Westborough to keep single tax rate

Westborough to keep single tax rate

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Westborough to keep single tax rateWestborough to keep single tax rate
Westborough’s Town Hall is located at 34 West Main Street. The town will maintain a single tax rate of $16.41 for fiscal 2024. (Photo/Laura Hayes)

WESTBOROUGH – The town has decided to maintain a single tax rate.

During the Select Board tax classification public hearing on Nov. 28, Town Assessor Jonathan  Steinberg presented the latest figures on residential, commercial and industrial property values.

Factoring in new growth, debt exclusion and levy capacity, Steinberg said the total valuation for fiscal 2024 is $5,751,717,385 – about $469 million, or 8.8%, over last year.

He said the estimated single tax rate for the 2024 fiscal year would be $16.41 per thousand, or $0.43 over the 2023 fiscal year.

Steinberg added that property values have risen – 9.03% for residential, 4.3% for commercial, 4.58% for industrial and 22.90% for personal property.

For the average single-family homeowner, that means the property value would rise from $656,738 in fiscal 2023 to $711,740, with the average tax bill rising by $621 to $11,680.

For the average commercial property owner, the property value has risen 3.36% to $2,373,389; the average tax bill would increase by $278 to $38,947.

The average industrial property value would increase 5.93%, to $4,017,856; the tax bill would increase to $65,933, or 3.22%.

Residential taxes cover about 70% of the town’s levy, with commercial and industrial taxes covering about 23% and personal property the remaining 7.45%.

Steinberg said that new growth – mainly from residential developments – has generated an additional $3 million in taxes for the town.

Discussion on split tax rate

While splitting the tax rate would lead to a break for homeowners, shifting more of the tax burden on commercial and industrial property owners could lead to problems in the long run.

“It sends the wrong message to local businesses,” said Karen Chapman, president and CEO of the 9/495 Regional Chamber of Commerce. “We urge you to keep the single tax rate.”

Several speakers said the commercial sector is hurting, with companies using less office space, leading to a decline in rent being collected.

Add to that additional costs coming from the town’s new stormwater utility program, as well as from the town’s Community Preservation Act, and a split tax rate becomes even less appealing.

Several Select Board members said they would like to keep the single rate, and encourage more commercial development and growth.

“Shifting would only make it worse,” said board member Ian Johnson.

“We need to be focusing on commercial development and growth,” said board member Shelby Marshall. “I have a grave concern over the split tax rate…”

The board voted to maintain the single rate, with a single residential factor of 1. It also voted not to add any residential or commercial exemptions.

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