The Mansfield Board of Selectmen voted on Wednesday 5-0 to change the commercial/residential tax rates for 2013 in favor of a lower residential rate.
The rate change would take the residential tax rate from 14.29 percent to 14.92 percent, a 4.409 percent increase while the commercial rate would increase from 18.50 percent to 19.37 percent, a 4.70 percent increase.
While the vote was unanimous, the discussion was not without dispute. Selectmen Kevin Moran said he felt that the six-year trend of increasing commercial and industrial tax rate increases would discourage companies from staking a claim in Mansfield.
“I don’t think it sends a good message of having a history over the next six years. They don’t look at a single year they’re going to look at the trend,” he said. “I’m happy to move us to where commercial and residential share the pain – I think we need that park. When I grew up that park was the stimulus in the 80s and 90s that brought a lot of people into this time. We need to increase that [commercial tax] base and do whatever we can to make this a business friendly environment.”
Selectman Doug Aninno agreed.
“I agree with the idea to put an equal share on both [commercial and residential],” he said. “I would welcome an increase that would be more equal. There seems to be a tendency in this country to shift the burden on commercial and that’s just not fair.”
Selectman Jess Aptowitz said he favored less burden on residential taxes because it could encourage residents to leave.
“What I’m concerned about is tax comparisons,” he said. “Take Sharon and Norfolk out, we’re the most expensive town to live in. I have a major problem with an almost five percent tax increase and I’d like to see the split go higher. If we keep putting taxes up four or five percent there won’t be anybody left in Mansfield”
According to Nancy Hinote, Mansfield has about $3 billion in taxable property as a tax base, $2.3 billion in residential categories. She said that the residential tax base also includes apartments and other residential businesses.
“Apartments are considered residential even though it’s a business,” she said.