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Selectmen approve higher commercial tax rate despite opposition

 By Christopher Roberson

 

The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously, during its Nov. 26 meeting, to increase the town’s commercial tax rate by $.87 for fiscal year 2019, bringing it to $17.95 per $1,000.

However, Thomas DeSimone, executive vice president of WS Development, which owns MarketStreet Lynnfield, urged the board to approve a commercial rate of $17.37 and a residential rate of $14. “We’re already paying over $10 per square foot,” said DeSimone, adding that MarketStreet is projected to pay the town “$4.5 million to $5 million” in property taxes during the upcoming fiscal year.

Patrick Lyons, owner of Kings Dining & Entertainment, said the taxes at his MarketStreet location are already 30 percent higher than at his other locations.

However, Chairman Richard Dalton said setting the rate at $17.95 was an “equitable solution.”

Vice Chairman Phillip Crawford agreed that this was the best course of action. “The alternative is putting it on the backs of residents,” he said.

The residential tax rate is set to increase by $.15 for a new rate of $13.91 per $1,000. As a result, Assessing Manager Raymond Boly said, the tax bill for a single-family home will go up by an average of $160.

In comparison, Reading has a residential rate of $13.87 and a commercial rate of $13.92 for fiscal year 2018. Wakefield has a residential rate of $12.95 and a commercial rate of $25.61; Peabody has a residential rate of $11.46 and a commercial rate of $24.11; Woburn has a residential rate of $9.89 and a commercial rate of $24.95; and Wilmington has a residential rate of $14.41 and a commercial rate of $32.46.

 

Town Counsel compensation

In other news, the board voted unanimously to increase the compensation for Town Counsel Thomas Mullen to $175 per hour. His new rate will take effect on Jan. 1, 2019. The rate for Mullen’s associates will remain the same at $150 per hour.

“Mr. Mullen has served this town extremely well over the years,” said Dalton, adding that Mullen has not received an increase since 2013, and “Knowing what rates are in the legal profession, I think this is very reasonable.”

 

Appointments to Board of Health and Finance Committee

The board also voted unanimously to appoint Christopher Caprio to the Finance Committee and Dr. Gary Mendese to the Board of Health. Their terms will expire in June 2021.

Caprio has worked in finance for the past 20 years and is now the chief financial officer at Focus Technology Solutions in Burlington. He also held the same position at Sail Energy in Portsmouth, N.H.

Specializing in dermatology, Mendese received his medical degree from the University of Massachusetts Medical School and practices out of Peabody and southern New Hampshire.

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