Lunenburg Board Examines Property Tax Exemption Revisions

The Lunenburg Board of Assessors recently convened to address several issues, with the most critical being the potential revisions to property tax exemptions under Clause 41c. The meeting revealed that the last update to these exemptions was in 2007, prompting a discussion on the need for clearer and updated income and asset limitations for eligible single and married individuals. The Board identified the current income limits for single persons at $31,500 and for married couples at $39,600, with asset limitations at $52,700 for single persons and $72,700 for married couples. These figures sparked a debate on consistency, clarity, and the implications of potential changes for the upcoming town meeting.

The Board grappled with discrepancies between the Department of Local Services (DLS) Data Bank and the information displayed in their office. The possibility of postponing the presentation of the revised article until the November town meeting was discussed to ensure the 2025 fiscal year could be affected with accurate information. The need for additional research to determine the precise figures for income and asset limitations under Clause 41c was highlighted, and the Board considered outreach to other towns and the DLS for guidance.

Additionally, the Board discussed the eligibility requirements for property tax exemptions. There was a general consensus on the need to increase the exemption and decrease the age requirement. However, the Board emphasized the importance of establishing eligibility criteria before the town meeting to avoid being caught without answers.

The potential hiring of a new full-time equivalent position in the assessor’s office was debated, along with the challenges of processing motor vehicle excise taxes and handling building permits during a period of transition. The Board also discussed the importance of establishing a smooth transition following the commitment of a member to remain on the Board until the end of May.

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Remote attendance procedures, the senior tax work-off program, and the impact of the Family Medical Leave Act on office positions were other topics of discussion. The Board considered the need to improve its handling of emails and access to the previous assessor’s email account.

Technical issues with Zoom during the assessors’ conference and the meeting itself were noted, despite the conference receiving positive feedback from attendees, particularly regarding the information on property cards and exemptions. Plans to improve the website’s accessibility to important documents and to engage with citizen inquiries were also discussed.

The Board reviewed a list of citizen questions, focusing on current and relevant inquiries and discussing the creation of a neighborhood re-evaluation committee with members from the board, assessor’s office, and community. Additionally, the Board outlined a plan to review directives for the next five years and the approach to prioritizing them. The involvement of the town manager in updating the board of selectmen was mentioned, as well as the timeline for sending out tax bills and the period for abatements.

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Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Town Manager:
Heather R. Lemieux
Property Assessment Board Officials:
Brian Laffond, Sarah Cammer, Jack Rabbitt, Rena Swezey (Interim Principal Assessor), Sheila Craigen (Administrative Assessing Assistant)

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