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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.

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.