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Clarksburg Taxpayers Will See Drop in Tax Rate, Increase in Bills
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
05:33AM / Thursday, December 07, 2023
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Update: the Select Board on Dec. 11 noted that there had been a calculation error caused by a $33,000 deficit in the snow & ice account not recording properly. That has changed the estimated tax rate to $15.35 per $1,000. The tax bill for an average single-family home will be $3,410, an increase of $74 over last year. 
CLARKSBURG, Mass. — Homeowners will see the tax rate drop and their tax bills stay essentially flat for fiscal 2024.
The Select Board last Wednesday voted for a single tax rate that will translate to an estimated property tax of $15.13 per $1,000 valuation. 
That's down from $15.46 last year and $16.48 the year before. 
The average single-family home has increased in value by $6,358, from $215,793 to $222,151. The owner of an average home will see a tax bill of $3,361, up about $25 from last year. 
The town has traditionally gone with a single rather than split tax rate because of the dearth of businesses. Some 96 percent of the community's properties are residential while commercial and industrial together make up less than 2 percent. 
"We really don't have a choice but to go to the single rate," said Select Board member Jeffrey Levanos. 
The total residential value of the town has increased by $5 million to $158,167,883; of that, residential is $151,139,200, up by $4.4 million. Personal property is up by a half million and commercial and industrial about $65,500.
The maximum allowable tax levy is $2,449,261 and the amount to be appropriated to fund this year's $6 million budget is $2,393,840, leaving excess capacity of $55,421. The ceiling is $3,954,197, or the maximum the levy can reach. 
"It's a good gap between. You want a big gap between your levy limit and your ceiling," said Assessor Emily Schilling. "That's a good proportion between everything."
The tax ceiling is 2.5 percent of the town's full and fair cash value; the levy limit is based on the previous year's limit plus 2.5 percent, and any added new growth. 
Town Administrator Carl McKinney said the town is moving to complete its filings for free cash for the past three fiscal years. Years 2021 and 2022 have been closed and 2023 is about halfway done. 
"It's got to go to [the Department of Revenue] for their approval so we're moving incremental," he said. "Not as fast as we would like."
"But there is light at the end of that tunnel," added Levanos.
Town meeting had voted to spend down the stabilization account with the hopes that some free cash would be certified within the year to replenish it. 
In other business, the board approved a new flag policy that limits the types of flags flown on town property.
Town Administrator Carl McKinney pointed out that there is only space for two flags at Town Hall so there should be a policy that clarifies for all the which flags are allowed. 
They are the American flag, the state flag, the town flag, the flags of the U.S. armed forces since Memorial Day services are held at Town Hall and the missing in action/killed in action flag. 
"We're not taking a position on a political issue. Our politics in the town of Clarksburg are nonpartisan. They've been nonpartisan. I expect them to continue to be nonpartisan," McKinney said. "This is what we do and we would respectfully decline to fly any other flag."
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