Athol single tax rate going down

  • Athol Town Hall Recorder Staff/Domenic Poli

Recorder Staff
Thursday, December 14, 2017

ATHOL — A single tax rate 83-cents-per-thousand lower than that of the current fiscal year was certified by the state Department of Revenue on Wednesday, one day after the Athol Selectboard voted to endorse it.

Athol property owners are looking at a Fiscal Year tax rate of $19.57 per $1,000 of assessed value, a drop from the FY17 rate of $20.40. Town Manager Shaun A. Suhoski attributes this reduction to continued growth in property values throughout Athol. This growth includes the development of Wendy’s, Hobby Lobby, Tully Family Medicine and 110 Grill in North Quabbin Commons, the renovation of the McDonald’s near the Athol-Orange town line, ongoing renovations at Athol Savings Bank in the downtown area, an uptick in building permits, rising property values and increased employment.

“The town of Athol presents an attractive and safe community that remains ripe for investment,” Suhoski said in an email. “With substantial educational and cultural investments in the past few years and major private investments growing the regional economy I am hopeful the trend of increasing property values and broadening of the tax base will continue for the next several years.”

He said the average residential bill will increase $116.42 for the year to an estimated $2,882.66 for a home valued at $147,300, which he said is still among the lowest average property tax burdens in Massachusetts. He said this reflects the $19,154,459 budget (with $4,503,296 for education) adopted by voters at Town Meeting in June.

“The final bond for the new elementary school, and, potentially debt exclusions to reconstruct the Exchange Street bridge and make building repairs to Athol High School would impact the tax rate in future years although mitigated by paying off the library expansion in FY19,” Suhoski said.

He said this single tax rate was recommended by the Board of Assessors.

He also said the $1.7 million local share of the water system extension and improvements that facilitate the development of North Quabbin Commons is financed solely through the property taxes assessed to the Market Basket supermarket in the commons.