AUBURN, Mass. – Auburn residents will pay a bit more in taxes in the upcoming fiscal year, while town businesses will pay less after the Board of Selectmen voted Tuesday night to close the gap between the two categories.
The board brought 2012’s commercial, industrial, personal property (CIP) tax shift of 1.30 percent down to 1.25 percent at Nov. 13’s tax classification hearing. This means that residential properties valued at $218,750 will pay $85 more in taxes, while commercial businesses valued at $1,026,000 will save $955 and industrial businesses valued at $1,258,000 will save $1,170.
“We have noticed that the CIP shift from past years has begun to pay off,” said Selectmen Chair Doreen Goodrich. “In the past three fiscal years, we have seen an increase in both commercial and industrial growth. We need to continue this trend, which benefits the entire community. It benefits residents and it increases the tax base.”
There were several business owners who spoke at the tax classification hearing. Many of the business owners wanted to bring the tax shift down to 1.15 percent, closer to a single tax rate.
“Why are we the only town in the area, besides Worcester, that has a split tax rate? Why?” asked Mark Sarkisian, who was representing the Auburn Chamber of Commerce. “I am asking the Board of Selectmen to lower the tax rate on businesses from 1.30 to 1.15. We should be at a single tax rate by now, but we are not.”
But the Board of Selectmen compromised on a 1.25 percent tax rate because “the 1.15 rate is too big a step,” said Selectman Kenneth Holstrom.
“The old adage is we can’t win a game on home runs,” he said. “We have to do it on base hits. I think the 1.25 is our base hit for this year to keep us going, and, eventually, we will win this game.”
Residents would have paid about $250 more in taxes if the 1.15 percent rate had been adopted, and commercial businesses would have saved about $3,000.
Swanson Road Bridge Opening On Nov. 14
Department of Public Works Director Bill Coyle announced at Tuesday’s meeting that the Swanson Road bridge over I-290 will open at some point on Wednesday, Nov. 14. The bridge has been worked on for five months, as MassDOT replaced the deteriorated bridge deck.