Belmont FY ’24 Property Tax Rate Falls But Not Owners Bill; Average Single Family Price Tag Tops $1.6M

Photo: Assessors Charles Laverty III and Bob Reardon with Assessing Administrator Dan Dargon before the Select Board during the annual property tax rate hearing, Monday, Dec. 4

In what could be the final time an elected Belmont Board of Assessors makes the presentation, the three-member board announced a drop in the fiscal year 2024 property tax rate during its annual property classification tax rate hearing before the Select Board on Monday, Dec. 4.

“The tax rate that’s going to be proposed by the Board of Assessors will be a decrease from a rate [of] $11.24 [per $1,000 of assessed value] for this year, down to $10.57 for fiscal year ’24,” Bob Reardon, the long-time Assessor’s chair, told the Select Board.

While it may initially sound like a windfall for homeowners, members from both boards told property owners not to expect a drop in their bills in the new year. Reardon said the vast majority of the decline of 67 cents was due to the increase in the value of all properties over the past year.

“Just because the tax rates are coming down doesn’t necessarily lead to people paying less,” said Reardon. “The tax rate is simply computed by the amount being raised divided by the total assessed value.”

“I think people hear, ‘Oh, the rates have gone down, great,'” said Select Board Vice Chair Elizabeth Dionne. “No, that is not what it means. This just means your [home’s] value is higher.”

Values for all Belmont property classifications increased in the past year. The town’s total residential and personal property assessment is $11.3 billion, up from $9.0 billion in fiscal year ’23.

The actual tax levy – how much the town can raise after increasing real estate by the maximum annual 2.5 percent – to be raised in fiscal year ’24 is $119.5 million, of which $106.3 million comes from the total levy for residential and commercial property. An additional $13.1 million comes from eight debt exclusions for everything from the construction of the Beech Street Center to the new Middle/High school. The debt exclusions for the new rink and library will be included in the calculation for the fiscal year 2025. According to Reardon, new growth collected in the past year “remains strong,” raising $876,069.

Despite higher-than-average mortgage rates, during which property values “usually take a dip,” Reardon told the board that due to a lack of inventory of houses for sale, the average single-family home in Belmont jumped to $1,615,200, an increase of more than 10 percent from $1,436,500 in fiscal year 2023.

With its presentation on Monday, the Board of Assessors will face a Special Town Meeting in the next two months, where members will be asked to change the board from its current elected members to an appointed board. Similar to the recent change of the town Treasurer from an elected to an appointed position, the Town Meeting would follow a recommendation of the Collins Center Report.

As in past years, the assessors recommended, and the Select Board agreed to a single tax classification and not to enact real estate exemptions. With barely five percent of Belmont’s property base commercial, Reardon reiterated past statements that commercial property must reach 30 percent to make a split rate effective and not deter businesses from staying or coming to Belmont.

While voting to approve the Assessors’ rate recommendation, the Select Board decides on two related issues: whether to implement a singular “split” rate for commercial and residential properties and to approve a residential exemption that would reduce the rate on owner-occupied properties at the expense of non-occupied residences. 

As for residential exemptions, the administrative costs to run such a program would be prohibitive for a revenue-neutral initiative. As with the split rate, two-thirds of rate payers would see little reductions or increases in their tax bill.

Nomination Papers Now Available For Belmont Town Meeting, Town-Wide Offices

Photo: The Town Clerk’s office is located on the first floor of the Belmont Town Hall

Nomination Papers for the April 2, 2024 annual Town Election are now available for pick up at the Town Clerk’s office in Town Hall during office hours.

  • Nomination Papers must be picked up in person by the candidate, they cannot be emailed or mailed.
  • All candidates must be registered voters of Belmont at the time they return the signed Nomination Papers and the name will appear on the ballot as registered to vote.
    • To get your name on the ballot for Town-wide office requires at least 50 certified signatures of registered Belmont voters.
    • To get your name on the ballot for Town Meeting Member requires at least 25 certified signatures of registered Belmont voters of your Precinct only.

