By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Northborough – A public hearing with the Board of Assessors was held at the Board of Selectmen’s Nov. 6 meeting to discuss tax classifications in advance of setting the tax rate for FY18.
Town Administrator John Coderre explained that the tax classifications are allowed for communities who choose to have different classes of property. They are Residential, Open Space, Commercial, Industrial and Personal Property (CIP). Essentially, establishing different classifications is a policy decision to artificially shift the tax burden from one class to another, yielding no additional tax revenue.
Northborough has seen $33.5 million of new growth in FY2018. Overall values are up, and total valuation of the town is up from $2.69 to $2.79 billion and is split between residential at 74.9 percent and CIP at 25.1 percent of the assessed property values.
According to Coderre, “Northborough is holding steady.”
Coderre reported that there hasn’t been any substantial new residential growth and the bulk of the commercial growth can be attributed to Phase II of the Northborough Crossing development. He further explained that Northborough has not seen lately the kind of growth that it experienced in 2012-2013. Retail and restaurants have been and still are good areas of growth.
The average single-family home has increased from $408,000 in FY17 to $422,078 in FY2018. The tax rate per thousand dollars is proposed to remain at $17.39. The impact to the homeowner is expected to be $242.
Northborough’s Principal Assessor Dan Brogie further explained the tax rate options and their implications. The primary question before the board at this meeting was whether or not to adopt a split tax rate. He explained that there is no additional revenue raised by adopting this format. It would only shift the tax burden from residential to commercial.
Brogie also briefly touched upon residential and commercial exemptions within those two classifications but advised against doing so because, again, this approach merely shifts the burden within those classifications. Overall, the Board of Assessors recommended to maintain the single tax rate.
“If you look at the period of 2012-2013 and the significant commercial growth, a good part of that was because of the single tax rate. It allowed us to go out and recruit and it was a huge selling point,” remarked Selectman Jeff Amberson. The rest of the board agreed.
Selectman Jason Perreault shared letters in support of the single tax rate from Corridor Nine Chamber of Commerce and Northborough Industrial Commission.
He said, “It’s a fairness issue to some extent.”
The board unanimously voted to uphold Northborough’s single tax rate.