Edgartown will have one tax rate for all
Edgartown selectmen voted unanimously to keep the 2006 tax rate the same for commercial and residential properties, after hearing comments from the public and a recommendation from the town assessors during a tax classification hearing Monday.
The assessors favored keeping the tax rate the same for commercial and residential properties.
"I recommend we continue as we have, with all one tax rate," board member Edward Belisle said. Edgartown has always had one tax rate for all property categories. He said after the meeting that it doesn't make sense to have more than one because there is not enough of a commercial-industrial base in Edgartown.
"You shouldn't put the burden on summer residents and the commercial properties," board chairman Lawrence Mercier said. Eighty percent of the property taxes in Edgartown are paid by non-residents, he said.
Mr. Belisle said the only way to reduce taxes is to cut spending. "You need to decide on a percentage [of spending increase]," he told the selectmen, and he recommended they explain at the town meeting how the tax rate is established.
Assessor William Pfluger said at the meeting that new growth this year should bring the tax rate down for fiscal year 2006. New growth, which is based mostly on new construction, accounted for $3.14 per $1,000, Mr. Pfluger said. New growth was $2.26 last year.
Mr. Pfluger told the selectmen the new rate could be roughly $2.94 per $1,000, but it will not be set until after the state Department of Revenue's Bureau of Local Assessment reviews all the assessors' data. The rate for FY 2005 was $3.05 per $1,000.
The selectmen also appointed Alan Gowell to the board of assessors to replace Peter Kipp Clough, who died recently.
In other business, the selectmen approved the transfer of liquor licenses for the Harbor View Hotel and Kelley House to the new owners, Scout Real Estate Capital Limited Liability Corporation, a Nantucket-based real estate investment group. Scout signed an agreement earlier this month to purchase the two properties. The deal is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
The new owners were represented Monday by local attorney George Brush, who said, "Nothing changes but the ownership. We are hoping it's going to be a seamless transition."