Lanesborough Select Board OKs Single Tax Rate
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The Select Board on Monday voted to adopt a single tax rate that will mean the average homeowners' tax bill will go up by $107.
The tax rate will be $17 per $1,000 assessed value, down 67 cents from last year.
This is the third year the rate has decreased but rising home values account for the increase in property taxes. On the other hand, the average commercial property tax bill will decrease by more than $400 due to devaluation.
Town Assessor Ross Vivori explained that over the last couple of years, people have been spending more on residential housing than commercial properties, which accounts for the discrepancy.
"They are overspending on residential," he said. "Whether that's all related to COVID, people moving from the cities to here, but that's driving that residential value up and you're just not seeing that on the commercial side so that's coming down and, of course, with the tax rate coming down, you're also seeing that being reflected in the commercial tax rate."
The average single-family home valued at $318,803 will have an annual tax bill of $5,420 in fiscal 2024. Last year, the average home was valued at $300,705 home and billed $5,313.
The average commercial property is valued at $525,450, a decrease from $528,697 in FY23, and will pay $8,933 in property taxes.
A single tax rate maintains a residential factor of 1. It allows for all classes of property to pay only their share of the tax levy without shifting the burden to any particular property class.
Select Board member Timothy Sorrell said many homeowners are wondering why they see an increase when businesses do not. He previously asked for information on a split tax rate in response to that concern.
Vivori confirmed that commercial properties also pay personal property tax on items.
William Prendergast, who served for 12 years on the board, spoke in favor of a single rate. He wants to make sure that businesses have as fair of a shake as they can in today's economy.
"We went through this process every year and we decided after a lot of discussion that a single rate was most appropriate just because none of the rest applied," he said.
"All that going with a split rate would have done was put more pressure on the businesses and it really wasn't going to benefit the residents that much so we felt that it was appropriate to stay with a single rate."
The FY24 levy of $9,409,579 is a $282,754, or 3 percent, increase from the previous year and the total taxable value of the town is $553,504,681. The excess levy capacity is $1,785,200 with a maximum allowable levy of $11,194,780.
"We saw some pretty good growth in the town. We saw $16,757,189 in growth," Vivori reported.
"There was $1,602,000 in residential $2,272,900 industrial, and $12,882,289 in personal property. That growth times last year's tax rate generated $296,099 in tax revenue."
New growth is generated through the construction of new homes, additions, substantial remodels, or the creation of condos.
Tags: fiscal 2024, property taxes, tax classification,