SHIRLEY - The owner of a single-family home can expect an average tax increase of about $160. The good news: Your home is probably worth more.

Assessors will submit a new tax rate of $16.09 per $1,000 to the state Department of Revenue, down from $16.42 last year. The assessed value of an average single-family home is currently $309,307, up from $292,655.

That means last year's average tax bill was $4,805. This year, it will be $4,967.

At a public hearing held in joint session with the selectmen Monday night, the Board of Assessors laid out the particulars and asked the other board to sign on the dotted line, several, in fact, deciding on four items the state requires them to vote on every year.

The hearing is an annual event as well, also required by the state, and it was basically a rerun, except for the numbers.

New growth, for example, was valued at $7,497,176, which includes new construction and personal property added to the tax rolls for FY2019, and translates to an increased tax levy (over the limits of Proposition 2 1/2) of $123,104. This means more tax revenue the town can use to pay its bills, fund services and for other municipal purposes.

The amount was certified by the state in October. The checklist included four selections:

Go with a "minimum residential factor" that would put a lid on property tax rates by shifting the burden to commercial and industrial property owners or stick with the current single rate.


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Open space discount

Residential exemption

Small commercial exemption

The selectmen voted against all four selections, as the assessors recommended.

Basically, the assessors said the town is too small and with too few properties that fit the categories to make adopting the last three items worthwhile. As for the first item, changing the single rate currently in place to a split rate that shifts the tax burden to commercial and industrial property, they said that savings to homeowners would not be enough to offset the detrimental effect on businesses.

The selectmen agreed.

Although the boards did not address it at the hearing, the lower tax rate could bob back up based on the outcome of an upcoming Proposition 2 1/2 debt exclusion vote set for Dec. 11 and aimed at paying the town's share of a $7.1 million Ayer Shirley Regional School District athletic fields project. If so, the tax hike would be temporary, lasting only until the bond the school district borrows for the project is paid off.