities (“Neighborly”) Customer Accounts – November 19, 2019 Update

The City of Somerville was made aware that Neighborly Securities is going out of business and in an attempt to notify its customers, sent the following e-mail message to account holders on November 12, 2019. The City of Somerville is actively working to identify additional information to provide to Somerville Minibond Holders. Updates will be added to this page as they become available.

There will be no interruption of payments by the City of principal and interest on the minibonds. Funds are being held in customer accounts by Pershing LLC for the benefit of the minibond owners and the minibond owner accounts are insured through the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (“SIPC”) for up to $500,000 per account.

Though there will be no interruption of payments by the City, it is imperative that you act upon the following Neighborly e-mail immediately to avoid your account being orphaned and subsequently incurring unnecessary fees. 

Should you require assistance or have questions or concerns, please contact City Treasurer Linda Dubuque at her direct line (617) 625-6600 x-3510 or by e-mail [email protected]. Please also feel free to stop by the treasury department in City Hall.

Neighborly

Due to a recent change in circumstances, paperwork has been filed to close Neighborly Securities.

During this transition, your accounts continue to be fully held and custodied at Pershing, LLC ("Pershing"). However, you need to transfer your holdings to an external brokerage by December 27th.

The transfer process is known as an ACAT (Automated Customer Account Transfer). To complete this transfer, you should reach out to the new firm, (many have a specific ACAT department), send them the account information they request, and then they will complete the process on their end.

If you complete this process in 30 calendar days (by December 12th), any ACAT/transfer fees will be waived. If you do not complete the transfer within this timeframe, a $65 transfer fee may apply. If you do not transfer your account to a new brokerage, the account will become "orphaned"—this means Pershing will provide liquidation only services to assist in closing your account, and your account may be subject to additional fees.

If you don’t already have another brokerage account, you can check in with your local bank to see if they support securities holdings.

We’re grateful for your support and hope that you continue to make investments in the places you live and care about.

We are committed to ensuring a seamless transition for our clients and are available to answer any questions you have regarding this process.

Best,

Daniel Kupratis

CEO

For access to your monthly/quarterly statements, you can continue to log in at neighborly.com and sign into your account with your credentials.

For any account or servicing related inquiries, please contact [email protected] and someone will promptly respond back, or you may call 866-432-1170.

Securities offered through Neighborly Securities, Member FINRA, SIPC and registered with MSRB. Always consider your investment objectives before investing. Learn more at https://neighborly.com/terms. You received this email as a registered user of Neighborly. If you'd no longer like to receive emails from us, click here.

2019 Neighborly Corporation

Neighborly FAQs and Helpful Information

Neighborly contact information:

email [email protected]
telephone (866) 432-1170

If you received an email from Neighborly, you likely have purchased Somerville Minibonds with a Neighborly account that you created at the time of purchase. (Residents could purchase Minibonds by either opening a Neighborly account or by using their own non-Neighborly broker-dealer.) Neighborly is going out of business. Neighborly is informing you that you’ll need to transfer your Neighborly account to another broker-dealer by December 12, 2019. The last day to transfer your Neighborly account is December 27, 2019.

Yes, your money is safe. There will be no interruption of payments by the City of principal and interest on the Minibonds. These funds are being held in customer accounts by Pershing LLC, a custodian, for the benefit of the Minibond owners. Also, Minibond owner accounts are insured through the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (“SIPC”) for up to $500,000 per account.

Neighborly tells us that if you transfer by December 12, 2019, there is no charge. After December 12, 2019 a $65.00 fee will be charged (this is an ACA/Transfer fee). The City is trying to have these fees reduced or removed, but please note that there is no guarantee that these charges will be changed.

Residents had the option of buying Somerville Minibonds by either opening a Neighborly account or by using their own non-Neighborly broker-dealer. If you do not have a Neighborly account, then your account is not affected by Neighborly going out of business and you do not need to take any action.

Fortunately, we have heard from other Minibond holders that transferring your Minibond account can be done relatively easily. The first step is to identify a new broker-dealer. There are a number of broker-dealers in Somerville and the surrounding area, and the bank where you have your checking or savings accounts may be able to provide broker-dealer services or otherwise assist you. We have been told that many broker-dealers charge no fee to set up an account and have no minimum dollar amount for deposit.

Neighborly has informed us that once you set up an account with your new broker-dealer, you should tell your new broker-dealer that you wish to transfer your Neighborly account to your new account. Have your Neighborly monthly statement or Neighborly account number available and bring a photo ID. It may be helpful to bring the Neighborly email notice as well. This transfer process is called ACAT (Automated Customer Account Transfer).

