LATEST UPDATE – Selectmen voted 5 to 0 on Nov. 18 to set the residential tax rate at $16.41 per $1,000 of valuation and the commercial exemption rate at $16.61 with a 10 percent discount for commercial properties valued at less than $1 million.
WESTFORD – Westford “remains a very desirable and stable community,” according to the town’s principal assessor, Jean-Paul Plouffe, who gave his annual presentation on the town’s tax classification rate to selectmen on Nov. 15.
The board voted unanimously to maintain a single tax rate for the town and to provide a 10 percent exemption for small commercial properties assessed at less than $1 million.
Plouffe noted that the hearing would need another step of authorization from the state Department of Revenue.
“This classification hearing is pending approval of growth and values,” he said. “So whatever we do tonight we’ll have to have a second meeting…to reaffirm whatever your vote would be tonight.”
Plouffe and his staff completed public disclosure on Nov. 14, he said.
Selectmen will set the fiscal 2017 tax rate at a future meeting. Plouffe said he expects the rate to be $16.41 per $1,000 of valuation. That’s 11 cents higher than in fiscal 2016, he said.
Fiscal 2017 began July 1.
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The taxable value of all properties in town appreciated slightly by approximately 2.35 percent, according to Plouffe.
The average assessed value of a single family home is $490.7K – 2.24 percent higher than fiscal 2016. Tax bills on the average priced home increased by $229.76 for a total of $8,053.58.
“The median assessed value is just under $480,000,” Plouffe said. “And again, that would also see an increase in taxes for the year.”
Assessments are as of Jan. 1 and valuations are based on a 2015 assessment, he added.
The town’s tax levy is $72.4 million and its taxable real and personal property is $4.4 billion.
New growth was valued at $43.3 million, down 22 percent from fiscal 2016. It brought in $707,422 in revenue.
Areas of growth included the Summer Village development on Long-Sought-For Pond, construction of single family homes, and teardowns of existing properties that were then rebuilt.
The 10 percent commercial exemption will affect 235 out of 267 commercial properties with assessments of $1 million or less. The exemption amounts to $6.589K.
“The Board of Selectmen ha(s) adopted this since fiscal year 2003,” said Plouffe. “…Industrial properties receive no benefit whatsoever from the small commercial exemption.”
Plouffe said the small commercial tax rate would go up to $16.61 – 20 cents higher than in fiscal 2016.
“What the small commercial exemption does is it shifts the tax burden within the commercial class so that those properties over $1 million are really paying a greater share of their percentage of the tax levy,” Plouffe said. “Of course industrial properties are just paying a bigger share.”
Follow Joyce Pellino Crane on Twitter @joypellinocrane.