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Tax Relief, Citizen’s Petitions on May 6 Town Meeting Warrant

Residents attending Friday's Annual Town Meeting will determine the outcome of 30 articles on the warrant. While a number of the articles are considered standard and therefore voted on each year, several articles are being brought forward by the Board of Assessors in an effort to provide tax relief to certain qualified residents. "We want to make certain we're offering everything we can to residents," said Assessor Kevin Rudden when explaining the articles to the Board of Selectmen during an April meeting.

The first of the Assessor's articles is Article 15 which is seeking approval from residents to appoint one of the town's Assessors as the designated field agent, who is responsible for measuring new growth in the town. "When building permits are issued, the data collector goes out and measures the addition or new house so that it can be assessed and added to the property tax rolls," said Rudden. Currently, each of the town's three Assessors receive an annual stipend of $2,600. If residents support Article 15, two of the Assessor's have agreed to reduce their stipends and allocate that funding to the new field agent. "What we are doing is taking the existing three $2,600 per board member stipend and reallocating it to $200, $200, and $7,400, with the person receiving the $7,400 doing 99 percent of the data collection work," explained Rudden.

Article 16 is also being brought forward by the Assessor's and seeks to increase the amount of the qualifying maximum gross receipts from $20,000 to $40,000 in accordance with Mass. General Law pertaining to residents in need of a tax deferral. "It's not a forgiveness of taxes, it's a deferment of taxes to another year. We're not losing tax money," explained Finance Committee Chair Mike Merolli.

The next several articles concern efforts to provide tax relief to qualified residents and military personnel. Article 17, if passed, will provide exemptions from excise taxation on vehicles owned by residents who are on active and fulltime military service as members of the armed forces or National Guard serving overseas for at least 45 days.

Article18 also concerns military personnel and seeks to provide a real estate and personal property tax abatements to members of the Massachusetts National Guard or military reservists on active duty serving overseas.

The next article, Article 19, concerns the Community Preservation Act tax and will offer those residents who qualify for low income housing or low or moderate income senior housing an exemption from the three percent surcharge. The article will also need to be passed by a ballot vote in November.

In addition, two citizen's petitions are also on the warrant. Article 29 is being brought forward by residents who are aiming to adopt stricter zoning regulations when it comes to constructing solar farms in town. "They're requesting we no longer allow them in the residential district," explained Planning Board Chair Bill Ambrosino. A public hearing was held in April on the measure.

In relation to Article 29, the solar development company BlueWave Capital is planning to construct a 20 acre solar farm on 128 Providence St., 67 Bates St., and 72 Thayer Road and therefore Article 26 is seeking a PILOT agreement for that solar facility.

The last article on the warrant, Article 30, is another zoning bylaw amendment request from a Cape Road business looking to rezone all their land to commercial in order to relocate a construction garage on the property.

The May 6 Annual Town Meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at Miscoe Hill School.


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