No, the City is not legally allowed to give any sort of financial advice. There are a number of broker-dealers in Somerville and the surrounding area, and the bank where you have your checking or savings account may be able to provide broker-dealer services or otherwise assist you.

For access to your monthly statements, until December 27, 2019, you can continue to login at www.neighborly.com and sign into your account with your credentials. Your monthly statement from Neighborly includes helpful information about your account. 

After December 27, 2019, Neighborly will no longer exist and your account will be held by Pershing LLC, a custodial agent, as an “orphaned” account. This means that the only service Pershing is able to provide is to sell your Minibonds or transfer them to another broker-dealer if you call and instruct them to do so. At this time, it hasn’t been decided what fees, if any, might apply to an orphaned account, and the City is working to have any potential fees reduced or removed for a period after December 27, 2019 (a grace period). Please note that there is no guarantee that these charges will be changed. Pershing’s telephone number is (201) 413-3333.

Yes, you can sell your Minibonds before December 27, 2019 by contacting Neighborly and telling them that you want to sell your Minibonds. Neighborly will be able to further assist you with any questions you may have regarding selling and/or pricing your Minibonds. Neighborly can be reached by email at [email protected] or by telephone at (866) 432-1170. After December 27, 2019 you can sell your Minibonds by contacting Pershing at (201) 413-3333.

Neighborly tells us that the new broker is required to initiate and submit the transfer and that once the transfer is submitted it takes up to 3 business days for the process to be completed.

Yes, you can call Linda Dubuque at (617) 625-6600 x3510 or email her at [email protected].

 

PLEASE NOTE:

  • Neighborly is not affiliated with the City of Somerville in any way, other than as the broker-dealer for the sale of Somerville Minibonds.
  • The information that we are providing comes from Neighborly or Pershing.
  • The City wants to be as helpful as possible to its resident Minibond holders, but the City cannot legally recommend any financial institutions or give any financial advice. If you don’t have a financial advisor, the bank where you have your checking or savings accounts may be able to help you. Some banks also have a broker-dealer division.

About the Treasurer/Collector's Office

The primary function of the Treasurer/Collector’s Office is to preserve, protect and manage the financial resources of the City. The Treasurer/Collector is responsible for receipt, accurate accounting, and prudent investment of all City funds in order to maximize yields while maintaining adequate liquidity and ensuring compliance with Massachusetts General Laws, City of Somerville ordinances, and any other applicable financial mandates.

The Treasurer/Collector is also responsible for negotiating all municipal borrowings (both short and long term), collecting committed taxes (Real Estate, Personal Property, and Auto Excise), and providing prompt and courteous assistance to the taxpayers and residents of the City.

  • Make Payments

  • Refund Policy

  • MLC Request Fee Schedule

  • Newly Developed Condominiums

  • Delinquent Tax Payment Information

  • Is Your Payment Missing?

  • Frequently Asked Questions

Visit somervillema.gov/Payments to:

  • Pay parking tickets
  • Pay tax bills
  • Pay library fees
  • And more

Real Estate and Personal Property Tax Credits

At the end of the Fiscal Year (July 1 – June 30) credits on real estate tax or personal property tax bills will be refunded automatically to the January 1 record owner as appearing on the tax bill. Credits do not move forward to the next fiscal year.

Typically refunds are not issued during the fiscal year as more bills will be forthcoming (due dates are Aug 1, Nov 1, Feb 1 and May 1) and overpayments will roll forward to the next bill, however, if a hardship is created, a refund may issue provided the City is supplied with proof of payment, and provided there are no other outstanding taxes or water bills due and payable to the City from any other year or on any other property owned by the taxpayer.

Check copies, both front and back, are required to ensure that payments made to your account were made by you, or made by your bank or mortgage company on your behalf. To guard against mistakes made by third parties applying payments to the wrong accounts, City policy requires check copy review to ensure refunds (or transfers) are issued to the party that made payment.

A written request for a refund must be accompanied by canceled check copies or other acceptable proof of payment. If a mortgage company made payment, obtain a copy of their canceled check along with the disbursement sheets that accompany the payment. If you paid by cash, receipt copies must be provided.

Your letter of request must include your name, the property address, the Parcel ID number and your signature. Provide a current mailing address and telephone number and submit to: City of Somerville Treasury, 93 Highland Ave., Somerville, MA 02143, or email to [email protected]

If the credit was caused by an abatement or tax exemption, a refund will automatically issue at the end of the fiscal year to the January 1 record owner as it appears on the tax bill. If the property transfers during the fiscal year, the date of transfer may determine refund eligibility; however, such matters should be handled at closing.

