The Wayland Board of Selectmen Monday, Dec. 10, voted unanimously to keep a uniform tax rate in place for fiscal 2013, choosing not to opt for a split rate that would have shifted some of the tax burden to commercial businesses.
Doing so, selectmen say, could attract more businesses to Wayland.
Residents and business owners will see a tax rate of $17.89 per $1,000 of assessed value on their fiscal 2013 tax bills, which should hit mailboxes around the end of December. The rate is down from last year, when selectmen approved a rate of $19.01, due to a one-time appropriation approved at town meeting.
After a presentation on several tax-rate scenarios by Board of Assessors Vice Chair Susan Rufo, selectmen discussed whether to approve a uniform or split tax rate.
While the newly built Wayland Town Center, including a Stop & Stop grocery store, is nearing completion, the shopping center is not yet a source of tax revenue, they said.
“Our taxes are based on assessments from years past,” said Selectman Joseph Nolan. “That revenue isn’t going to kick in until [the stores] are built out and running.”
Under an option to shift the tax burden toward commercial property, residential taxpayers would have saved an average of about $300, based on the average single-family home assessment of $588,500, according to an Assessors handout. Commercial taxpayers, meanwhile, would have seen their tax bills increase by an average of just under $9,000, based on about a $1 million commercial assessment.
“Given the portion of business to residential, it doesn’t make sense to do that [a split tax rate] this year,” said Selectmen Chairman John Bladon. “If we do, it would have an effect to discourage business to come to town — we’re trying very hard to encourage business to come to town.”
Residential properties make up 94.7 percent of property in Wayland, while commercial, industrial and person property totals 5.2 percent.
“I’d be a bit more comfortable with a split tax rate if we had a big business base,” said Nolan.
Ultimately, selectmen approved a residential factor of 1.0, with a CIP (commercial, industrial and private property) shift of zero, creating a uniform tax rate. The rate must be certified by the state Department of Revenue before tax bills are sent.