Letter: Southborough’s tax rate policy is antiquated & imbalanced

[Ed note: My Southborough accepts signed letters to the editor submitted by Southborough residents. Letters may be emailed to mysouthborough@gmail.com.

The following letter is from Carl Guyer]

To the Editor:

Oops, they did it again!  Southborough’s Select Board on a 4 to 1 vote sentenced our residential property owners to another year of a high real estate tax rate.  Lead by a half baked analysis, our Select Board is in pursuit of a miracle.  Can it be Southborough’s real estate tax strategy to maintain a low commercial tax rate through a high residential rate really going to one day reduce residential tax rates ? That would indeed be a miracle if it ever happens.

As a quick review, Southborough’s residential 2023 tax rate is higher than the rate paid on 87% of the residential property in the state.  At the same time our commercial tax rate is higher on just 29% of the commercial property in the state.  An 87/29 loading imbalance. 

Many would surmise Southborough spends too much money creating high real estate tax rates.  Well, that is false.  If Southborough had maintained its previous implementation of  a split tax rate, Southborough’s residential tax rate would likely be just somewhat higher than the state average reducing the average annual tax bill between $1,500 and $2,000.  Southborough’s commercial tax rate would probably be an equivalent burden, not excessive, just above average like the residential rate would be. 

The real culprit is an antiquated single tax rate policy.  Not excessive spending at Town Meeting.  Southborough’s spending is not out of line with our demographics, it is our tax policy.  Keep in mind 80% of the commercial property in the state is not taxed with a single rate policy, but we do for some imagined reason.

Unfortunately it is going to take years to unwind the impact of this current mythical pursuit.  State law protects commercial property owners from any rapid correction to the present condition.  After having badly managed our tax policy, state law does not allow for Mulligans .  We can start now or we can start later.  Later is just a more costly approach for residents.

Carl Guyer,
146 Middle Road

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James Nichols-Worley
19 days ago

I think Southborough would be well to explore a split tax rate. Additionally, from my understanding, this would also allow the town to differentiate between small landlords of “up to three units tend to be taxed using a residential classification,” while larger units are taxed using the commercial tax rate.

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