Motor Vehicle Excise Tax Credits

If an abatement causes a credit balance a refund will issue automatically. Contact the assessing department for additional abatement information: (617) 625 6600, ext. 3100 or e-mail: [email protected].

Water Bill Credits

In most cases, a water bill credit balance will not result in a refund because it will roll forward to the next bill. If the property is sold, best practice dictates a final water read and the issue should be handled at closing. If a water credit balance will not be depleted within two billing cycles, the property owner may request a refund. Submit refund request with proof of payment to:

 City of Somerville Treasury, 93 Highland Ave., Somerville, MA 02143, or email [email protected]

MLC Amounts

 
Use Code
Amount
Description
 
101 $60.00 Single Family Residence (Condo Not Included)  
102 $60.00 Residential Condo  
104 $60.00 Two Family Residence  
105 $60.00 Three Family Residence  
106 $60.00 Land Improved (Shed or Garage)  
109 $60.00 Multi Homes on One Lot  
111 $200.00 Four through Eight Family Residence  
  $250.00 Four through Eight Family Residence with Store Front  
112 $250.00 Apartment (More Than 8 Units)  
013-0413 $250.00 Mixed Use Residence/Commercial  
130-132 $60.00 Residential Land/Lot  
300-389 $250.00 Commercial and Commercial Condo  
390-393 $250.00 Commercial  
400-433 $250.00 Industrial  
  $60.00 Vacant Land/Lot  
440-442 $250.00 Commercial Lot/Land  
  $60.00 Condo Main Bldg. Divided into Indiv. Condo  
  $60.00 Condo Parking Space  
710-722 $60.00 Agricultural/Horticultural Land  
900-906 $60.00 Tax Exempt Property  
  $60.00 Tax Exempt (Chap. 121A)  
       
Fiscal Year July 1 to June 30
1st Quarter   July 1st through Sept. 30 Estimated RE Taxes
2nd Quarter   Oct. 1 through Dec. 31 Estimated RE Taxes
3rd Quarter   Jan. 1 through March 31 Actual RE Taxes - Lien for unpaid water & sewer and/or tickets gets added to 3rd Q bill
4th Quarter   April 1 through June 30 Actual RE Taxes - $18.00 demand fee gets added when bill is not 
                                paid on time

 

If you recently purchased a newly developed condominium, the assessing department may not have split the master parcel into individual condominium units. This means the entire building may be sharing one (1) real estate tax bill. Copies of tax bills are available on our website somervillema.gov at the “pay a bill” link.

It is your collective responsibility as an association to work together to ensure the shared master parcel tax account has a zero balance at each quarterly due date in order to avoid interest, fees, and a possible tax taking on the building. Fiscal year due dates are Aug 1, Nov 1, Feb 1 and May 1. Bills are issued one month before the due date.  If back taxes are owed, seek legal advice.  See our FAQS for more billing and collection information.  

A Unit Deed and the Condominium Master Deed should state the percentage interest of each unit in the common areas. Typically tax payments are based on the proportionate interest the condominium unit has in the master deed. 

If a mortgage company pays your taxes, inform them of your percentage interest in the master parcel to ensure they pay only your portion of the tax bill and not the bill for the whole parcel.  If you or your mortgage company overpaid in one quarter, deduct that overpayment from the amount you owe in the next quarter.  Inform your neighbors of same.  Please work together as a condominium association to ensure a zero balance throughout the fiscal year. 

When paying taxes under the master parcel's account number keep accurate records of all of your payments. Parcel ID and unit number should be on the front of your check. Mail payment to:  City of Somerville Treasury, 93 Highland Avenue, Somerville MA  02143. Payments sent to the lockbox service (P.O. Box 197) must be accompanied by a bill copy or they cannot be processed.

If you paid with your bank’s on-line banking and your payment is not credited to your account within two weeks, a written request for research must be accompanied by a copy of the canceled check, both front and back.  Your online transaction with your bank produces a paper check that is submitted to our office without a remit slip indicating the proper account to which it should be posted.  The paper check is posted manually to the “bill number” you provided in the “Account” field.  Fax, mail or e-mail us the copy.  Please consider making future payments via City’s website, as it is safe and secure:  www.somervillema.gov/payments 

If you paid by check, a copy of the cancelled check must be provided along with a letter of request that we research your misapplied payment.  Fax, mail or e-mail us the cancelled check copy.

