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.
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Hoosac Elementary Principal Invites Selectmen to Be Guests for a Day
By Jeff SnoonianiBerkshires Staff
Principal Becky Sawyer invites the Selectmen to see a day in the life of students and faculty at Hoosac Valley Elementary.
CHESHIRE, Mass. — The Selectmen were invited to spend some time at Hoosac Valley Elementary School in Adams.
Principal Becky Sawyer attended the board's Tuesday's meeting to issue the invitation to spend a day with the staff and students. Sawyer sees it as a way to not only get to familiarize themselves with the staff but also to see how the town's largest expenditure is being utilized.
"I know the school district occupies such a large percentage of your budget and I feel like it's only fair to let you come see what we're spending it on. What good work is being done with what we are getting [from the town]," Sawyer told the board. "We'd like to have our third-graders give a public tour of the building, and then ... have you shadow a teacher, and then we would invite you to have lunch and recess with our children.
"Which I can tell you is the best part of the day. It's the most fun that I have."
The Green Team is a state educational program designed to empower students and teachers to help the environment through waste reduction, recycling, composting, energy conservation and pollution prevention.
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