By Beth David, Editor
The Fairhaven Selectboard met with the Board of Assessors and set the tax for FY20 at the Selectboard meeting on 12/2/19. The rate will decrease slightly from last year, but property values are up, so the end result will still be an increase of about $160 for the average homeowner.
The new tax rate is $11.06 per $1,000; last year’s rate was $11.67. The average single family home value for FY2020 is $316,541, for an average tax bill of $3500.94; which is up from last year’s average value of $286,122 and average bill of $3,339.04.
The Selectboard also voted to accept the Assessors’ recommendation to keep the current tax shift, or split tax rate, which assesses commercial properties at a higher rate.
The CIP (Commercial, Industrial and Personal Property) rate for FY2020 is $22.04. Last year’s CIP rate was $23.47.
In another matter, the Selectboard also approved a police department request to add a part time/ intermittent police officer and to add a sergeant position.
Police Chief Michael Myers told the board that the department used to have reserve officers, but had to “clean up the list.” He said it was not being used correctly. Now, he said, the department is in a position to reinstate the program.
The part time officers will be on a short list for any full time positions that open up.
Chief Myers said it gives the department a chance to see how an officer performs on the job. If not up to the standard required, it is easier to remove the person, he said.
It is, essentially an “apprentice program,” he said.
Selectboard member Bob Espindola said he wanted to be sure that part time officers would also be trained before they are used in the field. Chief Myers said that they will be certified.
The board also approved a new sergeant position.
Chief Myers said he wanted to promote a patrol officer.
He said the department is using overtime now, to cover the sergeant position, so the change will result in a cost savings.
In another matter, the board also voted to accept a grant for $12,500 towards the purchase or lease of two electric vehicles, and the installation of an electric vehicle charging station.
Conservation Agent Whitney McClees told the board that the grant calls for no more than $2500 to be used for the charging station, and $5000 maximum for each vehicle.
Ms. McClees told the board that she was researching the pros and cons of leasing as opposed to buying the vehicles.
Selectboard member Daniel Freitas said he wanted to be sure that if the town bought two vehicles, they would take two out of service.
“I want to know what’s coming off the road,” said Mr. Freitas.
Mr. McClees said the new vehicles would most likely replace the Board of Health car and the building inspector’s vehicle.
Town Administrator Mark Rees noted that there was a 12/9 deadline to accept grant, so he suggested that the board vote to approve on the condition that the fleet will not be increased.
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