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HomeTown votes to decrease tax split between residents and businesses

Town votes to decrease tax split between residents and businesses

The new dual tax rate will pass a slight increase to homeowners as a means of keeping some of the burden off of businesses.

The Town Council voted 5-3 to approve the rate shift. The residential property would be taxed $12.79 per $1,000 of value, while commercial and industrial property rates would be $15.48 per $1,000.  In 2021, the proposed rates were $13.93 per $1000 for residences and $17.04 per $1000 for businesses.

The proposal now awaits approval from the state.

In years past, businesses would pay a larger share of the burden for the town’s tax levy set by the 2019 override.  This change marks a shift from that strategy, as residential properties will have to pay more than they did last year.

Town Councilor Patrick Reynolds said even though the burden on residential properties increased, taxes would have gone up regardless due to skyrocketing property values.

Still, Reynolds voted against the measure, arguing that homeowners would feel the squeeze of inflation and high gas prices even though their tax rates decreased.

‘While businesses are hurting due to inflation and rising fuel prices, so are homeowners,” Reynolds said.  “I think it sends a negative message to our local residents that we want to make them shoulder more of the tax burden when times are tough.”

Reynolds also said that if they kept the tax shift the same, local businesses would have still seen a decrease in their bill.

Under Massachusetts law, a town has strict limits on the amount of property tax revenue a community can raise through real and personal property taxes.  The law, known as Proposition 2 ½ refers to the 2.5 % limit on how much a levy can be increased each year.  Municipalities can hold a proposition through an election to override the 2.5 limit.  In 2019, the town voted to increase the tax levy by $6.5 million.

Town Councilwoman Andrea Slobogan, who voted in favor of the decrease, said it would help entice businesses.  By lessening the tax burden, it would help businesses pay for costs, she said.

“Between cost increases and transportation, we are trying to entice businesses to come,” Slobogan said. “It is probably a good reason they don’t come into town, so this could help.”

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