MWDN: Official says Southborough tax increase likely lower this year

by susan on March 7, 2013

An increase is still an increase, but it looks like things won’t be quite as bad for Southborough taxpayers this year as officials had originally feared.

Reports the Metrowest Daily News:

The fiscal 2014 budget is rounding into shape, Town Administrator Mark Purple said Monday, and the average taxpayers at this point can expect to see taxes rise by $137.

The fiscal 2013 tax bill for the average home valued at $518,300 was $8,573, a 2.9 percent increase from the prior year.

The value of the average home for fiscal 2014 is projected at 520,736, and the average tax bill would be $8,710, a 1.6 percent increase.

“Things seemed to go in the right direction for us this year,” Purple said, including a respite on the assessment to Algonquin Regional High School that administrators are still working to fully understand.

But before you get too excited, Chairman of the Board of Selectmen John Rooney warned at the board’s meeting last week the $137 increase may not reflect reality. Rooney pointed out that current budget calculations do not take into consideration new contracts for the town’s four municipal unions, all of which are currently being renegotiated.

“That number ($137) represents the best case scenario,” Rooney said. “While it looks great on paper, it’s not going to be the real number.”

1 L Chan March 8, 2013 at 4:48 PM

I thought that the Selectmen were supposed to find ways to reduce expenditures. Why is the solution always increased taxes. If the town needs more revenue why doesn’t it go after Fay and St. Marks to pay their fair share of taxes. Every year I sit through the annual budget presentation and every year the Selectmen tell us that they get donations from Fay and St. Marks. No one says how much. I’m sure that if those private schools paid their fair share of taxes the burden would not always fall on the residents of the town.

2 John Butler March 8, 2013 at 5:50 PM

There are two problems with this.

First, the presumptive tone is all wrong. Only the voters decide what the taxes will be next year. They have not yet assembled in the Town Meeting in which they will decide. I know that quotations are often mangled in reporting, and sometimes it seems as if the decision is made at Town Hall, but it certainly is not. A better tone would be that these numbers are what the voters are being asked to support by the Selectmen, (who have no power over tax rates). The voters can do whatever they please at Town Meeting. If the voters don’t vote a tax increase, there is no tax increase. If they vote more money for this or that budget, that too is their prerogative. That exclusive authority of the voters ought not to be forgotten or glossed over.

Second, there one very big reason why the tax request is down, that is not mentioned. Debt and interest payments for the school buildings is down by $640,000 compared to last year. That is a big drop, completely automatic, that comes right off the tax rate. If it weren’t for that, the Selectemen’s requested budget would imply an increase of 3.55% instead of the 1.6% that is referenced.

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