The deadline to submit the signed Nomination Papers is Feb. 13, at 5 p.m.

Elected Town Meeting Members currently serving do not need to file signed Nomination papers as long as they submit their Letter of Intention to Run for Re-election by Jan. 23, 2024. The Intention Letters will be mailed in mid-December to each Town Meeting Member whose term is expiring in 2024. Check the Town Meeting Member webpage to check your term expiration year here:

For more information, check out the Town Clerk’s webpages here: and

Feel free to email, call, or visit the Town Clerk’s office with any questions  (   617-993-2603  and Town Hall hours: Monday 8 a.m.-7 p.m.; Tuesday to Thursday, 8 a.m.- 4 p.m.; and Friday, from 8 p.m. to noon).

Belmont Health Dept. Holding Vaccine Clinic On Wed. Dec. 6 At Beth El Temple

Photo: Vaccine clinic on Dec. 6 at Beth El

The Belmont Health Department is partnering with Osco Pharmacy to provide a pre-holiday vaccine clinic for Belmont residents.

Belmont’s Vaccine Clinic will be held on Wednesday, December 6 from 10:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Beth El Temple Center, 2 Concord Ave.

Register here:

Vaccines will be available for anyone ages three and older. Based on your eligibility, this clinic will have Flu (regular and high dose), COVID-19, Pneumonia, RSV, shingles, and tetanus vaccines available. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about your vaccine eligibility.

Please bring your insurance cards to the clinic as insurance is required for vaccination. Once appointments are fully booked, walk-ins will be accepted at this clinic based on availability for adults and children for COVID and Flu.

If you have difficulty with registration, call 617-993-2720 or email for assistance.

League’s Brown Bag Lunch To Update Public On New Library’s Future And

Photo: The Belmont Public Library, circa 2025

The Belmont League of Women Voters is holding its next Brown Bag Lunch on Friday, Dec. 1, from noon to 1:30 p.m., the subject will be an update on the Belmont Public Library while the new library building is constructed.

Bring your lunch; the lunch will be virtual, so members and the public can join from home.

Kathy Keohane, chair of the Board of Library Trustees, and Library Director Peter Struzziero will discuss and answer questions on a wide array of topics, including the demolition of the current structure and construction of the new library, the status of programming and events, as well as an update on the relocation of books and services during the year-and-a-half it’s being built.

The lunch will be virtual by going to the League’s website and on Zoom:

The meeting is open to the public, so please invite friends.

Select Board Race Now Competitive With Second Warrant Committee Member Taking Out Papers

Photo: Matt Taylor

Matt Taylor knows a thing or two about running a race, finishing this year’s BAA Marathon in three hours and three minute.

It appears the Edgemoor Road resident will next be running for a seat on the Belmont Select Board as Taylor submitted his Statement of Organization on Tuesday, Nov. 29, to create an election committee to fill the seat of Mark Paolillo who declared earlier this month he would not run for a fifth three-year term.

Taylor joins Warrant Committee Chair Geoff Lubien to take out organizational papers as the first step to officially enter the race. Taylor’s team is made up of Samantha Thu as chair and Matt Lennon treasurer.

On his website,, the Precinct 1 Town Meeting Member and parent of two Burbank students said his family “has made a multi-decade commitment to Belmont and our community – a commitment to multi-generational thoughtfulness and ideals.”

In last year’s League of Women Voters Town Election Voters Guide, Taylor said Belmont’s long-term strength depends on investing in the town’s public schools and government services.

“I’m passionate about finding and sharing clear, accurate explanations for complex topics. To prepare, I study what works in other towns: calming traffic, budgeting, zoning, contracts, and infrastructure projects. I listen before I speak,” Taylor said.

