SHREWSBURY – The Select Board held its tax classification hearing on Oct. 24. During the hearing, the board adopted a tax rate of $12.39 for fiscal 2024.
According to a presentation by Principal Assessor Ruth Anderson, the average bill for single-family households in Shrewsbury is expected to be $8,268.05. The average single-family bill will increase by $471.40, or 6.05% over last year.
“Like previous years, our average single-family home value [was] right near the top of the list, but our tax rate and average single-family tax bill were the lowest,” said Anderson.
According to the presentation to the Select Board, the increased tax rate is driven by the increasing value of property in town. Single-family homes in Shrewsbury have increased in value by an average of $73,000 since last year. Overall values in Shrewsbury have increased by $2.2 billion since 2021.
The Select Board also voted to maintain the town’s single tax rate. The board had the opportunity to adopt a “split tax rate”, which would have had commercial businesses in town pay more of the tax levy. Under a single tax rate, residential and commercial properties will pay the same tax rate.
The Select Board also rejected two possible tax exemptions.
The town could have granted an exemption of “up to 35% of the assessed value of residential properties that are used as the owner’s principal residence.” The exemption would’ve shifted the tax burden to higher-value homes in the community.
The town also could have adopted an exemption of up to 10% for property occupied by small businesses — or businesses with less than 10 employees — valued at less than $1 million. The exemption would have shifted the tax burden to larger corporations. The tax credit would go to the owner of the property — not the business owner.
“Someone who is hearing this for the first time might question why the board might choose not to grant that small business exemption,” said Select Board Chair Beth Casavant, noting that properties like Bank of America have less than 10 employees.
“We’re thinking about the Shrewsbury Country Shoppe, but it would actually end up applying to the banks and other sorts of corporations, where it isn’t directly impacting the ‘small business owner’ in the way we would think of it,” she said.
Anderson noted that “if you’re looking to benefit the pizza shop and the local dentist… [the tax credit] doesn’t necessarily help them unless the landlord trickles it down.”
The town has not adopted either exemption in the past.
Anderson provided extensive information on the town’s tax rate. To watch the Select Board’s meeting, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3pQOHilK-c.