Preston - With the Board of Finance split on whether the town should adopt property tax breaks on certain farm buildings, town officials are seeking input from residents.
The boards of selectmen and finance will hold a joint public hearing Thursday on a proposal by the Conservation Commission that would exempt the first $30,000 of appraised value on farm buildings for farmers who earn or spend at least $15,000 per year in farming enterprises.
The proposal is a scaled-down version of proposals the Conservation Commission had been considering, eliminating ideas for additional tax exemptions on farm equipment and a higher proposed building exemption of up to $100,000 allowed in the state law.
Lynwood Crary, member of the Conservation Commission, said there is still a question on whether the $30,000 exemption would be the appraised or assessed value, which is 70 percent of the appraised value.
In recent finance board meetings where the issue was discussed, it was estimated that 16 farms in Preston would be eligible for the farm building tax break, and the exemptions would cost other Preston taxpayers about $8 per year.
Finance board members voted against sending the measure to a special town meeting but agreed in a split 4-2 vote to recommend the Board of Selectmen and Board of Finance hold a joint public informational hearing to discuss the issue before considering again whether to send it to voters at a town meeting and possible referendum.