Wednesday, November 19, 2008

live reporting - tax rate

Part one of the two part hearing process to set the rate

Franklin around an 80/20 split between residential/commercial

Need to get the valuation to combine with the rate to determine the tax bill

Likely that the assessed valuations will decline, so a rate increase may not equate to an increased tax bill.

Q - would like to highlight that with a rate increase the valuations may be going down so there really wouldn't be an increase in the actual bill.
A - over 10 years the average bill has increased $134/135 dollars and that includes the debt exclusions for the three schools that are rolled into that amount.

Q - how much we can spend is capped by the commonwealth
A - yes, that is correct

Board of Assessors: Kevin Doyle, Vincent Debaggis, Bob Avakian, Ken Norman

Decided to offer a workshop to the board to help provide information on the process as to how the numbers are calculated. Offer still out there.

Evaluation done in accordance with MA Dept of Revenue

Market data generally available for residential properties (single family and condominiums). Commercial and industrial properties are also based upon market value but with less volume other considerations come into the calculations.

Values as of January 2007.

Discussion over the next several weeks will be on a single versus split tax rate
50% of the commercial/industrial base is comprised of the mall and the two industrial parks.
Doesn't necessarily mean that mom/pop shops account for the other 50% as East Central, Grove St and other sections of town do contain other commercial/industrial properties.

Estimate on Commercial/Industrial assessed value change has already changed from the printed copy. Updated numbers will be available for the next meeting.

Doak - So the amount of new revenue which is the only way we can increase revenue without going over the 2 1/2 % is going down.
Nutting - yes, that is correct.

Bartlett - do you have a sense for the vacancies?
Doyle - The survey data is collected early in the year and available by the summer. We do receive foreclosure deeds when they are recorded.

Doyle - getting about 66% return on the survey, up over the last 5 years from about 50%. The owners have an incentive to provide the data otherwise they loose standing if they attempt a challenge. The form is easier to read.

Doyle - about 500 commercial/industrial entities, about 11,000 single family residences

Whalen - how strong is the correlation between delinquencies and vacancies?
Norman - that is really a tax collector question
Nutting - I think they are sending out less delinquency notices. We are making 12-14% interest and at the end of the day, we collect 100% of our taxes. Eventually we get it all as we are first in line.
Cerel - Even if you have vacancies, you need to be paid full and current in taxes to challenge, you also have to have provided the input required in order to have standing to challenge it.

Feeley - Why are you not providing a position as a board on the split vs. single tax rate?
Norman - we as a Board decided not to make a formal recommendation starting this year

McGann - why the change this year?
Avakian - A prior concilor challenged the board recommendation, since there no clear direction on whether the Tax Assessors should really make a recommendation. It is clear that the Town Council has the final decision. If you ask us, we will provide our personal recommendations but we will not make a recomendation as a Board.

McGann - what is your recommendation?
Avakian - I would go single
Debaggis - I would go single
Norman - If I were in your shoes, I would go single
Doyle - I would go single

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