Selectmen vote in favor of single-tax classification
Date: 11/21/2011Nov. 21, 2011
By Chris Maza
Reminder Assistant Editor
WILBRAHAM The Board of Selectmen voted to approve a single tax rate for fiscal year 2012 (FY12) property taxes at its Nov. 14 meeting.
Meeting with members of the Board of Assessors (BOA), the Selectmen unanimously elected to go with the single-tax classification, which was first of three options presented by the BOA.
“The benefit of a single tax classification is that it encourages business to locate on Boston Road with a lower tax rate,” Board of Selectmen Chair Patrick Brady told Reminder Publications
. “If you look at larger communities with higher concentrations of commercial properties,you will see a higher tax rate for businesses, but in a community like Wilbraham, for every dollar you reduce the residential tax rate, you increase the commercial rates by $9.It’s a very small benefit for residents and a very large burden to place on commercial business.”
The second option was a residential exemption, which would allow the town to apply “an exemption of not more than 20 percent of the average assessed value of all residential parcels which are principal residence ... as of Jan. 1,” according to the FY12 property tax allocation information packet provided by the Board of Assessors.
Under that option, approximately 3,257 homes would have received a tax decrease, while 1,795 would receive a tax hike.
The third option was a small commercial exemption, which would exempt up to 10 percent of the value of commercial property with a valuation of less than $1 million that and are solely used for commercial purposes with less than 10 employees.
The BOA also presented what was its proposed tax rate of 18.08 for FY12. That figure has not yet been certified, but it marks a $1.42 increase in the $16.66 tax rate from FY11.
The reason for the increase, according to the assessors, was due in part to devaluation in property, specifically residential property. Thirty-two cents of the total increase is due to negative market value change in properties in town, while an extra 7 cents are due to depreciation in property value as a result of the June 1 tornado.
The largest single factor for the increase, however, was the debt exclusion for the new Minnechaug Regional High School, which accounted for 63 cents of the total increase.
The remaining 40 cents was due to the town’s other Proposition 2 1/2 overrides.