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The Board of Selectmen approves a single tax rate Monday night.

Lanesborough Tax Rate Going Up By $1.23

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The tax rate is increasing by $1.23 per $1,000 of assessed property valued.
 
The town is continuing with a single tax rate and that is resulting in an increase to $22.63 per $1,000 of assessed value, up from $21.40 per thousand. For the average single-family home, the increase will be $350.99 per year. The rate is set after town meeting approved a budget in the spring and the numbers shake out by the fall.
 
Assessor Kelly Tolisano said the town has seen little growth and property values have remained fairly level this year. The town approved $11.3 million in spending, $8.9 million of which is to come from property taxes.
 
"We didn't have much new growth last year either," Tolisano said.
 
Overall the value of single-family homes increased by just 1.8 percent and only three new homes were added to the tax rolls. In total single-family homes, which are the majority of the properties, account for $273,907,400 in value. The average single-family home is assessed at $225,438, which is a small increase from last year's $221,994.
 
"It really is not a huge increase in the valuation, which would result in additional revenue," Tolisano said.
 
A similar trend was seen in two-family, three-family, and apartments, all of which hover around the 2 percent increase in value mark. Residential properties make up 82 percent of the town's taxable parcels. Overall residential properties saw a 1.3 percent growth.
 
"It is not everybody's tax that is going to go up $350," Tolisano said when referencing the increase on the average residential bill, adding that a property worth $100,000 would see an increase of $123.
 
Meanwhile, the commercial properties are seeing a decrease in value. That will ease the tax burden on those entities somewhat as the rate will be applied to lower values. Overall the town has a dozen fewer taxable properties than last year and a total growth of just .5 percent. The town did see a 7.9 percent increase in personal property taxes.
 
Lanesborough did see significant increases percentage wise in public utilities, television, and forest land, all with double-digit increases in percentages, but those account for around $6.5 million of the town's total taxable value of $393,498,679. 
 
The town hasn't used a split tax rate, which would charge commercial properties a higher percentage of the levy, in hopes to be more business-friendly and the Board of Selectmen continued with the single tax rate on Monday.
 
"If you want to make Lanesborough more commercial friendly, that is where you are looking at," Tolisano said when pointing to a sheet outlining what options the board had for split rates.
 
In other business, the Board of Selectmen agreed to give Council on Aging Director Lorna Gayle eight more hours a week. Gayle said the town is in line to receive an $8,200 grant from the state that could help pay for her extra hours. 
 
The Selectmen have been going back and forth on the issue for two years. The Council on Aging director says she needs more hours to perform her work but the Selectmen haven't been sold on that time being worth the investment. Repeatedly the board has kicked around the issue of how many hours she should work. With a grant pending, Gayle is being given two more hours a day after Town Hall closes to get caught up on paperwork.
 
The town is expected to know in February if the grant is actually coming and if it doesn't, then her hours will be cut back.

Tags: fiscal 2019,   property taxes,   tax classification,   tax rate,   

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