Selectboard Meeting Minutes 12/07/2021

Printer friendly

Selectboard Meeting Minutes

Otis Town Hall

Conference Room

Tuesday, December 07, 2021, at 7:00 PM


This meeting is being conducted remotely through Zoom. You must check back within 24 hours of the start time for a link to join.

Pursuant to the Governor’s March 12, 2020 order suspending certain provisions of the Open Meeting Law, G.L. c. 30A, Sec 18, this meeting is being held via remote participation to the greatest extent possible. Every effort is being made to ensure that any member of the public may access the meeting in real time, via technological means. Agendas will be amended to show the link and participation code to access the meeting no sooner than 48 hours before. Recordings and/or draft proceedings of the meeting will be available on our website as soon as possible.


Topic: Selectboard, Tax Classification Hearing

Time: Dec 7, 2021 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)


Join Zoom Meeting



Attendance: Chair Larry Southard, Gary Thomas, Terry Gould, Brandi Page & Harald Scheid.


Call to Order:

7:00 PM


Tax Classification Hearing:

Harald presented the information on our FY22 tax rate process. Presentation attached. Terry had some questions on valuation. Brandi confirmed the numbers in Gateway that were submitted to the Department of Revenue. Motion was made and seconded to vote in accordance with M.G.L. Ch. 40 Sec 56, as amended, the percentage of local tax levy which will be borne by each class of real estate and perosnal property, relative to setting the FY22 tax rates and set the Residential Factor at 1.0, with a corresponding CIP shift of 1.0, pending approval of the town’s annual tax recap by the Mass DOR. Motion passed.



7:18 PM
























Fiscal Year 2022

Tax Classification Hearing


December 7, 2021






Otis Board of Assessors

Russell Loring – Chairman

Heather Gray – Member

Kathleen Rider – Member

Harald M. Scheid – Regional Tax Assessor

Christopher Cozzaglio, Associate Regional Assessor


















Prior to the mailing of 3rd quarter tax billings, the Select Board holds a public hearing to determine the percentage of the Town’s property tax levy to be borne by each major property class. This responsibility and procedure are described in Chapter 40, Section 56 of the Massachusetts General Laws.


The steps in completing the Classification Hearing are outlined below. Also provided is information about the levy, property assessments, and recommendations made by the Board of Assessors.



Steps in Setting Tax Rates


Pre-classification Hearing Steps


Step 1:  Determination of the property tax levy              (Budget Process)


Step 2:  Determine assessed valuations              (Assessors)


Step 3:  Tabulate assessed valuations by class              (Assessors)



Classification Hearing Steps


Step 4:  Classification hearing presentation      (Assessors & Select Board)


Step 5:  Voting a tax shift factor (Select Board)



Post Classification Hearing Steps


Step 6:  Sign the LA-5 Classification Form (Select Board)


Step 7:  Send annual recap to DOR for tax rate approval (Assessors)


Step 8:  Obtain DOR approval of tax rates (DOR)












The following are definitions of the terms frequently used in the discussion of tax rates.


Levy:  The tax levy (or levy) is the amount of property taxes to be raised. The levy amount is determined by the budget. The total amount of the approved budget less revenues from other sources like motor vehicle excise, municipal fees, and state aid is the amount to be raised from property taxation. The town will be raising $5,417,397 in property tax revenues.  The tax levy has increased $120,534 (5.3%) over last year’s levy of $5,396,863.


Levy Ceiling:  The levy ceiling is 2.5 percent of the full value of the Town. Based on the Otis’s aggregate valuation of $699,019,001, the town cannot levy taxes in excess of $17,475,475.


New Growth Revenue:  Property taxes derived from newly taxable properties like new construction, additions, subdivisions, and personal property. The assessors have tabulated new growth revenues of $62,023.


Levy Limit:  Also referred to as the “maximum allowable levy”, this is calculated by adding 2.5 percent of the previous year’s levy limit plus new growth revenue for the present fiscal year to last year’s levy limit. Exceeding the levy limit requires an override of Proposition 2 ½. For Fiscal Year 2022 the levy limit is $5,699,460.


Excess Levy Capacity:  Excess levy capacity is the difference between the levy and the levy limit.


The Fiscal Year 2022 Levy Limit and Amount to be Raised


The following is a calculation of Otis’s levy limit for fiscal year 2022.


