Westborough – Westborough will continue to keep a single tax rate, a move officials feel will help the town be competitive as it tries to attract more businesses.
In a presentation to the Board of Selectmen at its Nov. 27 meeting, Chief Assessor Linda Swadel reviewed the draft tax recap. The tax rate for fiscal year (FY) 2013 is $18.97; a decrease of 24 cents from the FY12 rate of $19.21.
In notes accompanying her presentation Swadel noted that the average single family value has increased from $405,500 to $420,000 or 3.6 percent. The average commercial/industrial value has increased from $1,956,800 to $1,983,700 or 1.3 percent. Even with the reduction in the tax rate, the average single family bill will increase by $183.44; the average commercial/industrial tax bill will increase by $40.09.
It was important to remember, Swadel told the selectmen, that although the report was based on an average home value or average commercial/industrial value, an average value is not truly the most accurate indicator when evaluating how the tax rate impacts an individual property's tax bill. Averages are not really accurate numbers for any class of property, she said, rather they are ?a representation of the total value of the class divided by the number of parcels within the class.
“The tax bills for some higher end homes went down,” she added. “Some condos went up and some went down.”
There was very little real estate new growth, Swadel noted. Most of the $93.5 million in new growth valuation – $86.8 million – was from the personal property class.
Town Manager Jim Malloy told the board that “it really was the first time in several years that commercial and residential values were going up.”
Last year, the town had approximately 18 foreclosures; this year that number appears to be trending down, Swadel said.
Barbara Clifford, the president of the Corridor Nine Area Chamber of Commerce, spoke in favor of the town keeping a single tax rate.
“It's good for the business community,” she said. “It puts Westborough in an enviable position. It's a better draw to have a single tax rate. This gives you an opportunity to grow.”
Other municipalities that Westborough is often in competition with to attract or retain businesses, such as Marlborough and Framingham, currently have dual tax rates, she noted.
The board unanimously agreed to retain the single tax rate.