WESTFORD — The average homeowner could see an increase in their tax bill of just under $300.
During a Nov. 14 hearing, the Select Board unanimously voted to adopt a tax rate of $13.77 per $1,000 of assessed value. For single-family homeowners, this translates to a 2.93% increase from last year, or an additional $297 for fiscal year 2024.
In 2023, the average tax rate for a single-family home was $10,120, which is projected to increase to $10,417 in FY24. The total increase can be attributed to average single-family property values increasing by just over $70,000 from 2023.
During the hearing, Naser outlined that the town could adopt a split tax rate — where commercial businesses would pay a separate rate, but stressed that this change would only “shift the burden” onto commercial properties.
However, officials opted to retain the town’s single tax rate.
“Because Westford has such a high residential population, to make any real difference to the residents you have to make a substantial difference to the businesses,” Select Board Chair Tom Clay said.
He added, “the concern was that we want to remain competitive with our neighbors and be an attractive place for businesses to relocate.”
Additionally, board Vice Chair Scott Hazelton noted that a split tax rate, even with exceptions for small businesses, would not necessarily help small businesses.
“We think that every small business will benefit, but it’s based upon the property. So if you’ve got a strip mall with 12 businesses, the taxing authority is the owner of the strip mall, not each business,” he said.
He added, “it’s not as simple saying as ‘we’ll help out small businesses,’ you might just be helping out the landlord.”