The tax rate in Chilmark will go up from $1.87 to $1.96 in 2008, assistant assessor Pamela Bunker reported at an annual public property rate classification hearing with the selectmen on Tuesday. This marks an increase of nine cents.

Although the tax rate is on the rise, the median assessment for a single family residence dropped from $1.30 million in 2007 to 1.28 million this year, Mrs. Bunker reported. Property values for 2008 total $2.92 billion, up one per cent from $2.90 billion the previous year. Mrs. Bunker said there has been a decrease in the number of property sales in the town within certain categories and also a drop in sale prices. “We have to either lower or raise assessments to meet state requirements,” she told selectmen at the hearing.

The rising tax rate concerned selectmen. “It’s disturbing,” selectman Frank Fenner said. Selectmen also agreed to set a single tax rate for 2008, continuing past practice. By state law, the selectmen must hold a hearing to discuss the distribution of the tax levy.

In other news, selectmen voted to open the commercial oyster season on Oct. 1. They voted to open the family bay scallop season the same day with the request that the town shellfish propagation agent and shellfish constable pay special attention to areas recently planted with scallop seed.