Board of Assessors - Members Wanted
Due to resignation and term expiration, the Town of Shutesbury is looking for volunteers to serve on the Board of Assessors. Appointed by the Select Board, assessors serve for a three-year term and receive an annual stipend. Persons with knowledge of municipal finance, real estate or construction would be an asset to the board. The Board of Assessors typically meets twice each month.
The board’s primary responsibility is to comply with Massachusetts state laws by ensuring that all property in the Town of Shutesbury is accurately and fairly assessed at full and fair cash value. Under the board’s supervision, the Administrative Assessor reviews sales and market conditions to reassess values each year, performs a town-wide recertification of valuations once every five years, and performs cyclical inspections of all properties once every nine years.
Once appointed, board members have two years to complete the MA Department of Revenue’s online Course 101 to learn more about assessing responsibilities including real estate and motor vehicle excise tax abatements, statutory exemptions and Chapter 61 forest, recreation and farmland properties.
The Board of Assessors does not raise or lower property taxes. Taxes are assessed in an amount sufficient to cover the state and local Town Meeting appropriations used to operate the town each fiscal year to pay for services such as schools, roads, fire protection, law enforcement, etc.
Interested? Contact Town Administrator, Becky Torres 259-1214 email@example.com
Or Kevin Rudden, Administrative Assessor 259-3790 firstname.lastname@example.org
Fiscal Year 2019 tax rate: $23.26/1,000
Value Changes for Fiscal Year 2019
The Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) requires assessors to annually review the previous year’s real estate sales and determine if town assessments are at full market value. As part of the Fiscal Year 2018 (FY 18) recertification, the assessors made some adjustments to building values in response to a rising real estate market. The adjustments were necessary and met the state’s requirements.
During the FY 19 sales review, vacant land sales supported a lower land valuation. At the same time, selling prices of single-family homes continued to rise. As a result, land values were lowered approximately 18% and building values were raised approximately 13%. The net result of these changes is an increase of single-family homes assessments of about 2% overall, with an average increase of $5,500. We were assisted in making these adjustments by an outside valuation consultant, and the DOR has reviewed and approved the new valuations.
The increased valuations, along with the value of new construction in town, yields a 2.95% increase in the town’s total valuation. If the town budget and all other factors had stayed the same, the increased valuation would have resulted in a lower tax rate. However, spending approved at town meeting increased by 1.95% (+ $121,281) from FY 18, and state aid was reduced by 7.4% (-54,981) from FY 18. All these factors combined result in an estimated new tax rate of $23.26/1,000 for FY 19 up by twenty cents from FY 18’s rate. The average tax bill will increase approximately $180.00.
A complete list of the new assessments (VALUES_18-19) can be found below
The Board of Assessors are always willing to discuss individual assessments with property owners.
Please call the Assessors’ office with any questions or concerns.
Useful Information and links:
Motor Vehicle Excise tax information: https://www.mass.gov/guides/motor-vehicle-excise
Personal Property tax & Exemption information and forms: https://www.mass.gov/lists/property-tax-forms-and-guides
- Veterans Exemptions information
- Elderly Exemptions - income and asset limits
- CPA Exemption Information
Chapter 61 Applications due by October 1st
This reminder is for all Chapter 61 property owners that your applications are due on or before October 1st. Recreational (61-B) and Agricultural (61-A) applicants are required to apply every year by October 1st. If you are classified in Forestry (61) and have a Forest management plan which expires at the end of 2019, your completed application and updated forest management plan also should be received by the Board of Assessors by October 1st.
Application forms are available below or may be picked up at our office during office hours. Thank you for your attention to this matter.
The following forms are available as Adobe Acrobat (PDF) files:
- Chapter 61A-B annual application form due by October 1st
- Real and Personal Property Abatement Application
- Motor Vehicle Excise Abatement Application
- Veterans with Disability
- Seniors 65 and older
- Community Preservation Act Exemption Application
- Financial Hardship based on Age or Infirmity