Taylor has been active recently in a number of local issues: he created a petition asking the Select Board to allow the Belmont Public Library’s Children’s room to operate for 50 hours per week at its temporary location at the Benton Library. Taylor also promoted the creation of a parking benefit district where parking revenues would offset traffic mitigation and fund neighborhood transit safety improvements such as crosswalk upgrades and hiring parking clerks and crossing guards. 

Santa’s Visiting Belmont To ‘Turn On The Town’ This Thursday, Nov. 30

Photo: Jolly ‘Ol Saint Nick with a dog

Santa Claus continues each year to find his way back to Belmont. And this year, ol’ St. Nick will visit Belmont Center on Thursday, Nov. 30, for the annual “Turn on the Town” festivities from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

The night’s highlight will be when Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive on Leonard Street at 6:15 p.m., riding on top of one of Belmont Fire Department’s engines. After stepping off the equipment, Santa will flip the switch on the Center’s holiday lights on a tree donated by the Belmont Lions Club, which will be adjacent to Bellmont Cafe.

Santa will then move down Leonard Street to the M&T Bank branch – the former Belmont Savings Bank – where he and the Mrs. will greet their most significant constituency: children. Parents will get the opportunity to take photos with the jolly old man. Santa will give good boys and girls candy canes and a promise to bring that special present on Dec. 24. Bad children must attend the town’s Budget Summit II at 7 p.m. in Town Hall.

“Punishment enough,” said Santa.

Leonard Street will be closed, and family and friends are invited to gather and enjoy the holiday lights, meet with Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman, listen to Belmont High School’s amazing Madrigal Singers, and enjoy some fried treats. Local business members of the Belmont Center Business Association organize the night’s events.

Belmont High Football Outclass Watertown, 47-0, In Historic Thanksgiving Day Rout

Photo: 6-4, 2023 Middlesex Liberty champs, Div. II playoffs and a rout vs Watertown

There would be no mercy on this Thanksgiving Day.

Having suffered three consecutive defeats and more than a decade of beatdowns and indignities – i.e., the taunting and nasty chants at the end of last year’s 21-7 loss at Fenway Park – at the hands of Watertown, this holiday Thursday would see the long overdue payback as the Belmont High Football team annihilated the host Raiders, 47-0, on Victory Field.

Belmont High’s captains (from left): Austin Lasseter (20), Adrien Gurung (1), Ryan Halloran (54), Brian Logan (4), Bryce Hubbard (10) and Jayden Arno (3)

“We’ve been waiting three years for a win against these guys,” said Belmont Head Coach Brian McCray after the game.

“The kids were fantastic. Shout out to all the seniors. They were the pillars of the team and they really wanted it and went out with a win.”

The margin of victory sets a record in the game’s 101-year history, while the 47 points were the most scored by either team since the Raiders put up a record-setting 54 against a winless 2013 Marauders squad. Watertown now leads the series, 50-46-5.

Off to the races: Belmont High’s all-star running back Adrien Gurung on his way to a 62-yard TD run on Thanksgiving.

Played on a glorious late-fall morning, Belmont dominated the Raiders in every aspect of the game, scoring on nearly every offensive possession over the 48 minutes. At the same time, the defense prevented Watertown from entering the red zone – inside Belmont’s 20-yard line – until the game’s final minute.

“The past two years, we lost to Watertown, and they ensured we knew it. So we had to get our revenge,” said Jayden Arno, Belmont’s senior quarterback and co-captain, who threw three touchdowns to three different receivers while scoring on the first play of the second half on a 49-yard quarterback run.

“And we came out. The offensive coordinators did a great job with the plays throughout the season, and we put all of our arsenal into this game, and it worked out.”

Belmont High WR Brian Logan on his way to a 49-yard TD reception from QB Jayden Arno

On the other side of the ball, the defensive line made the day a misery for Watertown’s runners by stuffing the Raiders three times on 4th down in the first half while sacking the quarterback four times and taking the ball away from the Raiders twice on interceptions.

