By K.B. Sherman, Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – New property tax rates were presented by the Assessor’s Office to the Shrewsbury Board of Selectmen for approval Nov. 10. According to the presentation, class rates would be kept at just one and the rate will be $13/1,000, down from $13.20/1,000. However, private property valuations will rise about 5 percent, meaning that the average tax bill will be based upon an increase from $381,000 to $398,000. On average, the average quarterly tax bill will increase.
The plan includes four additional recommendations/qualifications: that all properties stay in the same category; that there will be no open space discount; that there will be no residential exemptions as is the case in vacation areas such as Cape Cod; and that small commercial exemptions not be granted for properties valued under $1 million.
The board asked for public comment but there was none. The hearing was closed and the recommendations were accepted unanimously.
In a general discussion about the economy, Town Manager Daniel Morgado counseled continued conservatism regarding town spending and planning, to which the board agreed. Henry Fitzgerald noted that Shrewsbury always seems to be just a step or two ahead of the next financial problem, despite planning. Morgado noted that spending on healthcare for town employees remained an ongoing problem, as was school budgeting. Chair Moira Miller remarked on the “fragile stability” characterized by the town’s continuing financial circumstances, although last year’s operational override did take a bit of the pressure off. The discussion ended with remarks concerning the possibilities for financial relief that can come from regionalization of some functions.