By Pattie Pacella, Neighb News Correspondent
The Acushnet Selectboard held its annual tax classification hearing at its meeting on Tuesday, 10/24, deciding to leave the shift between residential and commercial property taxes the same, but lowering the rate by a few cents.
Kelly Koska, Principal Assessor speaking on behalf of the Board of Assessor’s, made a recommendation to shift the tax rate to 115% from 125%. She said the rationale behind the recommendation was to persuade businesses to come to Acushnet.
Selectboard Chairperson Kevin Gaspar stated he felt that Acushnet had a “favorable tax rate” right now . Mr. Gaspar said he was very reluctant to change the tax shift.
Selectboard member Michael Cioper said he felt that the “115% wasn’t going to hurt anyone.”
Selectboard member Roger Cabral said he understood the rationale behind the shift, but said he was not sure that more businesses would come to Acushnet because of the tax rate. He said he was not sure what the motivation would be to shift the tax rate at this point.
The Selectboard voted 2-1 to keep the tax shift at the current 125%, with Michael Cioper in opposition.
In a follow-up interview after the meeting, Town Administrator Brian Noble said that the new rate for FY18 for residential properties will be $14.42 per thousand, down two cents from the FY17 rate of $14.44; the commercial, industrial and personal property rate for FY18 will be $18.50, down from the FY17 rate of $18.57 per thousand. The rates reflect the 125% tax shift as voted by the Selectboard on Tuesday.
The Selectboard also discussed the laying of sewer lines on Main Street that is underway.
Mr. Noble apologized to businesses in that area and stated the Department of Public Works is doing its best to get the work done efficiently and in consideration of the businesses.
Mr. Noble stated that workers had hit some ledge in the road, but it was manageable. He said DPW Highway Superintendent Dan Menard and his crew were doing a fantastic job getting through the ledge.
On the same note, Mr. Noble suggested that the liens be recorded at the Registry of Deeds for the sewer assessments, even though they do not have the cost yet.
“We record now, and the amounts will come later,” he said, advising that if the assessments were recorded now the liens would not be a surprise to homeowners if they decided to sell.
In other business, the Selectboard reviewed a letter of resignation from Council on Aging Program Coordinator Wendy Sylvia.
Mr. Gaspar thanked Ms. Sylvia for her years of service.
In a follow up phone interview, the Selectboard’s office confirmed that former COA Director Heather Sylvia was hired on an interim basis.
In other business, the Building Commissioner, who was not present, recommended an increase in wire inspection fees. The Selectboard voted in favor of the increases, which will be posted on the town’s website.
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