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The Selectmen were pleased to hear that the value of the town has increased and the tax rate decreased.

Cheshire's Fiscal 2019 Tax Rate Down 6 Percent

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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CHESHIRE, Mass. — The tax rate is projected to decrease from $13.06 to $12.29 per $1,000 valuation in fiscal 2019.
The Selectmen held the annual tax classification hearing Tuesday with the Board of Assessors and were pleasantly surprised to hear that new growth in town has sent the tax rate south with an almost 6 percent decrease.
"You leave me speechless," Selectwoman Carol Francesconi said. "That is good for Cheshire that is very good for Cheshire … I think that is fantastic."
The board quickly voted to accept a single tax rate and asked Assessor Barbara Astorino what she attributed to this decrease.
"The scary thing is I don't know what we did," Selectman Robert Ciskowski said. "What was it?"
Astorino said there was an overall increase in town valuation of $10,409,622, of which $2,330,299 is new growth. 
"Residential values have increased with a 5 percent building cost adjustment and that was totally necessary ... sales were high because we increased the building cost adjustment so that value went up so the tax rate went down," Astorino said. "How that will reflect on the tax bills I don't know at this point.
"I am not saying it will be a wash, but at least it probably won't be as high if the tax rate was higher and we increased the values."
She said this new growth has come from a combination of new construction, additions, and renovations.
This new growth has left the town with $319,403.51 in excess levy capacity that Town Administrator Mark Webber was happy to hear.
"You are now back to the glory days we were at our levy limit for a long long time," he said. "This is very comfortable."
Astorino said a split tax rate would come out with a residential rate of $11.70 per $1,000 valuation and a commercial rate of $18.43.
She did not want to guess what the average single home was assessed at but last year the average home was valued around $200,000. This would mean the average tax bill would be $2,458.

Tags: property taxes,   tax classification,   

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'It's A Wonderful Life' Radio Play Being Staged in Cheshire

This particular production is intended to be "script-in-hand," a full reading/performance of a play where the actors are allowed to have their scripts in their hands so lines need not be memorized.

CHESHIRE, Mass. — The Cheshire Community Association will present a community production of the Frank Capra family classic "It’s a Wonderful Life," adapted by Tony Palermo, at Tuesday, December 17, at 7 p.m. in the Parish Hall of St. Mary of the Assumption Parish at 159 Church St.

Brought to the stage as a 1940s radio broadcast in front of a studio audience, a dozen actors play radio dramatists, who, in turn, portray 30 characters from the heart-warming holiday film. Featuring live sound effects and an original score, this is a rare opportunity to see how a 1940s radio show was produced.

Producer/director Marya LaRoche has put together a cast of acting newcomers and seasoned veterans, featuring Simon Cole as George Bailey, Tommy Towne as Clarence, Elizabeth Kozik as Superintendent of Angels, Casey McShain as Mary Hatch Bailey, Travis Mille as Radio Announcer/Uncle Billy, and Shevaun Keogh-Walker as Potter, along with Curtis Elfenbein Asch, Mary Lou Burdick, Michael Morin Garrity, Patricia Kelly, Tyne LaRoche, and Larry Leavitt covering multiple roles.

This particular production is intended to be "script-in-hand," a full reading/performance of a play where the actors are allowed to have their scripts in their hands so lines need not be memorized. The director will utilize blocking, limited costumes, props and sound effects to create a performance experience for the audience.

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