By Keith Regan, Contributing Writer
Westborough – The Board of Selectmen Oct. 28 voted to maintain a single tax rate for commercial and residential properties, saying it is a key to continuing to foster business growth in the community.
In their annual tax classification hearing with the Board of Assessors, the board voted unanimously in favor of maintaining a single tax rate. The rate for Fiscal Year 2015 will be $18.59 per $1,000 of valuation.
Chief Assessor Linda Swadel said the average residential tax bill will decrease by $90.70 from last year’s rate.
Several people spoke in favor of maintaining a single rate, including Corridor Nine Area Chamber of Commerce President Karen Chapman.
“I believe our decision to stand behind a single rate is one of the things that has allowed us to grow the town,” said Selectman Ian Johnson. “Treating them at that same level allows us to attract those businesses we want in town while also keeping residential taxes reasonable.”
Advisory Finance Committee Chair Gary Wells said while the average homeowner will see a tax decrease, taxes on commercial property will be up next year.
“The commercial side is picking up more of the tax burden already, even with a single rate,” he said.
Swadel also told the board the town would certify an excess levy capacity of $7.7 million – representing funds that could be raised through taxation but aren’t being collected. Compared to the town’s budget, that is one of the highest rates in the state, noted Selectman Tim Dodd.