“[Losing to Watertown for three years] provided a lot of motivation for us as a team because all we want to do is win this game and win it for [Belmont]. This is bigger than us. We definitely put all our preparation into this,” said senior linebacker and co-Capt. Ryan Halloran, the stalwart on defense this season.

It didn’t take long for Belmont to strike after the defense stopped Watertown on a fourth and one on the Raiders’ 35. On the first play from scrimmage, Arno found junior Billy Hendrickson alone on the right sideline, where he waltzed in from five yards out. Belmont 7, Watertown 0 after senior co-Capt. Austin Lasseter kicked the conversion.

Belmont High QB Jayden Arno leads the offense vs. Watertown on Thanksgiving.

Given excellent field position at midfield on a failed trick kickoff, the Raiders used a 14-yard pass from QB Anthony Shorter to first-year TE Joe Connors to reach the Belmont 24. But again, Watertown was repealed on third and fourth down and two from the 24. Belmont would start its second drive with a 10-yard gain from senior RB and co-Capt. Adrien Gurung. The next time Belmont’s all-star running back touched the ball, it was to carry the pigskin 62 yards up the gut for Belmont’s second touchdown and a 13-0 lead after a botched PAT.

The Raiders drove to the 50 when the Marauder defense stepped up as senior co-Capt. Bryce Hubbard cut in front of the receiver and made a fingertip interception. On the next play, Arno found senior co-Capt. Brian Logan behind the Watertown defense for a 50-yard pitch and catch touchdown. Belmont 19-0 as the Marauders failed on the try for two.

Soon afterward, Watertown failed to convert a fourth down for the third time. After Lasseter took the ball into Watertown territory at the 49, Gurung repeated his earlier stampede through the Raiders’ middle, this time for 49 yards for a touchdown to give Belmont a 26-0 lead.

After scoring his second touchdown, Gurung and fellow senior Logan pose in the Watertown end zone on Thanksgiving.

Getting the ball back with 1:25 remaining at its 27, Gurung took a screen pass and rambled 57 yards until he was caught on a desperation tackle at the Belmont 27. On a fourth and 11 at the 16 with seven ticks left on the clock, Logan beat his defender into the end zone, but the ball went through his hands as the sun blinded his view. Belmont held a 26-0 lead at the half, scoring four touchdowns on five possessions.

The scoring continued 20 seconds into the third quarter when Arno scampered 49 yards along the right sideline to up the score to 34-0 after he dove in for the two-point conversion. On the next possession, senior RB Jayden Rodriguez punched it in from 2 yards out for a 41-0 lead, and the game reverted to “running time” when the clock only stopped for timeouts and end of quarters.

The scoring concluded in the fourth quarter with Donovan Holway catching a pass on a slant route from 6 yards out, after which the senior “dunked’ the ball over the crossbar, resulting in cheers from his teammates and a personal foul penalty from the refs.

The Thanksgiving dunk: senior WR Donovan Holway celebrates Belmont’s final TD.

In the final five minutes, with reserves getting a chance to clash with the Raider’s varsity, Watertown drove deep into Belmont territory. With two minutes remaining, McCray called back his starters to allow the defense to preserve the shutout. On the final play of the game ball, Belmont’s defense rallied to force a pass that was grounded in front of the receiver.

While Belmont’s assistant coaches put together an offensive and defensive game plan that worked nearly to perfection, McCray praised his group of four-year athletes.

“[The coaches] want to make sure [the team] is in a great position to win, but [the players] are the ones that are the generator of this victory. We’re just the guys calling plays and getting after it, but they’re the ones that really led us, and the senior leadership was just tremendous,” McCray said.

For the first time since 2019, it was only happy emotions for the Belmont players, coaches, and parents on Victory Field. The 2023 season will be remembered for the team winning the Middlesex League Liberty Division crown – its first Middlesex title since 1965 – defeating division rivals Reading and Woburn for the first time in more than a decade, earning a spot in the Division II state tournament, and shutting down rivals Watertown.

