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SHIRLEY — Last week’s Special Town Meeting adjourned with a single item of business left undone. The final warrant article, which sought acceptance of Derby Drive as a town road, couldn’t be voted on because of a seven-day waiting period required for filing certain documents.

The meeting was continued to Monday, Nov. 17, preceding the selectmen’s meeting.

Monday night, about 23 people, at least half of whom were Derby Drive residents, attended part two of the STM. The number comes from an unofficial count at the door and the hand-counted vote for the measure, announced by Town Moderator Enrico Cappucci.

With both the Planning Board and the selectmen supporting the acceptance of the road, the Finance Committee also recommended favorable action on the motion.

It passed unanimously with no discussion.

After several years, during which developer Rick Hayes continued to catch up on unmet conditions that are now up to date, Derby Drive is finally a public way.

Single Tax Rate Retained, Bills to Rise

In the meeting of selectmen, the board held its annual Tax Classification Hearing prior to setting the town’s tax rate for fiscal year 2015, voting unanimously for the Assessor’s recommendation to “adopt a Residential Factor of 1,” maintaining a single tax rate.

Another option would be to adopt a split tax rate, shifting some of the tax burden from residential to commercial taxpayers. But according to Principal Assessor Rebecca Boucher, who gave a short Power Point presentation Monday night, that wouldn’t be a wise move right now.

Boucher presented figures and percentages to make her point. She said that with very few businesses compared to residences in town, commercial rates would have to rise substantially to realize a relatively small tax reduction for homeowners.

In other words, a tax shift wouldn’t be worth it, given that the town needs commercial growth and wants to encourage it, Boucher said. To make the split worthwhile, the town would need $120 million in new growth over the next 10 years, she said.

She also said property taxes will go up.

Based on the town’s total annual property tax levy, the assessed value of which is $569,549,658; legal limits imposed by Proposition 2 and a half and items Town Meeting has agreed to pay for from taxation, the new tax rate, which is still an estimate until approved by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, rolls out to $17.31 per $1,000 of assessed value, Boucher said. Last year’s rate was $16.75.

On an “average” single-family home valued at $265,000, the new tax rate translates to an increase of $231.73, or 5.5 percent over last year. Most of the increase — 70 percent — results from debt repayment for the Ayer Shirley Regional School District high school building project, or about $164.08 on the average tax bill, Boucher said.