PEPPERELL -- Selectmen this week unanimously voted to set a tax classification factor of 1 for fiscal 2013. They did not vote to adopt an open-space discount, a residential exemption or a small commercial exemption.
The vote followed the recommendation given by the Board of Assessors and was consistent with last year's classification factor. The motion came during the annual tax classification public hearing after a presentation from Assistant Assessor Maureen Bolger.
"Not much has changed from last year as far as classification goes," she said.
Bolger said because there is limited commercial property in the town, 96 percent of 1 is as low as the residential factor could be set.
"If we had more commercial and industrial properties, you'd have a much bigger range to be able to shift," she said.
In other business, selectmen heard from William Farnsworth and Tony Saboliauskas of the VFW post about an incident of an under-aged intoxicated person alleging he had been served alcohol on the premises following being pulled over by the Pepperell police. There was some question over whether the individual had actually been served.
"It's a 'he-said, we-said,'" said Farnsworth.
"This individual was unknown to any persons at that party they claimed to have been at, and was not a friend or known friend to anybody there," said Saboliauskas. "In this particular instance, I think this individual was probably covering for a friend."
Regardless, selectmen wanted to know what town establishments possessing liquor licenses are doing to prevent under-aged people from being served alcohol.
Farnsworth and Saboliauskas said it is the long-standing practice of the post to check the driver's licenses of patrons as well as for bartenders to fill out incident reports and to receive Massachusetts TIPS alcohol training every three years.
"We max out on doing things by the book," said Saboliauskas. "There's nothing more important to us than doing things by the book, which is why this is so upsetting."
Brian Redler, owner of the Pizza Depot, as well as Sgt. William Greathead and Officer Ryan Fogarty of the Police Department, were also present to discuss preventative measures.
Redler said since the alleged incident, he has installed video surveillance cameras in his establishment and published an employee handbook to be signed by employees and returned.
Greathead suggested extra employees walk among patrons to ensure everyone consuming alcohol is of age. Fogarty suggested a bracelet system to identify those over the age of 21.
In general, however, Greathead said he felt the local establishments were trying their best to comply with the laws and regulations.
"I just think we need to be diligent, that's all," he said. "I think the system works."