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Dual Tax Rate Criticized

The chairman of the town's Downtown Revitalization Committee told selectmen on October 21 that the town's dual tax rate is making local businesses non-competitive with area towns having a single tax rate. Currently, Milford's commercial and industrial property owners pay $14.34 per thousand dollars of valuation more than the town's residential property owners.

"The dual tax rate is a real thing to small building owners," Ronald Pagnini, the revitalization committee's chairman, said. "It puts a crunch on us. There's no extra dollars to save to put into the buildings with the extra cost of the taxes."

Pagnini said the lack of available parking – with all current municipal lots usually filled to capacity during daytime hours – is a major negative factor in trying to attract new businesses to Milford's downtown. It also limits the dollar amount of rent that can be charged for existing vacant space, he noted.

"There's no investor coming into Milford to buy a building to rent out," Pagnini said.

Meeting with selectmen to give an update on the committee's activities, Pagnini said he was happy to hear that plans to add more municipal parking on Central St. were

on the town's five-year capital spending plan. But, he recommended moving up that timetable to as soon as possible.

At the Downtown Revitalization Committee's request, the town acquired three buildings on Central St. to create additional parking spaces. Two of the buildings have been torn down, with the third scheduled to come down next year. Pagnini gave the board an engineering sketch showing what parking on the site could look like.

"We want to create more parking for what we want to create downtown," Pagnini said, referring to efforts to get new businesses to locate in the downtown area. "We have an opportunity now to get things moving," he said.

Pagnini mentioned that the owners of The Rail Trail Flatbread Company in Hudson have purchased the former Home National Bank of Milford/Rockland trust building on Main St. and hope to open a similar restaurant in it. "Having that place in downtown Milford will jump start business like you won't believe," he said.

"Their getting a liquor license is imperative," Selectman William Kingkade said.

He said he wanted to "speed up that process" and get the parking area on Central St. created sooner than five years from now. He agreed that more parking is needed to attract more business tenants. "I personally don't want to see that four to five years down the road," he noted. Selectmen should do "whatever we can do to make this a reality sooner," Kingkade said. "We hear you," Selectman Michael Walsh said. "And we're here to support you as we are the other boards and committees in town."

"There has to be something [we can do] to offset the dual tax rate," Selectmen Chairman William Buckley said. Board members discussed putting funds in the town's operating budget to ensure that roads are repaired and weeds removed in

the downtown area. Now, "It looks like people are competing for the tallest weed competition," he said. "Let's own it. Take credit for its success and be responsible for its failure," he suggested




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