Selectmen to talk taxes, town government

Tuesday’s Board of Selectmen meeting has the potential to be a lively one. The board will revisit its decision to impose a split property tax rate after a “deluge of email” from Southborough business owners opposing the plan.

Under the split tax rate, business and commercial property would be taxed at a rate of $16.36 per $1,000 valuation while residential property would be taxed at $15.38.

Southborough has never had a split tax rate before now, but Selectman John Rooney said earlier this month that he voted in favor of the plan to relieve some of the burden on residents. Selectwoman Bonnie Phaneuf also voted in favor of the split rate plan, but later said she didn’t have all the information at the time of the vote.

At Tuesday’s meeting selectmen are hoping to hear from both business owners and residents on the tax rate plans. If the board opts to abandon the split rate plan and return to a single tax rate, all property in Southborough would be taxed at $15.58, a 10.8% increase over last year’s rate of $14.06.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, selectmen will host a discussion on whether it’s time to change the structure of government in Southborough. Back in 2007 the Town Governance Committee recommended a set of changes to how things are run in Southborough, including moving to a more powerful town manager instead of a town administrator, and increasing the size of the Board of Selectmen from three to five.

The recommendations didn’t go anywhere at the time, but a group of residents resurrected the charge earlier this year.

The town governance discussion is scheduled to start at 7:30 pm, and the tax rate discussion at 8:00 pm. The meeting takes place in the Hearing Room on the second floor of the Town House. It’s open to all.

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