At the Board of Selectmen meeting last night, after hearing from the Assessors, the tax rate for the current fiscal year was set at $16.12 per thousand of property value. This compares to the tax rate of $15.73 for the past two years. The Assessors reported that the average home value in town is about $600,000, which means that average home will have a tax bill of $9,672 this year.
The Board of Selectmen also adopted the recommendation of the Assessors to continue with a single tax rate for both residential and commercial property, given that we have so little commercial property, that any move to a split rate will provide only small savings for the residential property owners and result in huge increases for the commercial tax payers. It was felt that we should not discourage commercial taxpayers from locating in town by taxing them at excessively high rates.
Frank Perry, Chair of the Board of Assessors stated that split tax rates (i.e. where the commercial properties are taxed at a higher rate, up to 150% of the residential rate) only really works when one has 15-20% commercial property. Medfield’s property tax base currently breaks down as 94% residential, 3% commercial, 1% industrial, and 1.4% personal property.
When asked to opine, the Assessors stated that they felt the development at the Medfield State Hospital site should include housing for seniors and be revenue positive for the town.
This selectman has decided that given our location that is not a magnet for commercial entities, that we can best increase our property tax base without increasing our municipal costs by building the sort of housing that does not incur municipal costs, and I point to the example of Old Medfield Square. Ralph Costello states that his development will provide $600,000 of property taxes to the town when it is completed, and that at the moment there is only one school child in the 27 occupied units. If that ratio continues, the total municipal costs for the 42 units when complete will be about $26,000, generating a net profit to the town each year of $574,000. A couple of more projects like that and the town can significantly reduce its tax rate and taxes to everyone else.