Kozahya Nessralla of 139 Hemlock Ln. met with the Halifax Board of Selectmen and Fire Chief Jason Viveiros on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 to finalize details for this fall’s annual corn maze which takes place from September 15 to October 30.
In addition to the usual maze hours on weekends from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., there will be a flashlight maze on Friday and Saturday nights. Other activities include games, abounce house for kids, food, and a party tent available to rent.
Nessralla said the corn maze itself is 15 acres, making it the largest corn maze in Massachusetts. The property also includes a 5-acre parking lot for the event.
Fire Chief Jason Viveiros asked that Nessralla and the Board follow up on all fire prevention regulations. One thing Viveiros said needs to change is that the parking lot needs to be moved back. Right now, the lot is 65 feet back from the corn maze. Viveiros said it needs to be at least 75 feet back.
Nessralla highlighted some of the other things he plans to do for safety including a map of the maze with information on who to contact in case you get lost. Nessralla said, “We have people who’ll find you.”
Nessralla already received the required large event permit from the Board of Health, so the Board of Selectmen and the Fire Chief affirmed satisfaction with the overall safety of the event.
Viveiros said the last thing left to do is a pre-meeting to address safety. This will take place some point next week.
Tax Classification Hearing
Newly appointed Principal Assessor Holly Merry presented property classifications from fiscal year 2018’s tax classification hearing. According to the Board of Assessors’ report, The Town of Halifax has $884,129,790 in total taxable value.
Residential property alone makes up over 90 percent of the total taxable value. $797,010,513 comes from the residential classification. Commercial property made up $55,278,217, industrial was $16,067,100, and personal property made up $15,773,960.
According to Merry, “The Board of Assessors recommends the same tax rate for residential, commercial, and industrial.” The proposed tax rates for single family dwellings and commercial/industrial/ personal property are dropping across board. Both will be taxed at $17.65 per thousand valuation.
Selectmen Chairman Thomas Millias said he doesn’t want to do anything that would drive out the few commercial businesses the town already has (by increasing the commercial tax rate to lower the residential tax rate.)
The assessors’ report also listed the average assessed value for homes in Halifax as listed here:
• Single family: $313,956
• Condos: $171, 507
• Commercial/Industrial/Personal property: $342, 236
The average values of single-family dwellings actually increased from last year’s appraisal of $297,695. Commerical/industrial/personal property’s value also increased from $334,479 to $342, 236.
According to the report, the top five taxpayers in Halifax are:
1. Walmart Assessed Value: $9,020,200
2. Henrich, Lawrence M Trustee (Mobile Home Park): $8,625,000
3. WJG Realty Trust (Stop & Shop): $7,772,100
4. Halifax Country Club: $3,260,760
5. Cumberland Farms INC.: $3,143,980.
Town Adminstrator Charles Seelig brought up that there’s still $8,000 remaining in the Salter Gift Account. Seelig mentioned potentially bringing this up to the Recreation Department in order to repair the track at the athletic fields.
Engineer Brian Grady of GF Engineering, LLC. came to discuss and present plans for earth removal at White Dog Cranberry Ltd. A proposed reservoir is under consideration, which would involve the removal of large amount of sand.
In order for the project to be completed the Board of Selectmen would have to waive the amount allowed to be removed and transported. Millias said he needs more information before making a decision. The Board of Selectmen voted to address this at the next meeting.
The next Board of Selectmen’s meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, September 12, 2017. Open session starts at 7:30 p.m.