Taxes and spending dominate Shrewsbury BOS meeting
Shrewsbury – Christopher Reidy, the principal assessor for Shrewsbury, discussed the fiscal year (FY) 2013 tax rate and related items with the Board of Selectmen at its Dec. 11 meeting.
Subject to state approval, the proposed single tax rate will be $11.67 per one thousand dollars. This is an increase of $187.06 over the FY 2012 rate and is in keeping with the town’s annual increase since 2010. Total assessed value for town property is $4.78 billion, with $4.16 billion coming from residential property and the rest from commercial, industrial, and personal property. The total increased tax levy over FY 2012 is $55.8 million. The average value for a single family house declined slightly from $372,559 to $370,331, a drop of 0.6 percent.
The board noted that while the majority of single family house sales in town have most recently been largely from the lower end of the housing market, the Board of Assessors nonetheless voted for a residential tax factor of 1.00. Selectman John Lebeaux asked if an annual increase in residential property value is the norm; Reidy replied in the affirmative.
Town Manager Daniel Morgado then noted that if not for growth in residential property, the valuation for the town would be down. He asked the board to consider keeping the hearing open until the town had heard from the state that this valuation plan was acceptable. A motion was then made to continue the process until Tuesday, Dec, 18, by which time the assessor’s office expected to have heard from the state.
The meeting then turned to discussing the implications for the town under Section 9C of state law which requires the governor to cut state spending if the annual state budget is not balanced. (http://www.massbudget.org/report_window.php?loc=9CAuthority.html). The selectmen said they have already received word that there will be a reduction in local aid and educational programs. The board has contacted state Sen. Michael Moore (D-Millbury) about their concerns and the possibility of applying tax “circuit-breakers” for those home owners most adversely affected.
Selectman Moira Miller noted that the town remains on the hook for those expenditures mandated by the state whether there is money to pay for them or not. Lebeaux concurred and added that an additional small drop in state aid will have a major effect upon Shrewsbury as aid is already cumulatively far below what mandated programs have already cost the town since 2009. Selectman Henry Fitzgerald noted that special education stands out as a mandated program that is chronically under-funded. The board’s chair, Maurice DePalo then asked if the board wished to send a letter to the governor voicing their concerns, noting that as bad as 2013 cuts will be, those for 2014 will be even more egregious. The Board voted unanimously to send such a letter.
In other matters, the Board discussed 2013 common victualler’s and alcoholic beverage license renewals and noted that no renewals will be issued unless fees are paid in full with renewal applications b
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