If you paid by cash, the original receipt (copies not accepted) from your cash transaction must be provided along with a letter of request that we research your misapplied payment.  It is best not to mail the original receipt, so it does not get lost in the mail. 

If your mortgage company claims they paid, a copy of their cancelled check, front and back, along with the disbursement sheets including totals page, should be submitted to our office with a letter of request for research. 

If charges have been incurred, they will be reviewed on a case by case basis. See the frequently asked questions on this page for more information.

Thank you for your cooperation. 
With kind regards,
Treasury Department

When are taxes due?

The City of Somerville is on a quarterly tax system and taxes are due 4 times per year. Tax due dates are August, November, February and May 1st. If the first falls on a weekend or holiday, taxes are due the following business day. 

What is the period covered in the Fiscal Year?

Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19): July 1, 2018 and ends June 30th, 2019.

What are the monthly periods covered by the tax bill?

  • The bill due August 1st  (quarter 1) covers July 1st through September 30th. (Preliminary Tax bill)
  • The bill due November 1st (quarter 2) covers October 1st through December 31st. (Preliminary Tax bill)
  • The bill due February 1st (quarter 3) covers January 1st through March 31st. (Real Estate Tax bill)
  • The bill due May 1st (quarter 4) covers April 1st through June 30th. (Real Estate Tax bill)

What is a Preliminary Tax?

Preliminary tax bills are estimated bills. The estimate is based on the actual net tax bill of the previous fiscal year. The preliminary tax is due in two installments (August and November). Formula: Actual for previous FY x 2.5% = X. (Actual + X) divided by 4.

What is Real Estate Tax?

Real estate tax is the actual tax for the Fiscal Year. In December, the Assessing Department assesses the tax for the year and the amounts paid on the Preliminary bills are subtracted from the tax. The RE tax is due in two installments (February and May).

Do you accept postmarks for payment date receipt?

No. Bills are considered paid when received by the Treasurer. Postmark dates on envelopes are not accepted as the date of payment. All payments are to be received by the Treasury office by the due date. Late payments will incur interest/penalties.

What are the interest rates for past due bills?

Real Estate, Personal Property, and Water outstanding balances are subject to 14% interest according to Massachusetts General Law Chapter 59, sections 57 and 57C. The Tax Title interest rate is 16% under Massachusetts General Law Chapter 60, section 62. Excise interest rate is 12% under MGL 60A, section 2. 

How do I change or update my billing address?

The Assessing Department maintains the tax bill mailing address database. The Water department maintains the water bill mailing address database. Contact each respective department for their requirements. Treasury does not maintain mailing address databases. Do not send address changes with your payment. 

Can I pay my bills by phone?

No, but you can pay online at the city’s website: www.somervillema.gov/PayOnline  

What if a payment check is returned?

If payment is returned for non-sufficient funds a $25.00 fee will be applied to the account, If said payment exceeds $2,500.00, a 1% fee will be put to the account per Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 60, section 57A.

What if I did not receive a tax bill?

Failure to receive your property tax bill does not excuse you from payment of taxes, or from the interest and fees that accrue on the outstanding balance(s). A tax bill is generated and mailed for every parcel in the City. It is the responsibility of the property owner to pay taxes regardless of receipt of a bill. Contact the Treasury Department to have a duplicate bill mailed to you. By operation of law, the name of the record owner as of January 1 of the previous fiscal year must be on the tax bill. New property owners can have their name added to the bill (shows as “c/o” on the bill) by contacting the Assessing Department [email protected]

My mortgage company pays my taxes, why did you send me a bill?

A tax bill is generated for every parcel in the City. Please note that mortgage companies typically take tax payment funds from your escrow account a month before the tax due date in order to pay your taxes on time. Look at your mortgage statements a month before the tax due date and compare it with the amount the city has billed you. Mortgage companies and tax servicing companies receive an electronic file from the City, they choose the accounts they wish to pay upon and return the marked file to the city with their remittance. The city posts the file, updating the real estate tax accounts as paid. 

I sold my property and still received a real estate tax bill. What should I do?

By operation of law, the name of the owner of record as of January 1 will appear on the tax bill for the next fiscal year (4 bills per fiscal year). If you sold your property on a date that is close to a tax due date, verify that your mortgage company did not make a tax payment on your behalf in addition to the closing attorney that handled the sale. The new owner should contact the Assessing Department to have his/her name and address “added” to the tax bill in the “c/o” field of the address for the remainder of the Fiscal Year. You may return the bill to the City, forward it to the new owner, or discard the bill. The Treasury Department/Tax Collector’s Office does not maintain the tax bill address database as this is an Assessing Department function.