Fiscal year 2021 levy limit                      $5,506,920

Levy increase allowed under Prop. 2 ½    137,673

New growth revenue                                       61,576

Excluded Debt to Pay Bonds                           -7,156

Fiscal year 2022 levy limit                        5,699,013

Levy Ceiling                                                17,475,475

Levy to be raised                                     $5,417,397

Excess levy capacity                                    $281,616


Valuations by Class Before Tax Shift


Major Property Class                  Valuation                                   Percent                         Res vs CIP%

Residential                                        653,481,095                              93.4854 93.4854

Commercial                                         15,330,205                      2.1931

Industrial                                                3,395,700                                 0.4858 6.5146

Personal Property                              26,812,001                      3.8357

TOTAL                                                699,019,001                 100.0000




Shifting the Tax Burden


Municipalities with a large commercial/industrial tax base often see fit to shift the tax burden to help maintain lower residential taxes. Given Otis’s relatively small commercial, industrial, and personal property tax base, it takes a CIP tax rate increase of approximately 24% to yield a 1% residential tax rate reduction.



Tax Rates


The estimated single tax rate for fiscal year 2022 is $20.74 per thousand valuation.


Property Class                                   FY2021                                       FY2022

Residential                                                           $8.47       7.75

Commercial                                                          $8.47       7.75

Industrial                                                              $8.47       7.75

Personal Property                                              $8.47       7.75


Note that the FY2022 rate is an estimate and may change upon Department of Revenue review.


Tax Rates History


Fiscal Year 2020                          $8.34                  Fiscal Year 2017     $8.08

Fiscal Year 2019                          $8.28                  Fiscal Year 2016     $7.85

Fiscal Year 2018                          $8.28



Tax Rate Options Average Taxes


CIP Shift Factor Res Shift Factor CIP Rate Res Rate Single-family Average Tax Commercial Average Tax
1.0000 1.0000 7.75 7.75 $2,838 $2,838
1.1000 0.9930 7.70 8.53 $2,820 $3,124
1.2000 0.9861 7.64 9.30 $2,798 $3,406
1.3000 0.9791 7.59 10.08 $2,779 $3,691
1.4000 0.9721 7.53 10.85 $2,757 $3,973
1.5000 0.9652 7.48 11.63 $2,739 $4,259


Tax Impacts


Examples of Average Residential Single-family Tax Changes

Average                                   Average

Property Class                         FY21 Value     Avg. Tax      FY22 Value     Avg. Tax      Change

Single Family Homes                                               $326,600         $2,766           $366,200         $2,838 $72 (2.6%)



Board of Assessors Recommendation


The Board of Assessors recommends that the Select Board adopt a single tax rate to be applied to all classes of property in Otis.



Voting a Tax Shift Factor (proposed motion)


The Otis Select Board votes in accordance with M.G.L., Ch. 40, Sec. 56, as amended, the percentage of local tax levy which will be borne by each class of real and personal property, relative to setting the Fiscal Year 2022 tax rates and set the Residential Factor at 1.0, with a corresponding CIP shift of 1.0, pending approval of the town’s annual tax recap by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue.



Summary of Assessments (LA4)   


Property Type             Count        Residential           Commercial             Industrial         Personal Property

101-Single Family       1545        565,706,100                            -0-                                             -0-                          -0-

102-Condominiums          0           26,380,800                            -0-                                             -0-                          -0-

103,109-Misc Res            64             1,925,000                            -0-                                             -0-                          -0-

104-Two Family                 9             1,925,000                            -0-                                             -0-                          -0-

105-Three Family              1                207,800                            -0-                                             -0-                          -0-

111-125-Apartments        2                741,200                            -0-                                             -0-                          -0-

130’s-Vacant Land     1,099           50,893,500                            -0-                                             -0-                          -0-

012-043-Mixed Use                                      25             7,626,695             7,314,205     -0-                                         -0-

300-393-Commercial     36                            -0-                               7,676,300                            -0-                          -0-

400-452-Industrial            9                            -0-                          -0-                               3,395,700                            -0-

500-508-Pers. Prop.  1,158                            -0-                          -0-                                             -0-          26,812,001

600’s-Forestry                 26                            -0-                                  174,700                            -0-                          -0-

700’s-Agricultural             5                            -0-                                    23,900                            -0-                          -0-

800’s-Recreation                9                            -0-                                  141,100                            -0-                          -0-


TOTAL BY CLASS                           3,988        653,481,095           15,330,205                 3,395,700 26,812,001

TOTAL TAXABLE PROPERTIES                                                                                        699,019,001


TOTAL TAX EXEMPT PROPERTIES                                                 36,501,700