By Vicki Greene, Contributing Writer
Marlborough – The City Council recently held a tax classification public hearing and approved recommendations from the Board of Assessors, Mayor Arthur G. Vigeant and city finance officials to continue a split rate with a residential property tax rate for single-family homes of $14.18 per $1,000 of assessed value; up slightly (3.24 percent from 2019). The rate for commercial, industrial and personal property (CIP) is also up slightly to $25.22 per $1,000 of assessed value as certified by the state.
According to city documents, the average single-family homeowner’s tax bill will total $5,444 based on an average single-family property value of $383,913.
“We’re really trying to make sure we don’t put the burden on the taxpayers,” said Vigeant. “The city of Marlborough has no school fees, no trash pick-up fees and our taxes remain the lowest of surrounding communities.
City documents show Marlborough’s increase still keeps the single-family residential tax rate lower than Berlin, Framingham, Hudson, Natick, Southborough and Sudbury.
The Marlborough Chamber of Commerce spoke in favor of the balance of the split rate with the commercial tax rate increasing an average 5.89 percent and industrial properties up an average 11.44 percent.
“Over the last four years we’ve seen a 27 percent increase in our city’s value,” Vigeant noted. “That’s very strong.”
The city’s value affects the city’s bond rating which affects borrowing rates for future bonds. Total property value stands at $6 billion for fiscal year (FY) 2020.
Tax rates directly correlate to the city’s tax levy (the amount of property taxes to be raised each year after looking at the approved city budget minus revenue from municipal fees, state aid and other sources).
Councilor Michael Ossing reminded the Council that “next year’s budget discussion is going to be challenging with the new school opening and union contracts expiring in June 2021.”
Operational costs for the new elementary school will factor into next year’s budget and tax classification as well as bonds/interest for the new library and new fire stations.
“It is my opinion that the city has to continue to funding new projects like the three new approved downtown developments, recently approved Avalon Bay expansion and adult communities including Crowley Drive,” Ossing said.
Outgoing Council Vice President Joseph Delano echoed Ossing’s concern.
“We (the current City Council) haven’t had to say no to many things (new projects),” he said. “It’s been a good year but next year there will be a new City Council and the majority won’t be used to the difficult times.”
The commercial/industrial tax value share for FY2020 is just over 32 percent and Councilor Mark Oram emphasized “that we have a variety of top 10 commercial taxpayers.”
The top ten real estate taxpayers for FY2019 included TJX Companies, Inc., Hines Global REIT, Boston Scientific, MTP Equity Partners LLC, Avalon Marlborough LLC, the Solomon Pond Mall LLC, Stonegate Apartments, Apex (Walker Realty), Sunovion Pharmaceuticals and Raytheon.
The average tax rates for condominiums, and multi-family properties are also increasing for FY2020. Condominium owners will see a $245 increase, two-families an increase of $237 and three-families an average increase of $279.
According to the Board of Assessors office, the state Department of Revenue has approved the city’s proposed rates and property tax bills will be mailed out around the first of the year.
Assessed property values for FY2020 can be found on the city’s website, www.marlborough-ma.gov.