West Tisbury sticks with one tax rate
The West Tisbury selectmen decided to keep the town's single tax rate for residential and commercial properties, after hearing the annual assessors' report on various options for shifting the tax rate.
Principal assessor Jo-Ann Resendes presented the report, required by state law, with charts showing what would happen to the various tax categories if the tax burden were shifted to the commercial classes or non-resident properties. The current tax rate for all property categories is $4.38 per $1,000 of value.
Ms. Resendes outlined shift options ranging from 10 percent to 50 percent, the maximum allowable by law. If the shift were 50 percent, the residential rate would decrease to $4.30 per $1,000 and the commercial rate would increase to $6.57 per $1,000, according to the chart. Ms. Resendes said 31 percent of cities towns in the state (mostly larger ones) shift the tax burden at the maximum rate from residential to commercial properties.
The other option, with a 20 percent maximum residential exemption, would decrease residents' tax bills significantly and increase bills for non-resident or vacant properties.
Ms. Resendes told the selectmen they could choose either option, combine them, or make no changes.
Selectman Glenn Hearn made a motion to keep the traditional single rate, noting that 96 percent of the properties in West Tisbury are residential.
To make a shift, Selectman John Early said would "put a burden on a very small percentage of commercial properties in town." Selectman Jeffrey "Skipper" Manter was not at the meeting.
In other business, Mr. Hearn reported that work had begun on repairing the Howes House/library parking lot. Two weeks ago the town voters approved a $30,000 allocation to pave the lot partially with a newer type pervious concrete that allows water to flow through and thus solve the problems of pot holes. He said the work might be completed by this week.
The selectmen also heard a lengthy complaint from resident Anna Edey who said her proposed design for a new town hall had not been considered by the town's space needs committee that has been meeting for several months and presented its proposals at the recent special town meeting.
"To my great disappointment and dismay, I saw this committee had dealt with space requirements and did building designs," Ms. Edey said. She said she was not aware that preliminary designs were going to be proposed. She presented her design several months ago to the town, but it was not considered, she said. She claims her design would be less costly than others. Her expertise is in energy-efficient and solar designs.
Board chairman John Early suggested Ms. Edey direct her complaints to the space needs committee, because that committee was separately constituted and deliberately did not include selectmen. "This board is not going to override that committee," he said.