Westminster Board Keeps Single Tax Rate
WESTMINSTER -- All classes of taxes in the town will continue to be assessed at an equal rate.
A unanimous vote by the Board of Selectmen Monday night means the five property tax classifications -- residential, open space, commercial, industrial, and personal property -- will remain taxed at the same rate, although the rate won’t be set till early next year, officials said.
The decision came after the selectmen accepted a recommendation from the Board of Assessors to enter a residential factor of one.
“It’s always been the policy of this board for as long as I’ve been on it, and even before, that the most equitable tax rate is for every class to be taxed at the same rate,” Selectman Wayne Walker said following the decision. “There’s a few cities and towns that have divided tax rates -- Worcester principally among them -- (and) they always have a big battle over classification, but the residential factor of one means it’s all at the same rate.”
Walker said by not taxing businesses at a higher rate than residents made Westminster a more welcoming community when it came to attracting industry to the town.
“We feel that all the properties in town should be taxed at the same rate, so everybody gets equal treatment,” he said. “We do try to encourage businesses to come in, and one of the things we offer is that they will have the same tax rate as residential customers.”
In other business at Monday night’s meeting, the board approved a request by the Town Government Study Committee to schedule a Special Town Meeting to discuss the establishment of a town manager. The meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 2, 2019. Supporters said the new position would create a more efficient form of government in the town.
Also approved at the meeting was a proposal authorizing the town treasurer/collector to borrow $600,000 at an interest rate of 6.2 percent for a new fire truck, a decision that was authorized at a Special Town Meeting last year.
Selectmen also approved a request from the Director of Public Works to borrow $77,000 from the town’s general stabilization fund for the preliminary engineering and design stage of the town’s $1.7 million Ellis Road Water Tank project.
The board also authorized a payroll change request for the establishment of an appointed Assistant Animal Control Officer on an as-needed basis at Monday night’s meeting.
Local food lovers will be happy to note that the Board of Selectman approved several of the town’s Common Victuallers licenses for 2019, including those for Blueprint Bar and Grill, the Old Mill Restaurant, Stefano’s House of Pizza, the VFW Grill, Kay’s Dairy Bar, and Mike’s Pizza.