“This season meant a lot to me,” said Halloran. “My final year, I want to go with a bang. We definitely did that. We prepared a lot for this game, and everyone worked hard in practice. This game was won in practice. We did a lot to win this game, and it ended up working out great.”

I couldn’t have done it without my senior class,” said Arno. “We all worked hard since sophomore year, especially. And I’m just proud of my teammates,” said Jayden.

As Belmont finally left the field, McCray was seen carrying the Thanksgiving Day game trophy, which will reside for the next year (or two or ten) in the new trophy case outside of the Wenner Field House. It was just that the coach wanted a few days with the silverware.

“I’ll bring it back Monday,” McCray told Belmont’s AD Adam Pritchard.

“I’ll bring it back Monday.”

What’s Open (Coffee, CVS), Closed (Everything Else) In Belmont On Thanksgiving

Photo: Thanksgiving (c. 1935) by Doris Lee (1905–1983), Art Institute of Chicago

One of only ten recognized by the federal government, Thanksgiving is both a national and state holiday, so most businesses along with federal, state and town offices are closed shut.

In Belmont, town offices will also be closed on Black Friday, Nov 24. And the Belmont Public Library But there are a few places where you can get away from the hustle and bustle of the kitchen to pick up a coffee or hot chocolate or hit the drug store for whatever reason.

What’s open:

  • Starbucks in Cushing Square (Trapelo and Common) is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving and 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Black Friday.
  • Dunkin’ at Trapelo Road and Beech Street will be operating from 4:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. The location on Church Street in Waverley Square will be open from 4:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The store at 350 Pleasant St. will be open from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • CVS at 264 Trapelo Rd. is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., while the pharmacy is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • CVS in Belmont Center on Leonard Street is operating from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The pharmacy is closed.
  • Star Market in Waverley Square is closed.

Warrant Committee’s Chair Geoff Lubien Launches Campaign For Select Board

Photo: The team: Treasurer Cabell Eames; Geoff Lubien, Campaign Chair Taylor Yates

Two days after Mark Paolillo said he would not run for re-election to the Belmont Select Board, the first candidate seeking to fill the open seat has thrown his hat into the ring.

Warrant Committee Chair Geoff Lubien arrived early Monday morning, Nov. 20, at the Town Clerk’s office to take out nomination papers. An eight-year veteran of the town’s financial watchdog group, Lubien launched his campaign committee for Select Board in the upcoming April 2 town election. 

“Mark Paolillo’s retirement, coming after 12 years of distinguished service, comes at a critical time for our town as we face a longstanding fiscal deficit,” Lubien said in a press release dated Nov. 20. “It is imperative that the next Select Board Member understands how town government functions in conjunction with its volunteer committees and administration.”

“The next Select Board Member also needs to understand Belmont’s realities as we navigate our community’s needs with the Town’s budget. Serving as an elected Town Meeting Member and appointed member on several Committees for most of the past decade led me to make this important decision to run in 2024 to continue supporting and promoting what is best for our community,”

In a statement provided and released to the Lubien campaign, Paolillo said, “Geoff Lubien’s resume, strong financial skills, and years of town volunteerism are all highly impressive. I have enjoyed working with him over … the past several years as a member of the Financial Task Force II and the Warrant Committee.”

“Geoff is trustworthy and has proven he is deeply committed to doing what is best for the town of Belmont,” Paolillo continued.

Serving on his committee are Chair Taylor Yates, who sits on the Planning Board and is Chair of the Vision 21 Implementation Committee, and Treasurer Cabell Eames, who is Vice Chair of the Belmont Democratic Town Committee.

“Geoff is the experienced and steady leader Belmont needs because our current challenges require someone who knows how the levers of our government work and how to pull them to make Belmont better,” Yates said in the Monday press release.

“We are lucky to have a candidate with a deep understanding of Belmont during a fiscal crisis. We cannot think of anyone better than Geoff for this position and are proud to be a part of his campaign,” he said.