Board of Finance aim for tighter budget

With budget season on the horizon, the Board of Finance unveiled its first guideline for the 2013-14 fiscal year, which aims to stick to a theme of frugality. The blueprint calls for 1.75% increases in both municipal and education spending, which was also the target used this year.

The mill rate rose to 21.055, up 0.985% from the previous year's rate of 20.85.

However, Sandy Dennies, the town's chief financial officer, said the state-mandated revaluation, which takes place this year, could be a bit of a wild card in the mill rate mix.

As for how revaluation will affect the mill rate, Ms. Dennies said, "We won't have a good handle on it until well into January."

The town has hired Vision Government Solutions of Northboro, Mass., to conduct the revaluation, currently underway.

This is not the type of revaluation that requires physical inspection of properties — that takes place every 10 years, according to David Lisowski, town assessor.

Instead, appraisers will make cold call inspections on homes that have been sold within the past 18 months. Assessments are set at 70% of market value. Property owners will have the opportunity to challenge their assessment in an informal hearing with an appraiser from Vision.

There are 6, 965 total commercial and residential properties as well as vacant land and exempt properties that will be reassessed. Mr. Lisowski must complete the revaluation by the end of January.