Selectmen approve lower property tax rate

Here’s some good news. The tax rate for the current fiscal year was set by the Board of Selectmen last night, and it’s lower than last year’s rate.

“It’s rare to see taxes actually going down,” Principal Assessor Paul Cibelli told selectmen last night.

The new rate will be $14.06 per $1000 of valuation. That’s a 2.1% decrease over last year’s rate of $14.16. Combine that with the fact that the valuation of the average single family home in Southborough decreased from $556K to $548K, and chances are good you’ll pay less in property taxes this year.

“This board tried through annual town meeting last year to keep any tax increase at a minimum,” Selectman Bill Boland said. “It looks like we succeeded.”

But before you get too excited, Cibelli had a sobering warning. When property valuations decrease like they did this year, the tax rate almost always increases to offset the loss. The only reason it didn’t this year is because Town Meeting voted to apply about $700K in stabilization funds toward the budget.

That’s a one-time cash injection that helped keep the tax rate low. But it’s not something the town will likely be able to do again next year, so Cibelli said residents should be prepared for a “sizable increase” in next year’s tax rate.

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